The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees today expressed its commitment to pursue any administrative or other options to stay open in the event of a government shutdown July 1. Meeting in an emergency session, the board also indicated its support for the chancellor’s contingency planning if remaining open is no longer an option. “We are optimistic that a budget agreement will be reached before June 30,” said Chancellor James H. McCormick. “But we need to take steps now to prepare for any contingency.” Many critical programs and services go on during July and August. Thousands of students – more than 67,000 – are taking summer classes that will extend at least through July. New and returning students are expecting to enroll and go through orientation sessions. Laura King, vice chancellor for finance and administration and chief financial officer, said the system is financially able to continue operating through the summer sessions and the fall semester. The system is seeking an arrangement with Minnesota Management and Budget, the state agency that processes the system’s payroll and financial transactions, that would allow the system access to its existing funds and to continue to operate, King said.