It was impossible to do a proper critique of the Times article in a single post so here’s Part II. First, let’s start with more Potter spin:

Potter said he was proud of the university community for the way it responded to the questions, and he noted that St. Cloud State was one of only a few higher education institutions to participate in this type of survey.

“It’s a risky thing to do. We knew that we would get some hard messages back,” he said. “We knew that we would not be near the top, that we have a long way to go. But (we) felt it was absolutely essential to take the step and move our culture forward.”

Fortunately for President Potter, the Times buried those hard messages from employees under a pile of manure. When the vast majority of employees think that the boss is incompetent and untrustworthy, those aren’t the ingredients for a great place to work. As damning as those things are, this might be the worst criticism of the Potter administration:

The survey was the idea of Holly Schoenherr, the university’s human resources director. Shortly after she started two years ago, she began to hear about employees who felt they were being bullied in the workplace and about concerns regarding civil discourse.

I’ve spoken with several SCSU professors. They won’t go on the record for fear of retribution from President Potter, corrupt members of the faculty or both. The pervasive atmosphere amongst faculty is that retribution is considered a management tool by the administration and their apologists.

What’s puzzling is that Mr. Unze didn’t ask Ms. Schoenherr whether the survey showed if the bullying had persisted. Also, why didn’t Mr. Unze ask whether the discourse had improved from being hostile? These are questions that should’ve been asked. These are questions that the public has a right to know.

As amateurish as the Times’ reporting is, that isn’t the focus of this post. What’s important is that this post highlight President Potter’s management (mismanagement?) style, the on-campus bullying and whether steps have been taken to improve on-campus morale.

Based on the information contained in this post, I’d argue that nothing concrete has changed:

The statistics speak for themselves. People don’t trust President Potter because his actions don’t match his words, because “management isn’t approachable” and because they think he’s incompetent.

There’s no reason to think President Potter will change. Absent him changing dramatically, the problems at SCSU will persist. No amount of spin from the administration and the St. Cloud Times will change that fact.

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