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Yesterday, I spoke with some well-connected people at Townhall Tuesday who said that the House Higher Education Committee isn’t likely to take up a serious investigation into St. Cloud State’s corruption because “it’s a St. Cloud issue.” This didn’t come from a single person. It came from several people who’ve supplied me with reliable information in the past.

Let’s explode the myth that there’s anything local about MnSCU. That’s a political dodge that’s been used by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Simply put, it’s BS. University presidents report directly, and solely, to the MnSCU chancellor, who then reports to a rubberstamp known as the MnSCU Board of Trustees.

That each of these groups live in their own ivory towers is disturbing enough. University presidents can, and have, told their communities to stuff it. Certainly, Chancellor Rosenstone has washed his hands of anything to do with SCSU’s financial mismanagement. There’s no question that the MnSCU Board of Trustees are disinterested bystanders.

Simply put, it’s a system designed to discourage accountability. If it weren’t for a handful of citizen journalists, there’s no doubt that MnSCU would’ve swept any attempts to hold its universities and presidents accountable aside.

I’d love seeing Chairman Pelowski and Vice-Chair Dorholt prove me wrong by launching a serious investigation into St. Cloud State. Until I see that happen, I’ll take a Missouri point of view. They’ll have to show me that they’re serious. I won’t take their talk seriously until their actions show me that they’re serious.

From another angle, I’d love seeing some legislators put together legislation that would create local accountability. The ideal legislation would put in place an accountability panel that was independent of MnSCU. This accountability panel would have the authority to gather documents from their university without putting a Data Practices Act request together. That would mean there’d potentially be an adversarial system.

That’s better than the crony-filled rubberstamp system we’ve currently got with MnSCU.

This independent investigatory panele would also have the authority to perform audits of the universities’ books to make sure funds aren’t being improperly co-mingled or shifted.

What’s interesting is that every SCSU professor I’ve talked with thinks that MnSCU is a joke. That’s been the opinion from them whether they’re conservative or liberal or somewhere in between.

Former legislators think that, too. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis once told me that he submitted a bill to kill MnSCU before it became operational when he was a state senator. He knew it wouldn’t deliver on its promises. Mayor Kleis was vindicated on that.

What’s clear is that the current system isn’t working. It isn’t preventing corruption and mismanagement. It isn’t punishing people after it’s been proven that they’re corrupt or that they’ve mismanaged their university’s finances. At this point, there isn’t even proof that MnSCU or the legislature is even interested in oversight.

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One Response to “A little birdie told me”

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    What do you expect from at least one side of the aisle. What you’re asking for is standards something that the educational group doesn’t want.

    Mind you if I’m a Republican or a serious democrat on any of these organizations I will be screaming bloody murder.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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