After announcing that SCSU was shutting the Aviation program, 5 students met with President Potter to find out why he made that decision. Tonight, Logan Vold, one of the students in the meeting, sent me the email he sent to the student faculty. Here’s the text of that email:

Hi Redacted Name,

My name is Logan Vold and I’m a senior aviation student at SCSU. I wanted to mention to you that I was one of 5 students/graduates who met with President Potter personally regarding the aviation program closure.

5 students, including myself, took a meeting with President Potter back in August (second week of school). I wanted to let you know how that meeting went.

I never felt so embarrassed knowing we have a university president who acts like this. As soon as we sat down in the conference room (his office) we were told that and I quote, “I just have this to say about the aviation program being closed, the decision has been made, the chancellor signed off on that decision, and Dr. Johnson has been reluctant to accept that decision and I have held back from filing insubordination charges, because I find his actions to be insubordinate…”

My question to you, Samantha, is what faculty member, especially a president of a university, will mention faculty members names to students in this context? I find this to be a violation of university code of conduct/ethics, especially privacy issues.

Furthermore, later, as the meeting progressed, President Potter yelled at myself, as well as another student. He raised his voice at me and mentioned, “do not take that tone with me…” while he leaned over the table with both hands on the table. At this point, I literally shut down as the other 4 individuals resumed the meeting. He also yelled at another student with the same tone and words.

I don’t know what can be done, but my point is that I find it grossly violating university code of conduct policies of what was between us and President Potter. The reason I’m emailing you so late is because we came together to collect a list of what was said at the meeting that we all can stand by and life got busy.

After witnessing President Potter’s actions at this meeting and seeing what the media is portraying about the closing of the aviation program, I find it all political and I encourage you to read the following articles that I’m including the links to.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me.

Logan Vold

Simply put, President Potter’s actions were totally undignified and unhinged, especially in the context of him talking with students about their professor.

Another thing that’s highly questionable is President Potter’s talking personnel issues in public. When he terminated Mahmoud Saffari, people questioned him about why Saffari was terminated:

According to an earlier statement from one of the protesters, Saffari was led by security off the campus, relieved of his keys, and was not allowed access to his office or staff. In response, a speaker stated that the president will not release any information because of confidentiality agreements.

President Potter cited the need for confidentiality on personnel matters when it suited him but didn’t think confidentiality on personnel matters was important when lashing out at a professor who questioned President Potter’s decisions.

This email is proof that President Potter didn’t think twice about undercutting a professor in front of the professor’s students.

At the Fall Convocation in 2012, President Potter urged those gathered for a new era of civility:

With much work behind us and an increased capacity to deal with the many challenges that we face we now focus on the priorities for the coming year. They include three defined by Chancellor Rosenstone:

•Offering our students an extraordinary education
•Being the partner of choice for Minnesota’s employers
•Maintaining access, affordability and opportunity for all students

To these three priorities we add a fourth that is perhaps peculiar to St. Cloud State University…the development of a culture that is characterized by the ability to deal with difficult issues with respect in an atmosphere of civility.

Apparently, dealing “with difficult issues with respect in an atmosphere of civility” is important to President Potter on a selective basis. It’s obvious it isn’t consistently a priority with President Potter. Put differently, President Potter believes in a policy of civility from thee but not from me.

University presidents’ behavior should be held to the highest standards. President Potter’s behavior in this matter doesn’t come close to meeting that standard. What’s most demoralizing is that this isn’t the only time when President Potter’s behavior has been this unhinged.

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