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During his appearance at the St. Cloud City Council study session, SCSU President Earl Potter made a number of foolish statements, which were recorded in this post. As this article will show, they weren’t the only foolish statements President Potter made. Here’s a quote attributed to President from a Star Tribune article:

May 27, 2011 in the Star Tribune: “We have very fine students in a very strong program we can no longer afford.” Potter said.

The affordability question is resolved quickly with this information:

Here is one example of affordability: SCSU spends a little over $1.2 million on faculty salaries alone for a Master of Science in Social Responsibility program where students study “social justice, peace, activism, and animals” compared to less than $300,000 for aviation faculty.”

When did spending $1,218,000 on studying “social justice, peace, activism and animals” rate a higher priority than spending $275,000 on a program with a good job placement? If that’s representative of the quality of SCSU’s decisionmaking, then it’s being mismanaged.

Here’s another statement President Potter made:

“We (Potter) have support across the board. The Board of Trustees is firmly committed to this course of action. It is a done deal. It is a business decision.”

Here’s Councilman Johnson’s reply:

I spoke with 3 of the Board of Trustees individually last spring all within a few minutes. None of them were aware that Minnesota is in danger of losing its last two aviation bachelor degree programs.

The thing that hasn’t been determined is whether the MnSCU Board of Trustees was sold a bill of goods or whether they were given accuate information. Based on the 3 trustees’ actions, it’s likely that they weren’t given accurate information.

Finally, this is the most infuriating information in Councilman Johnson’s statement:

In closing, perhaps what troubles me the most is there was no effort by SCSU to have public hearings with the community before closing any academic program which as outlined in MnSCU Board policy 3.36 that states, “The academic program application but be documented by information, as applicable regarding consultation with appropriate groups including students, faculty, and community.”

Sadly, SCSU never had any public hearings last year where they actively invited the Chamber of Commerce, area businesses, and the public at large to the table before they went ahead and reorganized and closed academic programs.

The St. Cloud business community is furious over the university’s refusal to involve them or inform them in a meaningful way of this decision. According to MnSCU Board policy, the community, faculty and students were supposed to play a much bigger role in the process.

The misinformation that President Potter used in ‘informing’ the public and the secrecy involved with the decisionmaking process isn’t the picture of transparency or accountability. Instead it’s quite possibly the only way President Potter could get this outcome.

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