BOR 4.8

Regent Bob Phares speaks during the Board of Regents meeting at Varner Hall on Friday, April 8, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents met Friday in Varner Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus to discuss academic affairs, financial business, kudos to members of the community and recognition of the 2021-22 NU student regents. 

The regents gave kudos to four individuals, one from each of the four NU campuses. Jodi Holt, University of Nebraska-Kearney director of admissions, was recognized by UNK Student Regent Noah Limbach for her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

UNL Student Regent Batool Ibrahim recognized Alex Fernando, assistant director of recruitment at the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, for his energy and engagement with students. 

Lorraine Street, a University of Nebraska Omaha office associate, was commended by Regent Paul Kenney for her commitment to student success, and University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Stephen Smith was also recognized. 

Limbach was the first of the four student regents to be recognized by the board. The resolution, presented by Regent Elizabeth O’Connor, referred to him as a “student leader and role model.” 

Each of the student regents led a rendition of their school’s fight song after they were recognized. 

Ibrahim was recognized next by Regent Robert Schafer, who gave her credit for achievements on COVID-19, sexual misconduct prevention and legislative accomplishments for NU. In her remarks, she criticized “the theatrics of politics on our efforts for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Earlier in the year, regents Schafer, Kenney and Jim Pillen voted for a resolution to ban critical race theory at UNL. 

“Students were our only stakeholders this whole year,” Ibrahim said,  “It couldn’t have been done without the student activists that hold us accountable” 

Taylor Kratochvil, UNMC student regent, was recognized by Regent Barbara Weitz for his leadership and support roles throughout the pandemic while balancing the demands of a medical education 

Kratochvil said UNMC has historically not had a mascot or fight song, so he came up with them, dubbing UNMC home of the “Hippocratic Hippopotamuses” with a fight song set to the tune of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” 

Regent Tim Clare recognized UNO Student Regent Maeve Hemmer, who he said led with integrity and community through a pandemic and social unrest. He applauded her commitment to justice and her outstanding service. Hemmer thanked NU President Carter and the chancellors for their leadership and care.

“It’s a thankless job,” she said to those five, “but I want you to hear ‘thank you.’”

Chair Bob Phares wished each of the students luck in their future endeavors, and Carter described them as the most cohesive group of student regents he’s seen in his time at NU. 

“I hope you leave today with a feeling for why we have such high regard for our student regents,” Phares said. 

Carter thanked the legislature for earmarking $60 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for UNO and UNK to spend on rural healthcare. Carter says he hopes the governor will sign that bill. 

“Agriculture and healthcare are the most important issues to every Nebraskan,” Carter said. 

Students from Divest NU, a group that pushes the regents monthly to divest all NU funds from fossil fuels, and other concerned students also spoke during open forum regarding climate change. 

Felicia Hilton, political director of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America asked the board to be careful when selecting contractors for university projects, because some use unethical hiring and financial practices. 

“There are legitimate contractors, union and non union, that cannot submit for these projects because they don't use these practices,” Hilton said. 

Peggy Abels, Director of the UNK Health Sciences program, spoke about the Kearney Health Opportunities Program, which offers scholarships and other aid to rural students seeking medical education at UNK. The program also offers Health Science Explorers, a youth activity that provides kids grades 7-12 the chance to attend health camps, career fairs and clubs and recruits them  to KHOP. 

During the business portion of the meeting, regents voted to 

  • Create a Master of Science in athletic training at UNL

  • Eliminate the Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training at UNL 

  • Amend and reinstate the charter for the Kiewit Institute 

  • Create a Bachelor of Science in K-6 special education within the College of Education and Human Sciences

  • Update the University of Nebraska Retirement Plan

  • Update to Architecture Hall 

  • Name new CEHS building after Carolyn Pope Edwards

The next meeting of the Board of Regents will be held on June 23.