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UR Hits Jackpot With Philip Morris

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The figure represents a $2.5 million fee each year of a 15-year lease on the former Reynolds Metals executive offices, according to UR's student-run newspaper, The Collegian, which received its information from Herbert Peterson, the university's vice president for business and finance.

A spokesman for Philip Morris declined to confirm the lease amount on the 250,000-square-foot facility, A spokesman for the university also declines to release the amount, but says the income will fund "strategic priorities."

The deal with Philip Morris — a relationship already making some students and faculty members uncomfortable — also will cover the university's operational costs on the building, estimated to be about half a million dollars a year. The cigarette manufacturer also will pay for a building upgrade.

Philip Morris expects to complete its move by June 2004. Because it has leased out the space, UR had to scrap plans to use the building to expand its Management Institute. "We're going back to the drawing board about that," says UR spokesman Brian Eckert.

As for criticism of the university's new relationship with Philip Morris, Eckert says his office prepared. "The university believes that the use of tobacco is an issue that should be determined by individuals and by society as a whole."

UR President Bill Cooper deliberated on the potential fallout from leasing to Philip Morris before making the final decision, he tells The Collegian. As he puts it: "Philip Morris' money comes from legal operations. It's not like we're taking money from drug dealers." — Jason Roop

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