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U regents approve expansion of alcohol sales; discuss tuition increase for Twin Cities students

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The University of Minnesota Men's Hockey game on Dec. 2, 2017
The University of Minnesota men's hockey game on Dec. 2, 2017, against the University of Wisconsin at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. The Board of Regents Friday voted on the expansion of alcohol sales at hockey and basketball games.
Kyle Shiely | MPR News 2017

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday to expand alcohol sales to public seating areas at hockey and basketball games. 

Alcohol was previously only sold to fans in premium seating at Williams Arena, Maturi Pavilion and 3M Arena at Mariucci. 

Jon Steadland, the chief of staff to the university president, said administrators consulted with the university's alcohol license oversight committee, university police and the office for student affairs when planning the expansion of alcohol sales.    

"There's broad support for the plan to have sales ending at the completion of halftime for basketball games and the completion of the second intermission for hockey games," Steadland said. "However, with all aspects of the proposal, intercollegiate athletics will continue to evaluate how it's working, how it's being implemented and whether times do need to be adjusted."

The board also heard public comment on University President Eric Kaler's final budget.  

The proposal includes a 2 1/2 percent tuition increase for students in the Twin Cities who are state residents. Some regents have argued that the increase is too high.

Cherrene Horazuk, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800, says her union members oppose more increases in tuition.

"It's shameful that the tuition is so high and salaries are so low, that staff who are alumni of the university struggle to pay their student loans," she said. "It's not a question of staff versus students. Don't balance the budget on both of our backs."

The Board of Regents will vote on Kaler's proposed budget next Wednesday.