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:
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.