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Lost in all of the election hoopla has been the disintegration of the Rosenstone administration. Thus far, faculty representatives at Winona State, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Bemidji State and Southwest University have approved votes of no confidence in Chancellor Rosenstone’s administration. St. Cloud State, meanwhile, has overwhelmingly approved a resolution saying that they support the Winona State faculty’s vote of no confidence.

Next week, faculty representatives at Metropolitan State and Minnesota State University, Moorhead, will have their opportunity to express their opinions on Chancellor Rosenstone’s administration. I don’t want to presume anything but it isn’t a stretch to think that they’ve paid attention to this week’s events.

Unfortunately for Chancellor Rosenstone, the votes of no confidence are just the tip of rather nasty iceberg of his own creation. This is a major unforced error:

The chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system says a state agency has agreed to mediate faculty unions’ dispute with MnSCU leaders over how to carry out an overhaul of the system. Steven Rosenstone says he has invited union leaders to join him in talks with the state Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution.

Here’s the IFO’s response:

“In labor relations, mediation is a mutual process to be held in confidence, never to be exploited for political gain,” he wrote. “In that light, Chancellor Rosenstone has shown his bad faith. This recent action is part of a pattern of behavior which is an important reason that the faculty unions have lost trust in his leadership.”

Chancellor Rosenstone either knew or should’ve known that mediated disputes go to the Bureau of Mediation Services, aka the BMS. That’s what the collective bargaining agreement between the IFO and MnSCU specifies. IFO President Jim Grabowska is exactly right in saying that this was a political stunt. I’d add that it’s a nonstarter and Rosenstone knew that. That’s why it must be characterized as a political and PR stunt. Here’s how Monte Bute, the IFO’s action coordinator, reacted to Rosenstone’s actions:

[IFO] action coordinator Monte Bute said Rosenstone was acting in “bad faith” when he made his announcement early Thursday that a state agency would intervene. Bute called Rosenstone’s announcement a “political ploy,” and said union leaders have decided not to proceed with the mediation.

It’s time for Tom Renier, the chairman of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, and Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, the vice-chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, to discipline Chancellor Rosenstone. If they haven’t figured it out that he works for them, then they’re as worthless as potted plants and need to go.

There’s much more to this story, which I’ll include in upcoming posts. Check back for more information.

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