Last week, former VP of enrollment management at St. Cloud State, Mahmoud Saffari, filed a lawsuit in federal court against SCSU and President Potter:

Mahmoud Saffari has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging civil rights violations, discrimination, defamation and violations of the state Data Practices Act. The lawsuit was filed 16 months after his firing, which led to protests by the Faculty & Staff of Color Caucus.

Here’s a copy of the complaint:
Saffari lawsuit

If Dr. Saffari proves that he was “directed not to share enrollment figures with faculty or a particular administrator”, then President Potter will have difficulty explaining how that didn’t interfere with Dr. Saffari’s ability to do his job. As a vice president, the only person who’d outrank him at SCSU is President Potter.

Later in the lawsuit, Dr. Saffari alleges that he “was threatened with termination” if he continued raising issues about why enrollment was declining at SCSU. If that’s accurate, which a jury will decide, then it would suggest that SCSU, under President Potter’s administration, has issues with transparency. Again, that’s for a jury to decide but it fits President Potter’s pattern of behavior.

Another troubling part of Dr. Saffari’s accusations is that Dr. Saffari was “directed by the Provost” that he couldn’t share enrollment statistics with faculty. Dr. Saffari then stated that, when he “raised the issue”, he was terminated.

It’s difficult to imagine that sharing enrollment information to the faculty, MnSCU and the public wouldn’t be part of Dr. Saffari’s responsibilities as VP of enrollment management at SCSU.

This lawsuit will require President Potter to focus a substantial amount of time on defending himself and SCSU against this lawsuit. That’s troubling in light of the fact that his attention needs to be on the transcript scandal and on slashing programs that don’t improve workforce training.


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9 Responses to “Saffari files defamation lawsuit, Potter declines comment”

  • On page 2 of the complaint, he had 8 years of service before he was terminated. Now, that is incredible. It’s not like he was there for a year and got fired. SCSU has quite a resume now when you add this to doctoring transcripts, cutting job producing academic programs, plummeting enrollments, and the list goes on.

  • Patrick-M says:

    Perhaps other issues will come to light during this action. One thing that was never explained to the Aviation Department is why they were targeted – I have fairly good data on why but would love to get Dr. Potter and his administrators under oath to tell us the truth.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Good luck with that, Patrick. I’d give better odds that Gov. Dayton gives up on tax increases this year than on Potter telling the truth about the Aviation Department.

  • Nick says:

    St. Cloud State University getting sued, no surprise to me. No wonder I don’t want to donate to them.

  • eric z says:

    Do you have that thing as a pdf? I diaable all of Facebook on my workstation, including Scribd.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, I only have the court doc through Scribd.

  • Nick says:


    From what I can recall, you can download a Scribd document from the Scribd website. I hope that helps.

  • Samanta Jones says:

    This comment was deleted because the commenter made an unsubstantiated statement when she said that she was “sure he got fired from the other places he used to work.” Unsubstantiated allegations aren’t allowed here. Criticism is. Criticizing someone is fine, as long as you have proof. Making wild allegations without sharing proof isn’t.

    I consider the latter a cheapshot. Here’s a simple rule to apply: Allegations aren’t proof.

  • Mohammad says:

    This is not the first time Dr. Saffari is being fired. Open your eyes and look at his work history. This is the third time he is getting fired. Start with the University of Louisiana in Monro and search back to gather some information about his work history. He has a reputation of being poor team player and displaying poor knowledge and competence of his job.

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