This morning, I listened to a presentation by SCSU President Potter. In his presentation, he complains about people with personal agendas. Specifically, he’s refering to Aviation Prof. Jeff Johnson. Here’s a transcript of that portion of President Potter’s presentation:

A very different type of misunderstanding is shown by a faculty member who has gone to Congresswoman Bachmann to argue that an academic program that he has a particular interest in should not be cut but instead we should cut funding for the Women’s Center and LGBT services because the University shouldn’t be paying for those things.

Obviously, that’s a personal agenda. Obviously, we can argue whether it’s appropriate for a faculty member who works for this institution should independently argue whether something should be funded or not.

That also reflects a misunderstanding about the University. We have a commitment to the success of all of our students. The support systems we provide to assist our students be successful are essential. Some folks on campus think that the only thing that’s essential is what we do in the classroom and everything else we do is not necessary and vulnerable and therefore should be cut in favor of the classroom.

The folks who are in this room and who are looking at who you all are know that that is not true. We have a commitment to balance all the things we do to support student success.

Unfortunately, some of our legislators believe this, too. They think the only thing we should be doing is in the classroom. And I have to say that that’s not true.

That last shot is clearly aimed at Sen. Pederson, Rep. Gottwalt and Rep. Banaian. Though President Potter doesn’t use names, it’s clear he isn’t happy with Sen. Pederson, Rep. Gottwalt and Rep. Banaian.

Here’s a wakeup call to President Potter. Taxpayers are tired of universities using their taxes for things other than giving students the technical expertise to compete in the global marketplace of ideas. These other “essential services” shouldn’t be funded until the academic needs of the students are met.

The rest of these things are just money spent to look respectable to the PC police, which, admittedly, is a high priority in academia.

President Potter has alot ofnerve complaining about personal agendas. It’s his personal agenda that’s triggered this. He’s killed a job-creating degree program that’s got lots of students’ interests. Aviation shouldn’t be shut down because there’s a pilot shortage looming in the not-so-distant future:

Boeing forecasts the Asia Pacific region will require hundreds of thousands of new commercial airline pilots and technicians over the next 20 years to support airline fleet modernization and the rapid growth of air travel.

The 2011 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook calls for 182,300 new pilots and 247,400 new technicians in the Asia Pacific region through 2030. The greatest need is in China, which will require 72,700 pilots and 108,300 technicians over the next 20 years.

“The demand for aviation personnel is evident today. In Asia we’re already beginning to see some delays and operational disruptions due to a shortage of pilots,” said Roei Ganzarski, chief customer officer, Boeing Flight Services.

“To ensure the success of our industry as travel demands grows, it is critical that we continue to foster a talent pipeline of capable and well-trained aviation personnel.”

President Potter can talk all he wants about carefully balancing things that SCSU funds. The reality is that this isn’t that close of a call. Especially in light of the fact that there’s a looming airline pilot shortage, this should’ve been an easy decision for President Potter.

Simply put, President Potter blew it with this decision.

He closed a program that’s a) relatively inexpensive and b) producing well-trained graduates who frequently get good paying jobs immediately after graduating.

President Potter is intent on keeping open a Masters Degree program for 20-30 students a) that’s expensive, b) that pleases only the PC police and c) that only helps in creating student loan debt.

It’s time for President Potter to finish his PC personal agenda. It’s time he started making wise decisions on how to spend the taxpayers’ money.

Thus far, he’s failed at that mission.

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9 Responses to “President Potter’s personal attacks on personal agendas?”

  • eric z. says:

    I believe Supreme Court precedent is that while free speech is protected against state action, a private employer can fire an employee breaching rules in place against speech contrary to the interests [pecuniary and goodwill] of the employer. But since state action by the federal and other governments against First Amendment rights is barred by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, faculty of state owned/run universities are protected. During the tail end of the red-baiting years after WW II, the Warren Court struck down loyalty oath and other freedom of speech and right to assembly and to petition the government for redress of wrongs (actual or merely perceived). Given all that, Potter the boss should back off. He is out of line. Were this Carleton or Case Western Reserve, private institutions, the opposite would apply – although he’d have no power to silence faculty, he could fire them, or arguably so. There are nuances, such as what if the faculty were complaining or informing of sexual harassment – the countering of which is a federal goal entrenched in law? But faculty of a public institution, petitioning members of government for favorable government action are, in Minnesota, engaged in public participation which is favored by statute [Minn. Stat. Ch. 554].

  • Charlie Quimby says:

    Read the article Gary quotes. About 165k of the 182k forecasted pilot shortage is in the Indo-Asian region. Are those jobs going to SCSU grads?

    And the forecast comes from an airframe manufacturer, not the airlines, which are paying starting pilots about what an oil field truck driver could earn, without any training or degree.

    Talk to commercial pilots entering the business in the country — or trying to make a living. Check it out:

  • Gary Gross says:

    Charlie, If you knew more about the SCSU Aviation program, you’d know that there’s a sizable number of Asian students in their program. They very well might get jobs flying the Pacific Rim routes.

    Second, your argument that starting pilots make the same “as an oil field truck driver” earns is a non sequitur. Are you saying that students shouldn’t pursue Aviation degrees? Are you saying they should stay untrained & work the Bakken Oil Field?

  • Charlie Quimby says:

    A sizable number of Asians in a Minnesota state-supported program with about 160 total. Okay. I stand corrected. It should be a priority for funding by tax payers. Heck, I might even support a tax increase!

    I am simply saying the rosy career opportunities are overstated. Kids should pursue the degrees they want, but beware of hype about their job prospects, whether it’s Women’s Studies or Aviation.

  • Gary Gross says:

    First, we aren’t talking about a Women Studies degree program. It’s the Women’s Center.

    Second, the Aviation Dept. was cranking out graduates who routinely got jobs as air traffic controllers, in airport management & as pilots.

    There are lots of degree programs that don’t have that level of success.

  • LadyLogician says:

    ” Some folks on campus think that the only thing that’s essential is what we do in the classroom and everything else we do is not necessary and vulnerable and therefore should be cut in favor of the classroom…”

    As someone who is soon to be paying $10,000.00 a year in college tuition for my child the answer is OH HECK YEAH it’s about what you do in the classroom. If you don’t do in the classroom you don’t have for the periphery – and trust me Mr. Potter – everything outside of the classroom IS periphery! The job of an educator is (shockingly enough) TO EDUCATE!


  • LadyLogician says:

    Charlie – regarding Indo-Asia routes – who says that those routes won’t go to SCSU graduates? If they are willing to fly the routes and they are qualified…..

    The non-sequitur here is the comparison between Aviation (a marketable skill) and Women’s Studies. What exactly is the market for a Women’s Studies degree? Or a LGBT Studies degree? Or a Liberal Arts degree? We have to send our students out with degrees that will be usable in the workplace – like aviation. Yes students need to “beware the hype” but they also need useful degrees. Right now, our universities are doing nothing more than turning out over-educated idiots who wouldn’t know how to work a job if their lives depended on it (see Occupy Wall Street) and their lives DO depend on it…..


  • Gary Gross says:

    LL, I agree that a degree in LGBT Studies isn’t a marketable degree. In this instance, however, the budget that would get cut is for LGBT Services, not LGBT Studies.

    That means even further out on the periphery than LGBT Studies.

  • Patrick Mattson says:

    Most pilots can commute via other carriers to their home base. I have known pilots based out of the east coast and the south that lived in Minnesota. Asian airlines are offering big incentives for qualified pilots to come work for them – bonuses, housing, flexible schedules, etc.

    I have always been the skeptic when it comes to pilot shortages but this one I fear is real given the age-65 rule, lack of student starts, baby boomers retiring, military pilots are not a reliable source any more and economy rebounding. Boeing, Airbus, IATA, ICAO, ALPA and FAa forecasts say the same thing – qualified aviation personnel – not just pilots (read ATC, airport and airline ops, management).

    So yes the hiring boom is upon us because you need years to educate/train a qualified person.

    Lady L – I feel your pain…. ask the questions and get answers from those at SCSU. They should be able to give you answers to questions like what degrees has the best employment rates.

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