To: St. Cloud State faculty
From: Gary Gross, citizen journalist
Subject: St. Cloud State’s transcript cover-up

I’ve written lots of articles about President Potter’s attempt to cover up his administration’s transcript scandal. These aren’t baseless accusations, though they’ve been characterized that way by this administration. It’s been verified by some of your colleagues. This is one of the posts I’ve written on the scandal. Judge for yourself if my accusations are baseless or irrefutable. This is from Dr. Phyllis VanBuren’s monthly column for the St. Cloud Times:

Meet & Confer sessions are held regularly between the Faculty Association and St. Cloud State’s administration. On every agenda of M&C minutes from October 2012 through this May, the topic of grades changes appeared.

The minutes show there is a lot of finger-pointing and the need for data sharing and adherence to policies and practices by students, faculty and administration. There are two main issues. One involves changing grades, usually to a W. The other involves the possibility of dropping classes from transcripts without informing faculty.

This post verifies as fact that students’ participation in classes have been completely deleted:

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number…It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade…and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

Leenay’s experience isn’t unique. Faculty members at St. Cloud State say they’re concerned that students’ grades have mysteriously disappeared from transcripts. Professors and instructors aren’t sure how widespread the problem is, but say, except in rare instances, the university’s failure to notify them of grade changes is an ethical breach.

“A number of faculty members raised concerns that they believed from what they were seeing that student’s grades were actually disappearing off transcripts,” said Stephen Hornstein, president of the university’s faculty association. “A student would take a course, get a poor grade and then a semester or two later that grade would not appear on the transcript at all.”

Dr. Leenay’s statement was unequivocal. There isn’t room for interpretation. A student took a class from her. The student failed the class. Later, she discovered that the student’s participation in the class had disappeared from St. Cloud State’s official transcript system.

Despite this irrefutable proof, the administration insists proof doesn’t exist:

In addressing this concern at a meet and confirm meeting conducted amongst university professors and administration, Hammer said the cause for concern primarily dealt with late drops and withdrawals.

Here’s what Provost Malhotra said about the issue:

Recently, questions about student registration and transcript changes, specifically late withdrawals and drops, at St. Cloud State University have been reported in a few media outlets.

Apparently, Provost Malhotra think that getting a grade removed after a student has failed the class deals specifically [with] late withdrawals and drops.

When your colleagues have a name for when the transcripts have been permanently and secretly altered, that suggests this isn’t an isolated incident. When your colleagues add ‘poofs’ to the campus jargon, that’s proof that the administration isn’t telling the whole truth about this.

When academic integrity is compromised at a university, no amount of rebranding will help wipe that away. The only way to correct that is to admit that it happened, then restore the students’ transcripts. Without that act of integrity, the university’s reputation will continue suffering.

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