Documents behind U of M leadership retreat to Breezy Point

- The University of Minnesota continues to release documents detailing the episode that led to the resignation of athletics director Norwood Teague. As part of that document release, we're learning more about the “retreat” where Teague sexually harassed two women.

The 3-day, overnight senior leadership conference at Breezy Point resort was attended by 26 of the university's heaviest hitters from July 14 through the July 16. The roster included university president Eric Kaler, vice presidents, chancellors and the two women Teague would harass -- Ann Aronson and Erin Dady. 

The conference agenda was a little vague to say the least, “reconnecting to and reenergizing the strategic plan.” And it wasn't cheap.  Most of the rooms were $449 each, running a tab of $8,689. The group added $1,134 in food and drinks and another $706 in convention expenses.

Then there's the bar bill, for $461, which the university says each person paid for themselves. According to Aronson and Dady, on the evening of July 15 when Teague sent those lewd and vulgar text messages, he didn't seem drunk -- they thought he just had a martini and a glass of wine. But according to the itemized bill that night, someone had a least 4 vodka martinis.

"I view this as one man, who was overserved, and a series of bad events happened,” Kaler said at a press conference announcing Teague’s resignation.

Kaler has since apologized for the “overserved” comment, saying it deflects Teague's responsibility. As far as justifying the retreat itself, a university spokesperson tells Fox 9, "It's important for this group to spend focused, dedicated time together to tackle the University's mission and strategic plan driven goals and address collective challenges."

Topics included faculty diversity and cutting administrative costs. But in the end, Breezy Point will be remembered for a few martinis too many, and an athletic director who fumbled so badly in the presence of so many.

While everyone paid for their own alcohol tab at this retreat, they didn't have to under the University of Minnesota’s alcohol policy, which allows the university to pay for alcohol at off-campus retreats. But here's the key: You can't pay for it with money that comes from tuition or state appropriations -- it must come from private funds. In other words, not taxpayers. 

University of Minnesota statement

The following is a statement from the University of Minnesota regarding the merits and objectives of the July 14-16 Senior Leadership Retreat to the Breezy Point Resort:

The University's senior leadership team, which includes leadership from across the U system statewide, meets annually to advance issues critical to the University system as a whole. The goals include setting shared priorities and clarifying next steps for work. It's important for this group to spend focused, dedicated time together to tackle the University's mission- and strategic plan-driven goals and address collective challenges. This year's agenda featured a number of topic areas important to the University and state of Minnesota, and positive outcomes. These areas included:

The University's strategic plan, which included a robust discussion about the role of various units across the University in relation to the plan, and outcomes for how leadership and their units/campuses will work together to achieve strategic plan goals;

Opportunities for the University that will be challenging to take on, but essential to the mission and goals of the institution. These include diversity -- particularly hiring and retaining diverse faculty and staff and diversity awareness training; an initiative called "One University" that focuses on fostering better alignment across units and campuses in the system; and continued work on Operational Excellence and reducing administrative costs (President Kaler committed to $90 million in administrative cost reductions for reinvesting in the U's education, research and outreach missions); and supporting faculty and staff excellence.

We are pleased with the outcomes and substantial progress achieved during the meetings
 

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