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To: SCSU Faculty
From: Gary Gross, citizen journalist
Subject: SCSU’s financial mismanagement

Since last spring and throughout the summer, I’ve written about the financial mismanagement issues afflicting SCSU. I’ve been blessed by Silence Dogood’s insights and information throughout. Silence’s information is irrefutable.

Still, administrators and a few members of the faculty have taken cheapshots at me. They’ve insisted that I’m “an archconservative who doesn’t have the University’s best interests at heart.” They couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve lived in St. Cloud all my life. I want St. Cloud State to succeed because a thriving St. Cloud State contributes to St. Cloud’s economy.

It’s just that I can’t sit back and watch while President Potter decimate SCSU with one shoddy financial decision after another. Thanks to contracts he’s signed, St. Cloud State’s checkbook is lighter by almost $1,600,000 this year. It might be more but I’m certain of those outlays.

St. Cloud State is spending $240,000 this year for police protection, protection that the City of St. Cloud is obligated to pay for. An additional $1,200,000 left St. Cloud State’s checkbook thanks to Coborn’s Plaza being significantly underpopulated. Coborn’s Plaza lightened St. Cloud State’s checkbook by $2,250,000 the first 2 years in addition to this year’s $1,200,000. That’s before subtracting $150,000 for the Confucius Institute.

It’s important to ask the question whether the University would be better off with the money in department budgets or in these initiatives. I suspect they’d be better off if President Potter hadn’t misspent the money on these initiatives. I’m confident you’ll agree.

Silence Dogood wrote powerfully about the impact declining tuition revenue will have on the University’s budget. Then Silence talked about the impending budget cuts:

At the most recent Meet and Confer on September 5, 2013, the administration presented a document that indicates that there is a need to cut the budget to cover the lost tuition dollars from the administration’s now predicted 5% drop in enrollment. The total amount to be cut is $2,861,117.

Then Silence added this:

According to the September 19, 2013 email sent by Provost Malhotra, “We are taking the necessary steps to adjust our current FY14 budget for the additional 1.0% enrollment shift, which equals about $620,000.

It’s time to ask yourself some questions, starting with whether an additional enrollment drop should be called an “enrollment shift.” That’s outright spin. It isn’t a shift. It’s a drop. Second, it’s important to ask whether this administration has been honest with you. I’d submit it hasn’t. Third, it’s important to question whether the administration’s decisions have led to a healthier St. Cloud State or whether they’ve contributed to a crumbling institution. I’d submit they’ve contributed to the latter.

The decision is your’s. Do you think this leadership team will right the ship? If you answered no, then it’s time to be part of the solution instead of being an enabler. It’s that simple.

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