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It’s abundantly clear that procedures don’t mean much to MnSCU or SCSU. When President Potter announced the cancellation of the Aviation Program at St. Cloud State, he ignored MnSCU procedure 3.36.1, which requires the following things be documented:

The academic program closure application must be documented by information, as applicable, regarding:

  1. academic program need.
  2. student enrollment trends.
  3. employment of graduates.
  4. the financial circumstances affecting the academic program, system college or university.
  5. the plan to accommodate students currently enrolled in the academic program.
  6. impact on faculty and support staff.
  7. consultation with appropriate constituent groups including students, faculty and community.
  8. alternatives considered, and
  9. other factors affecting academic program operation.

I wrote this article about how President Potter ignored MnSCU policy and how MnSCU let him get away with it. When a grievance was filed, MnSCU assigned Larry Litecky to investigate. Here’s the key part of his response:

As one whose staff is charged with the responsibility to review college and university closure requests, I disagree. My staff and I remain persuaded that the university conducted required and appropriate consultations and assessments that informed its decisions.

It wasn’t Dr. Litecky’s responsibility to be persuaded. His responsibility was to verify whether SCSU provided the documentation required or whether they hadn’t. In this case, they hadn’t provide documentation of the first 2 points.

There’s no documentation proving the Aviation Program wasn’t needed because there’s a worldwide pilot shortage. Boeing thinks that shortage will las the better part of 30 years. Likewise, there wasn’t documentation that enrollment was still in decline when President Potter made his announcement. Enrollment decreases had ended and started climbing again.

That’s before talking about “consultation with … students. Aviation students weren’t consulted prior to President Potter’s on-campus announcement. In fact, when aviation students voiced their opinions, President Potter yelled at them:

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.

Fast forward to last Thursday’s column by Phyllis vanBuren, which I wrote about here. In her colummn that the St. Cloud Times published, Dr. vanBuren wrote about a new procedure being put in place about changing grades post-term. Here’s what Dr. vanBuren wrote:

Administration also acknowledged in October the two ways that grades may be altered “post term.” One is to change the grade, and the other is to remove the course from the transcript. The association requested written documentation of the reasons for granting such a request. Administration replied that such policies and procedures exist and that faculty are notified.

According to the M& C minutes from October, the FA disagreed with that contention.

Three months later, on Jan. 7, a policies and procedures document was uploaded to the university’s Web page. It specifies that faculty will be involved. It also states that administration will provide annual reports to the association about grade changes by administration.

Since then, Provost Maholtra has declared the problem solved:

The Provost office research found that from July 2011 to June 2012, approximately 1,200 requests were made by students to drop or withdraw from classes post deadline. Of those, 237 requests were surveyed. The Provost office found that faculty members were contacted in all of those cases and 69 percent of them signed off they had received and evaluated the request. The remaining 31 percent was found to be unclear of their response.

In their words, the problem is solved. Never admitted to is more like it.

The reality is that poofs, the thing President Potter hasn’t admitted to, still continue to this day. First, it’s time President Potter admitted that they’ve happened. Second, it’s time President Potter admitted that they’re still happening. Anyone that’s worked with President Potter knows there’s a better chance of seeing unicorns than seeing him admit that poofs are still happening.

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