U of M Regents Approve Beer & Wine Sale at TCF Stadium

The board also voted in favor of eliminating so-called “administrative transitional leaves”—high-paying leaves that were offered to university executives who were stepping down from their administrative roles but staying on as faculty members.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Wednesday voted in favor of allowing the sale of beer and wine during intercollegiate athletic events at TCF Bank Stadium.

Under the new policy, beer and wine will be sold starting an hour before kickoff and until the end of halftime in the stadium’s premium seating areas and on the west end of the general seating area, according to a university news release. No hard liquor will be sold.

The new policy will be implemented with the start of the 2012 football season. The U of M police and private security will increase their presence at the stadium, and a designated driver program will be offered, the university said. In addition, game attendees will be able to buy only two drinks at a time.

When the stadium was being built, the university proposed allowing beer to be sold only in its premium seating areas. But in 2010, legislators placed a restriction on the university’s liquor license, insisting that alcohol could only be sold at the stadium if it was made available to everyone and not just offered in premium seating areas, according to a Pioneer Press report. At that point, the university reportedly decided to adopt an alcohol-free policy at the stadium. But earlier this year, legislators reconsidered and passed a law that would allow alcohol to be served in select areas of the stadium through halftime.

“Today’s action is a compromise,” Amy Phenix, chief of staff to U of M President Eric Kaler, said in a statement. “While not the university’s first choice, it does restore sales in the premium areas and, in doing so, will make those areas more competitive and attractive. It’s a step closer to our original intention.”

At its Wednesday meeting, the U of M Board of Regents also voted in favor of a new policy that will eliminate so-called “administrative transitional leaves” that were offered to the university’s executives.

The leaves were tailored for university executives who are also tenured faculty members. When such executives have decided to step down from their administrative roles but stay on as faculty members, they have been granted paid leaves at their administrative salaries before resuming faculty duties.

But under the new policy, departing administrators who choose to stay on as faculty members will instead be permitted to take traditional faculty sabbaticals, which are less generous in both pay and length. A Board of Regents committee on executive compensation and leaves began reviewing the transitional leaves in May, and the new policy is based on its recommendations.

In addition, while the new policy allows the president of the university to set compensation and severance for senior leaders, “any significant change from the initial appointment terms or a waiver of university policy” must now also be approved by the Board of Regents chair and vice chair.

“These are policy changes that will create greater transparency and accountability,” Board Chair Linda A. Cohen said in a statement. “They will make our policies clear and will require more board oversight.”

Meanwhile, Cohen recommended that the board approve a 3 percent salary hike for Kaler given his “superior performance,” but Kaler requested that the increase be put toward undergraduate scholarships, according to the university. The board unanimously approved the motion, which will add approximately $18,300 to the university’s general scholarship fund.