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Spence: His sensitivity for all of the people involved and the constituent groups, he's extremely thoughtful and caring, and yet he knows what really is important to the people of Minnesota and to the mission of the university and his integrity serves us well. So, I've been very impressed with how he's handled everything.Since arriving in Minnesota two summers ago, Yudof has traveled the state, using his passion for pancakes and quick wit to build small-town support for the big-city university. That support paid off the past two legislative sessions as the U of M won approval for construction projects and a big funding increase. Regent David Metzen says the credibility Yudof built around the state has helped him get through the basketball scandal so far.
Metzen: : I think the state has accepted, by and large, the decisions he made just because of the confidence that they have in him as a leader. I think he demonstrated he could make the tough decision. A lot of people said "what's it going to be like when he has a real difficult problem?" I think he proved to the state that his management style and his leadership style during a very, very difficult and emotional issue.Leaders at the Legislature agree. DFL Senator Leroy Stumpf, whose committee funds the U of M, says he has high regard for Yudof's leadership. He says throughout the basketball investigation, Yudof has sent a strong message about high academic standards. But Stumpf says he disagrees with the decision to spend $1.5 million to settle with Haskins before the investigation was over.
Stumpf: : He was probably getting some pressure from outside the university to bring this thing to a closure of some sort. And so he consequently made that decision. But I still feel once that investigation is complete and if that information is really made public, we're going to find out they could have gotten buy with a smaller settlement.For his part, Yudof says the university has done about as good a job as possible addressing the basketball issues, but the work continues. He says his goals for the coming year include restructuring university athletic programs to reduce the possibility of academic fraud. Yudof says he'll also have a limited role in hiring the next men's basketball coach.
Yudof: I want due diligence to be done to make sure whoever we hire has an outstanding reputation in their academic side as well as the basketball side. I not an expert on what makes for a great basketball coach. I can have other people who advise me on that. They know much better. But on the academic side, I want someone who passes the test as a high level of interest in the academic success of the student.Yudof says his goals for the coming year also include developing a center for freshman studies and preparing the university's next capitol budget request. Three of the 12 university regents reviewed Yudof's second year performance and will report back to the full board in the coming weeks. Last year, Yudof's glowing evaluation came with a big raise. The president's current salary is $275,000 a year.