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Written by Rambling Rose

Even on the Left Coast of the USA, justice wins occasionally. On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Addison Barnes prevailed in his lawsuit against Liberty High School, where his liberty or expression was not tolerated in January because he wore a T-shirt that supported the construction of the wall along the southern border of this country and also included a quote from President Donald J. Trump.

The topic in class that morning was immigration. So much for tolerance when he was forced to cover his shirt, which he did for a short time, and then removed the jacket to exercise his First Amendment Right of freedom of expression. He was then escorted from the school grounds and suspended, even though the year before he had attended a class where a pro-sanctuary city poster hung all year long.

This valiant young man was awarded $25,000.00 and an apology from the school. Actually, the apology is lame—it expresses regret but does not admit culpability for nullifying his rights when he, and probably others, have been offended by the liberal stance of the school.

For the full story, please read this article posted on May 28, 2018.

Editor’s note: This is beyond insulting:

“I had a teacher who had a pro-sanctuary city poster in her room which was up all year,” Barnes told NBC News-affiliate KGW. “Yet as I wear a pro-border wall shirt I get silenced and suspended for wearing that.”

The term double standard isn’t strong enough for this situation. The school should apologize to the community for holding such obvious double standards. I’ve read the First Amendment many times. I’ve never recalled it suggesting that it protects liberal speech but not conservative speech.

It’s ironic that Addison was suspended from Liberty HS.

Robbyn Wacker is the new president at St. Cloud State. Unfortunately, she inherited a disaster. Unfortunately, turning St. Cloud State around keeps getting more difficult each month. What’s most unfortunate is that SCSU is laying off faculty each year. They’ve avoided calling it retrenchment, which requires certain protocols to be followed. Still, it’s getting to the point where the layoffs at the University have gotten to a point where SCSU doesn’t have many open programs left thanks to the growing list of annual budget cuts.

President Wacker’s monthly editorial follows in the tradition of past presidents. In other words, it’s more happy talk that reinforces the notion that ‘higher education is a good thing’ that’s getting more difficult each year because of changing demographics, which produces more competition between universities for students.

Competition isn’t the culprit for why SCSU is having difficulty filling its programs. Based on informal interviews with current faculty, the biggest problems facing the University are incompetence and the lack of an appealing plan. Throughout the years, SCSU has too often tried engaging in rebranding rather than rebuilding. Too often under President Potter, the University spent money stupidly. Longtime readers of LFR are probably tired of hearing me talk about the various foolish spending decisions. I don’t blame them.

This paragraph totally bothers me:

I look forward to continuing to work with the campus, our partners and the community to identify new and creative ways to carry out St. Cloud State’s mission and vision to positively transform students and prepare them to be global citizens of the 21st Century.

It’s time to get rid of significant parts of the administration. Keep the deans and the people who run the offices. Terminate those that don’t fit that description.

Another thing that’s important is getting out of the lease with the Wedum Foundation. The University has probably sent checks above the rent revenues to the Wedum Foundation in excess of $10,000,000. The University can’t afford to keep spending money foolishly like that.

Most importantly, the University needs to restart the Aviation Program immediately. Last week, Minnesota State-Mankato was chosen to be one of 8 universities picked by Delta to train their future pilots. As more airlines need more pilots, they’ll need additional universities to train these future pilots.

Having an aviation program will be an instant student pipeline to those universities. SCSU needs a student magnet right now. An aviation program won’t just attract future pilots. It’ll attract other students who want to major in drone operations or aerial firefighting, too. These are understaffed careers, too. SCSU didn’t just walk away from that program. It ran away from that program. When it was terminated, there were almost 200 students in the Aviation Program.

It’s time for the St. Cloud State president to stop writing these happy talk op-eds. It’s time for them to start writing things that actually attract students in specific programs. Kids obviously aren’t attracted by the happy talk. They get it that there’s better careers at less expensive prices waiting for them in technical schools. They don’t need to hear milquetoast op-eds like this one. They want to be told about a bold new program that offers them a high-paying job upon graduation that pays off their student debt quickly and that helps them earn a healthy middle class living.

Finally, op-eds like these feed the notion that universities are out of touch with students. That needs to stop immediately.

Doug Schoen’s op-ed in the Hill explains why Democrats just can’t win for losing. In his op-ed, Schoen wrote “Despite this, the Republicans steadily made ground in the six months leading up to the 1994 midterm elections, all the while promoting their set of alternative policies, famously titled the ‘Contract with America,’ and eventually winning the actual vote by 7 points nationally. Thus, while the minority party would suffer setbacks and trail in the generic ballot from time to time, a persuasive plan for governing, focused on detailed and moderate policy ideas, compelled voters to flip the House by a landslide.”

After Trump’s victory, the Democrats were so upset that they started “The Resistance.” The end result of the Resistance is the Democrats’ inability to agree with President Trump on anything. When President Trump says that the sun rises in the east, Democrats feel compelled to say something like ‘Trump isn’t an expert. He should consult with a scientist.’ The point is that sometimes they’ll just say he’s wrong, sometimes they’ll just question him.

At no time have they offered fresh ideas.

Next, Schoen highlighted the Republicans’ strategy in 2010:

Once again, it is important to point out that the Republicans were only as successful as they were in 2010, flipping 63 seats, because they presented a compelling and effective alternative to Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership at that time. The Republicans clearly articulated to voters what they intended to accomplish.

Instead of offering fresh ideas, Democrats are left to this pandering:

Teacher pay might or might not be enough. What’s certain is that the ratio of administrators to teachers keeps increasing. At the rate that ratio keeps increasing, administrators will outnumber faculty within the next few years. With so many federal regulations in place, the administrators are required to administer each program.

If Democrats wanted to raise teacher pay and provide better learning experiences, they’d offer reforms rather than pander to the special interests. If Democrats broke free of these special interests, they might actually offer a compelling solution, which would help them win voters’ trust. Because they won’t (and haven’t) done that, everyone loses.

The reason why tax cuts are popular is because people are tired of feeling like ATMs. Each week, people feel like the Democrats’ special interest groups have thought of another way to spend our money. The people have noticed that the Democrats’ special interest groups haven’t thought of ways to save money or make things better.

The GOP has its faults but it’ll never be accused of not coming up with fresh ideas. That’s why Republicans are well-positioned to buck history this year.

UPDATE: Jeff at LidBlog has a great post on the disappearing blue wave that’s today’s must-read. Jeff’s advice is the right advice at the moment:

While the political news is good for the GOP, now is the time for us to be increasing our efforts at turning out conservative voters and making sure our message of personal and economic freedom is getting out to the average, middle-of-the-road voter. Encourage your fellow conservatives to be more active in their work, and to be reminding their friends and families about the importance of staying involved and voting for suitable candidates. Let’s not allow the Democrats to slow down our string of economic, political, and foreign policy victories… get out there and make sure that Republicans hold on to the House and maybe even grow their lead in the Senate!

I have 1 slight quibble with Jeff. If GOP activists do their job, we’ll definitely expand the GOP majority in the Senate. Finally, it’s worth noting that the RNC has invested a ton of $$$ in GOTV infrastructure. It isn’t the sexiest topic with journalists — until it produces great results.

Written by Rambling Rose

The Left calls foul and proves how intolerant they are when the person they attack is not silenced and does not cower in their presence. Last January, senior Addison Barnes at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, OR, entered his first-period “People and Politics” class wearing a T-shirt. The only problem was that his T-shirt was not PC. He displayed a statement from President Trump’s campaign. He knew that he was “making a statement” but assumed that it was covered by the school’s policies on the right of students’ free speech and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

“Specifically, the words on the shirt read: ‘Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.,’ with ‘The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller’ in quotes.”

He was wrong. During the class, Assistant Principal Amanda Ryan-Fear removed him from class and ordered him to cover his shirt. She stated that the teacher and at least one other student had been offended by his shirt during a discussion on immigration. He complied and returned to class. However, he realized that he had a right, protected by the First Amendment and his own school’s policies, to state his own opinion so he uncovered his shirt.

Later that same hour, the assistant principal returned to his class and saw his shirt. She ordered a security guard to remove Barnes. She reminded him that his shirt offended others and gave him the choice to cover the shirt or to go home for the day. Barnes went home. [Editor’s note: I would have said ‘None of the above’, then asked the assistant principal if she’d prefer I be allowed to wear the shirt or fight a civil rights lawsuit that she’d lose badly.]

The following Monday, Addison Barnes and his father met with Principal Greg Timmons. They learned that his absence had become a suspension and that the teacher and student had also changed their claim—they felt “threatened.” The suspension was rescinded, but Barnes was told that he would be suspended again if he ever wore that shirt in the school.

He obeyed the directive until April when he was interviewed by another student for a documentary on the First Amendment. That student was ordered to obscure or blur the shirt before uploading the segment to the school’s online learning platform.

Mr. Barnes sued the school, the district and Principal Timmons for denying him his First Amendment right. His actions were silent and passive, reflected the theme of the day’s discussion in January and the topic of the interview in April. No violence or disturbance were caused by Barnes; only the teacher, a fellow student and the administrators were disruptive in protesting his rights. The charge also addresses the “selective” discrimination by allowing other offensive statements reflecting the favored stance of the welcoming Sanctuary City to be displaced in posters in classrooms for the entire school year. Mr. Barnes and others found those posters offensive but recognized that they were protected by the First Amendment and said nothing.

“The suit seeks a declaratory judgment stating that the school violated Barnes First Amendment rights and a permanent injunction against the school enforcing its guidelines in a similar manner, so the teen can again wear the shirt to school. Unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees are also sought.” It was filed on May 18, 2018.

In the words of one of his lawyers, “The high school, ironically named Liberty High School, had violated his free-speech rights. He was told he offended them but that’s a far cry from being disruptive, and it is certainly a far cry from violating school policy, let alone what is clearly First Amendment free-speech law.”

Even the ACLU had to defend Barnes’ right to free speech, although they did so reluctantly. “It is disappointing that Liberty High School decided to censor the student instead of inviting the student body to discuss immigration, the freedom of speech, and the impacts of xenophobic rhetoric. Schools have a responsibility to teach our youth how to engage in thoughtful conversations about difficult and potentially offensive subject matters. Censorship doesn’t work and often just elevates the subject the government is trying to silence.”

While the Liberty High School’s Parent-Student Handbook does not address political clothing directly, the Standards of Student Conduct do prohibit “illustration, words or phrases” that are or could be disruptive and/or that promote one group over another. There was no disruption in the class or the interview and the T-shirt reflected the topics under discussion—immigration and the First Amendment. It does not appear that Mr. Barnes committed any violation. [Editor’s note, part II: If possible, the judge should prohibit Liberty HS from posting rules that infringe upon a person’s right to speak their mind. Final note: The First Amendment guarantees the right of people to say offensive things. It doesn’t, however, give people the right to say things that cause people to injure people.]

One can only hope that justice will be served, but that is not always the case when judges make law from the bench rather than interpret the laws of the land.

Thanks and stay strong, Addison Barnes.

Written by Rambling Rose

A religion of peace? That is often the claim from the Left. They add that God and Allah are the same person and the religions are compatible…the same. Not at all! Attentive parents are finding out that such claims are taught in their school’s curriculum. Occasionally, media reports acknowledge schools where young people are forced to participate in Muslim practices as a means of promoting acceptance and understanding while banning the Bible from those same schools. Indoctrination and proselytizing in public, taxpayer-funded schools. It must stop!

Let’s visit such a school in West Virginia. After reading what is happening there, check with your own children’s/grandchildren’s/neighborhood children’s schools. It is certainly more widespread than just one school. There are instances of similar reports coming from other schools—just not being reported by the PC media.

Rich Penkoski, the father of a middle schooler at the Mountain Ridge Middle School in West Virginia, exposed a sinister indoctrination program of conversion to Islam. His daughter shared with him an assignment from her teacher to write the shahada, a faith declaration, declaring “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” This assignment invoked fear in the father who knew that a shahada makes one a Muslim and any attempt to later contradict this claim is punishable by death as an apostate.

The teacher alleged that it was a calligraphy task, claiming that calligraphy was the script of the Muslims. The father knew that calligraphy was invented by the Chinese some 3000 years prior to the ‘existence’ of Mohammed.
When confronted by Mr. Penkoski, the teacher, Miss Hinson, and the principal, Dr. Branch, claimed that the assignment was optional. That contradicts the understanding by his daughter of the assignment who heard the teacher instruct the class that the work had to be completed or face disciplinary consequences.

Even worse were the reactions from his daughter’s classmates who threatened to send ‘friends’ his house to kill him, rip out his organs, and mutilate his body. Other classmates threatened to kill his wife and to hang his younger children and to kidnap his middle school daughter. Apparently, some of the students had already reached the decision to practice the “religion of peace.” Contrary to the claims from the Left, the Quran is explicit in its punishment against anyone who speaks negatively against its beliefs albeit in this country or in Sharia regimes. Mr. Penkoski and his family became their targets.

The packet for the middle school social studies class contained a detailed history of Islam, the prophet Muhammad and the five pillars of the religion, as well as the ‘calligraphy’ assignment. In the same class, the students also completed a packet on Christianity but that was not detailed. There was nothing in Hebrew in the assignments on Judaism. Hinduism and Buddhism were also a part of the unit. The teacher claimed that unit was a study of world religions but was not promoting any specific religion.

The principal asserted that “…each religion has received ‘equitable treatment’ throughout the world religions unit.” That was not the observation made by Mr. Penkoski’s daughter, who was in the class. She recalled that in the lessons on Christianity and Judaism, they had seen the start of two videos, learned a bit about Moses and the Ten Commandments, that the Israelites were persecuted by the Romans, and were told about the Jews and a little bit about Jesus.

Mr. Penkoski found the full version of the packets online (prepared by Teacher Created Resources Inc.) and contends that sections related to the Bible and the faith aspects of Christianity had been removed from the packet given to his daughter. “They cross the line with Islam because they went from the secular aspect of it to the faith aspect of it,” he continued. “Let’s be honest, if they had come home with the Lord’s Prayer, we would have atheists suing all over the place.”

It’s quite clear that public schools are including proselytizing for Islam in their curriculum. Is that a strategy to convert our children in the quest for worldwide domination?

It’s important that parents engage their students in conversations about their classes and examine the content of their homework assignments. This is not the first time that this father has confronted this school about their PC curriculum. Ms. Coffin showed a video about suicide prevention in her music class. That alone is a juxtaposed logic in curriculum…the theme would seem more appropriate in a health education class. It was a musical video about two male students, one an African-American gay, in bed together. A sex toy was shown in another scene. The teacher instructed the class NOT to share this “class activity” with their parents. In response to queries from the parent and the principal, the teacher claimed that the students wanted her to show the video and that she had NEVER instructed them to keep the information from the parents.

Society bemoans the loss of teachers from education, but this behavior, if mandated or even tolerated by administrators, will drive real experts of academic programs from the classroom. They cannot condone such practices in good conscience. This is not the reason that teachers become teachers. This is an example of community activists invading the schools and corrupting the innocent minds of the next generation.

God helps us all!!

Written by Rambling Rose

Unthinkable. Despicable. Kids learned to “play” the system. Obama “played” the students, teachers and parents. We all lost. Will we stand by again or will we act?

While we all would like a ‘second chance’ when we err, students with the PROMISE plan for school infractions quickly learned that it is a sham that they can (able) and may (no consequences so permission is implicit) exploit. They learned how to play the system for countless second chances. What happened to the expectation of teaching the next generation responsibility and accountability? What happens to an academic program when discipline is absent from the classroom, the school building, the school district?

We have learned the answer—more and more school shootings by mentally disturbed, glory-seeking individuals who have gotten by with other acts of violence in the schools and fear no consequences in those ‘gun-free’ zones. The get-out-of-jail-free card is not restricted to the board game Monopoly. That seems the foundation of the whitewashing discipline program PROMISE.

While Obama promised to heal the racial/ethnic divide in this country, the truth is that he skillfully set up more barriers between groups. One such tool of division and unrest is the PROMISE program. It was instituted “…by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education in 2014, [and] includes a call for schools to ensure that they are not involving law enforcement in routine disciplinary issues. It also put schools on notice that they may be in violation of civil rights laws if their disciplinary policies lead to disparately high discipline rates for students of color, even if those policies were written without discriminatory intent.” With such threats from the federal government, it is not surprising that school districts “embraced” the mandate…often with no public disclosure of those changes unless someone knew to investigate the discipline handbook of their community’s district. But who would look? Until the shooting at the Parkland High School, the public knew little or nothing about the PROMISE program to whitewash students’ infractions.

Following the massacre in February 2018 in one of the Broward County district schools, Parkland High School, people asked if the shooter (name withheld to not add to his notoriety) had ever been arrested, which would have denied him the right to purchase firearms. The suspect was known for violent acts, including the killing of small animals for sport and the vandalism of a school bathroom while yet in middle school. The sheriff’s office had been called to his home dozens of times. Both the school deputy and the FBI received tips that this disturbed individual was planning a school shooting. The school had even recommended an involuntary mental evaluation. But nothing was done by officials to intervene and prevent the tragedy. They were following the Obama directive and needed to protect the image of the school.

In the culture of leniency of PROMISE, violators of the same infraction 10 times are treated as if it were the first offense. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reviewed the district’s discipline policies and reported in early May:

  • “Students can be considered first-time offenders even if they commit the same offenses year after year.
  • The district’s claim of reforming bad behavior is exaggerated.
  • Lenient discipline has an added PR benefit for the district: lower suspensions, expulsions and arrests along with rising graduation rates.”

The district claims a 90% success rate of students not re-offending. However, the Sun Sentinel revealed the real meaning of that claim. Here is the scam that the students have learned to play. “A student can commit a subsequent infraction without being considered a repeat offender, as long as it’s not the exact same violation, in the exact same year. The following year, they start with a clean slate.”

The shooter was suspended some 67 days during a year and a half in middle school and continued to have problems in high school. However, his record didn’t show that. The administrators use the numbers to market their school. They do not want their school to be perceived as dangerous. Parents would not send their children to those schools if the truth were known. Only after tragedy hits the school, does the community learn the awful truth. Their children became the innocent victims of those who have enjoyed endless second chances to whitewash their school records.

How many more innocent students, teachers and school personnel will be sacrificed on the PC altar before the culture of leniency is revoked and personal accountability for personal actions is restored? Although the identity of the first person to make this statement seems to be debatable, its truth is widely repeated, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Who will do nothing? Who will act?

Prof. Steven Schier’s op-ed asks a fundamental question that might determine whether Minnesota Republicans will experience a good year in 2018. There’s no question whether Minnesota is a redder state now than when Tim Pawlenty won re-election in 2006. What’s still in question is whether Minnesota will return to electing Republican governors.

Buried inside Prof. Schier’s op-ed is some information that’s gotten my attention. For instance, Prof. Schier notes that “the steadily more progressive profile of the DFL is hurting the party in greater Minnesota. Minnesota Democrats are increasingly defined by strong environmentalism and assertive social liberalism that does not receive a warm response in places such as Redwood Falls, Roseau and Blue Earth and among the state’s farm population. An increasingly progressive DFL creates many electoral opportunities for the state’s GOP. That is reflected in the trends noted above. Metro DFL activists are among the most progressive in the country, and their agenda puts substantial political distance between them and residents of most counties outside of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area.”

It isn’t that Republicans have suddenly gotten popular, though it’s indisputable that they’re more popular than Democrats. What’s most true is that the DFL is much less popular in rural Minnesota than at any time in my lifetime. A look at the Secretary of State’s website shows how the DFL went from having an 89-45 majority in the House in 2008 to a 63-71 minority in 2010. Republicans go into this election with a 76-58 majority in the House. With the margin of victory being large in most of those seats, it’s difficult not picturing Kurt Daudt as speaker again in 2019.

Further, it’s difficult not picturing Republicans being super-motivated this fall to elect a Republican governor to go along with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. It might not finish that way but Republicans must have that as their goal. That’s because it’s such a realistic goal.

This is an unexpected burst of honesty:

It’s easy to miss the recent “reddening” of Minnesota because the state’s media is heavily concentrated in the heavily blue enclave of the MSP metropolitan area. Analysis and coverage of political trends in greater Minnesota receive sporadic and often superficial coverage.

It isn’t that I think Prof. Schier isn’t trustworthy. It’s that such candidness isn’t that common. To be certain, turning Minnesota from a deep blue state to a purple state on its way to being a semi-red state is taking time. There still aren’t any conservative superstars from Minnesota.

Tim Pawlenty is the closest thing to a Republican rock star but he isn’t a superstar by any stretch of the imagination. Jason Lewis has a legitimate shot at becoming a conservative superstar because of his intellectual heft. BTW, ignore the nonsense that Angie Craig will defeat him this year. He’ll have to work hard but Jason will win re-election.

According to the St. Cloud Times’ editorial board, the legislature’s responsibility is to keep students warm, safe and dry. According the Editorial Board, Devinder Malhotra, the newly-named chancellor of the Minnesota State system, told their editorial board that “Asset preservation is our top priority. We need to give our students a quality educational experience. … We also need to keep them warm, safe and dry.”

With St. Cloud State’s on-campus enrollment shrinking annually and with the University running multi-million dollar annual deficits, you’d think that getting St. Cloud State’s financial and enrollment situations turned around would be high on Malhotra’s list. Despite the fact that Dr. Malhotra once was St. Cloud State’s provost, turning around the University isn’t part of his focus.

Then again, straightening out the University hasn’t been a priority for MnSCU in years. They ignored the mismanagement of the University’s finances. They didn’t intervene when the University’s enrollment problems became chronic. They didn’t bother to inquire as to why St. Cloud State sent $1,000,000+ checks to the Wedum Foundation each year.

To be fair, though, MnSCU wasn’t the only institution that failed the University. The St. Cloud Times did little more than publish St. Cloud State’s press releases. Investigative journalism was left to LFR and, occasionally, to MPR.

The St. Cloud business community were enablers for St. Cloud State, too. As long as President Potter stayed engaged in the community, the business community turned a blind eye towards St. Cloud State. Other institutions that let SCSU down were the IFO and the Faculty Association.

The problem within the Faculty Association is that too many of them want to be administrators. That’s caused some in FA leadership to turn a blind eye towards the University’s health in the hopes of getting that last high-paying job of their professional career.

The IFO, the union representing the professors at MnSCU’s 4-year universities, has done little in terms of putting pressure on the legislature. As a direct result of the IFO’s inaction, dozens of faculty have either gotten laid off or have accepted early retirement packages.

What’s stunning is that Chancellor Malhotra hasn’t offered a plan to turn St. Cloud State around. He hasn’t even insisted that St. Cloud State’s next president have a specific plan to turn St. Cloud State around. I know this because the ‘finalists’ for the job don’t have much of an understanding of the University’s difficulties. For that matter, the University doesn’t even have a CFO who can tell the next president just how awful of shape the University is in.

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It’s safe to say that Bruce Hentges’ attempt to bully John Palmer backfired. In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Palmer has been a friend of mine for quite some time, meaning I’m quite biased. Nonetheless, I’m confident that I can make a compelling case proving my opening statement.

This got started when Mr. Hentges sent this email to Dr. Palmer, Willie Jett, Al Dahlgren and Stephanie Dickrell. Jett is the superintendent of schools in ISD 742. Mr. Dahlgren is the chairman of the ISD 742 School Board. Ms. Dickrell is a reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Ms. Dickrell covers the education beat in St. Cloud.

(Click to enlarge.)

The final paragraph is where Mr. Hentges gets himself in trouble. That’s where he said “If you ever decide to focus on the necessity of providing adequate funding to educate ALL children, I’ll be with you. Until then, I must say that I am diametrically opposed to your message and request that you not mention my name again in any way, at any-time, in relation to your ’cause’.”

Here’s how Dr. Palmer responded:

The key paragraph in Dr. Palmer’s email comes when he said “I am glad you believe we should educate “All of God’s Children who reside in the district. Does that mean you support vouchers and charter schools? These children who attend charter and private schools also reside in the district and family wealth should not restrict school access to the best education for each individual student. Children have diverse needs and need diverse options.”

Of course, Mr. Hentges doesn’t support giving parents additional options. He’s long believed that the money should go to the school, not the student. Finally, Dr. Palmer said “Finally, after your and the full school boards silencing me last Thursday night, it is simply outrageous that you are trying to restrict my First Amendment rights. I will continue to do the right things for the right reasons and use my research and scholarship talents to shed light on important topics in a fair and unbiased basis.”

It isn’t coincidence that Hentges cc’ed the Times education beat reporter on this email. The School Board hasn’t tried to be accountable in recent years. The Times called them out for not holding enough listening sessions after the initial bonding referendum was defeated.

The incident Dr. Palmer is talking about happened when he tried to speak at the last School Board meeting. He was invited to the meeting to talk about the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, aka MDHR.. At the actual meeting, though, they didn’t invite Dr. Palmer to speak.

The School Board and the City Council have become deaf to anyone who isn’t part of their clique. They represent the people. They represent the special interests. Thankfully, Dr. Palmer is highlighting their excesses.

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Who’s Responsible?
by Silence Dogood

Last Thursday, Michael Freer, the Chief Human Resources Director for St. Cloud State, sent out an email to the campus community indicating the vice presidents and president recommended not allowing alternate summer schedules for staff. This decision certainly has generated a lot of talk on campus and perhaps deflected some of the focus away from the enormous shortfall in the FY’19 budget and the solutions that will be necessary to solve the deficit.

A friend performed a Goggle search, which yielded several articles about Saint Cloud State University’s Chief Human Resources Director. This article, written by Mary Divine for the St. Paul Pioneer Press on March 7, 2018 states that “Forest Lake City Council Member Michael Freer had ‘resigned his post months after being accused of not living in the city.’ The reason he was no longer living in Forest Lake is apparently because he accepted the position as Chief Human Resources Officer for Saint Cloud State University and had moved to Maple Grove last June. In fact, it is reported that the Minnesota State system apparently facilitated the move by providing $10,000 in moving expenses.”

Mary Divine states in the article that the Forest Lake City Council deadlocked on a motion 2-2 to remove him from office last October (Freer abstained). Since November of 2016, Freer has been the Chief Human Resources Officer for Saint Cloud State University. Divine also stated in the article that Freer’s attorney said at the time that “he was seeking housing in Forest Lake.” Apparently, this wasn’t true!

In this article on the KSTP website, “a Forest Lake City resident presented evidence last September to the city council that Mike Freer did not live at the address listed on election documents as both city code and state law requires”:

Minnesota State Statute 200.031 says candidates have to live in the precinct while in office and specifically that “the individual’s residence is located in the precinct where the individual’s family lives.”

Apparently, while living in Maple Grove since at least June 2017, and working at SCSU since November of 2016, Freer served on the Forest Lake City Council until his resignation in March of this year.

I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. This appears to me to be a clear ethical, if not legal, discrepancy. The real questions are:

  1. Who at St. Cloud State University hired Michael Freer?
  2. When did they find out about his issues with potentially violating city codes and state law?
  3. Are they at all concerned about the appearance a significant ethical lapse in judgement?
  4. What did they do after they found out?

Considering that Interim President Vaidya has been a lame duck since accepting the Presidency at Northern Kentucky University on November 9th, 2017, don’t expect any answers. More likely, Interim President Vaidya will be treading water and using his vacation days prior to officially starting his new job on July 1st, 2018.

That is, of course, unless it’s all ‘fake news.’

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