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To: Chancellor Steven Rosenstone
From: Gary Gross, citizen journalist
Subject: SCSU Crisis

Chancellor Rosenstone, I was optimistic when you were hired as the new chancellor of the MnSCU system. That optimism has faded as I gathered information about what was happening at MnSCU universities. Honestly, most of the information that’s troubling me from a policy standpoint has come from St. Cloud State.

Historically speaking, St. Cloud State has been one of the premier universities in the MnSCU system. At this point, it’s difficult to picture St. Cloud State as MnSCU’s flagship university. I’ve documented President Potter’s financial mismanagement in my writings.

According to St. Cloud State’s Budget Committee, the University has lost $1.125 million per year the first 2 years Coborn’s Plaza has been open. According to public documents, President Potter agreed to pay the City of St. Cloud $240,000 a year for 3 years. The 3 police officers’ assignment is to investigate violent crimes committed near the St. Cloud State campus.

St. Cloud State can’t afford that type of financial mismanagement when its enrollment is tanking. As you know, St. Cloud State’s enrollment is down 8% as of 4:30am this morning. If St. Cloud State’s enrollment is down that much this year, their enrollment will be down by approximately 18% over the past 3 years. That’s a drop of approximately 3,000 students. It’s also a significant drop in tuition revenues over that time.

Losing millions of dollars in tuition revenue each year isn’t something the University can afford for a single year. In addition to this year’s tuition revenue losses, St. Cloud State lost millions of dollars of tuition revenue the previous 2 years, too. When President Potter terminated Mahmoud Saffari, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Provost Malhotra said that the reason for terminating Dr. Saffari was that he hadn’t produced a “satisfactory strategic enrollment management plan.”

It’s been 2 years since Dr. Saffari’s termination and St. Cloud State still doesn’t have a strategic enrollment management plan in place. In fact, there’s proof that they haven’t even started putting one together. That means that President Potter hasn’t put a strategic enrollment management plan together even though St. Cloud State’s enrollments have been dropping for three years.

Finally, professors from across the campus have reported student’s transcripts getting doctored. President Potter’s spokesman insists that this is because of late drops and withdrawals. Professors have stepped forward and said that their students’ participation in their classes have disappeared entirely from their transcripts. There’s no sugarcoating this fact: that’s transcript fraud. The minute that a university’s integrity is questioned, it’s difficult to restore the public’s trust.

Each of the categories I’ve described for you is a major strike against President Potter. He signed the agreement to pay the City of St. Cloud for police protection. President Potter also signed the agreement that’s costing St. Cloud State $1,000,000+ a year.

During President Potter’s time as president, enrollment has dropped dramatically. He said that putting a “satisfactory enrollment management plan” was imperative. Then he terminated the man he tasked with that assignment. Then President Potter didn’t put together a satisfactory enrollment management plan. President Potter is the man responsible for delegating assignments. If they don’t get done, he should shoulder the blame for not getting these assignments accomplished.

Thus far, there hasn’t been proof that you’ve taken an interest in these issues. That can’t continue. Indifference to a deteriorating situation isn’t an option. It’s imperative that you take these situations seriously. It’s imperative that you launch a serious investigation into these matters.

A great university is getting damaged through President Potter’s mismanagement. Now is the time for you, Chancellor Rosenstone, to step forward and provide the leadership needed to correct this situation and these mistakes.

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