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When President Potter met with SCSU Aviation students, he said “I just have this to say about the aviation program being closed, the decision has been made, the chancellor signed off on that decision…” He’s absolutely right. The decision was made. Chancellor Steve Rosenstone signed off on the decision. It’s also true that the things he said are totally irrelevant.

In his installation speech, Chancellor Rosenstone made this statement:

For more than 150 years, our colleges and universities have prepared Minnesota’s workforce. We have supplied skilled workers and professionals to lead new and growing companies, and we have educated the Minnesotans who knit together the fabric of our communities, from teachers and social workers to police officers and nurses.

If it’s determined that it’s important for MnSCU to continue supplying “skilled workers and professionals to lead new and growing companies”, then it’s time to put action to those words. The famous economist John Maynard Keynes was once questioned why he had changed his mind. Here’s Keynes’ reply:

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

When President Potter announced the closing of SCSU’s Aviation program, it’s possible he didn’t know about the looming pilot shortage. It’s possible that he ignored the information. It’s possible that President Potter doesn’t think supplying “skilled workers” to “growing companies” is an important priority.

There are some indisputable things that must be considered:

  • There’s a pilot shortage that’s waiting for a solution.
  • That shortage threatens grounding planes, giving business travellers fewer options when they have to travel.
  • St. Cloud State has the opportunity to help be part of the solution to that problem.
  • There’s a shortage of airplane maintenance workers.
  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College has the opportunity to be part of the solution to that problem.
  • The City of St. Cloud wants to bring a regional air carrier to the St. Cloud Regional Airport.
  • Having St. Cloud State be the major supplier of pilots to the pilot pipeline might be the final piece of the puzzle to bringing regional air service to St. Cloud.

Considering these things, why wouldn’t St. Cloud State keep the program open? A visionary leader would jump at the opportunity to be a solution provider, especially if it’s a solution that would positively and powerfully impact the city he lives in.

Earlier in this post, I referenced John Maynard Keynes’ quote. I did that to highlight the fact that it’s ok to change directions if it’s for the right reasons. I’d argue that it isn’t just ok to change your mind for the right principles. I’d argue that it’s imperative.

If President Potter wants to be part of these solutions, he must change his mind. If he rejects that opportunity, then he’ll be credited with making a bad decision on an important issue.

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2 Responses to “President Potter’s misguided vision”

  • Nick says:

    Little does Potter know. My employer ExpressJet Airlines is pulling planes out of the desert like there’s no tomorrow. I work at the KC Intl. Airport for them and they are hiring 20 aircraft mechanics for the KC base.

  • Crimson Trace says:

    Gary has covered SCSU and Potter extensively. Potter puts on a great façade…he looks great to the community however he is a bully and a dictator on campus. Yelling at students/staff, escorting Dr. Saffari off campus by security without any real justification, spending taxpayer money like a drunken sailor, traveling the world at taxpayer expense, and shutting down the aviation program is reckless and irresponsible. The whole doctoring grades and transcripts is a nice touch as well. Is this what taxpayers expect in a university president? What are our legislative reps doing about this unacceptable behavior?

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