Search
Archives
Categories

The first time I read through this Times Editorial Board editorial, I didn’t catch this bit of flawed thinking by the Times:

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Chancellor Steven Rosenstone has tried to make dramatic changes with his “Charting the Future” proposal. However, with a series of missteps in rolling out the program, the effort was bogged down in harsh words between the chancellor, faculty leaders and some students on many of the MnSCU campuses. Some of that antagonism has spilled out at St. Cloud State. This isn’t the time to have a conflict of personalities. It is time to work together.

The university’s challenges are affected by many things: uncertain funding from the Legislature, reduced state aid for athletics, pressure from some local officials to explain the enrollment decline and budget gap.

That’s antiquated thinking and then some. First, the Times assumes that Dr. Rosenstone and President Potter are willing to listen. Ample proof exists that indicates they aren’t willing. They’re perfectly willing to blame others for their mistakes but they aren’t willing to listen to others’ ideas.

After the Faculty Association’s Budget Advisory Committee representatives suggested saving millions of dollars by renegotiating SCSU’s lease with the J.A. Wedum Foundation, President Potter didn’t waste time considering that as a worthwhile option. Instead, he taped an interview with … the Times’ Editorial Board. There, he told them that the Coborn’s Plaza contract was successful. Of course, the Times Editorial Board didn’t ask President Potter how he defined success.

Considering the fact that SCSU has lost $7,700,000 on the lease thus far and with SCSU facing a $9,542,000 deficit this year, thoughtful, honest people wouldn’t attempt telling a major newspaper that losing millions of dollars represents a success.

Further, the enrollment decline isn’t a recent thing that happened last week. It started in the fall of 2010. That’s the start of FY2011. For much of this time, President Potter and then-Provost Devinder Malhotra insisted that declining enrollment was part of their right-sizing plan. It wasn’t until last year that President Potter admitted that SCSU was in financial trouble.

It’s impossible to work with someone who isn’t willing to tell the truth and admit that there’s a problem. It’s impossible for the faculty to suggest solutions when President Potter insists that everything is fine. That’s what President Potter did for the 3 years prior to SCSU’s financial difficulties became too big to hide.

Until the spring of 2014, President Potter’s recommendation for solving SCSU’s financial difficulties essentially was ‘bury your head in the sand and call me in a week or two.’

Right now, the Times is part of the problem. If they want to be part of the solution, they need to start asking tough questions of President Potter about his solutions. That starts with rejecting President Potter’s insistence that innovation will solve the problem. A part of the problem is insisting that President Potter stop making foolish financial decisions that’ve cost SCSU millions of dollars.

Another part of the solution is the legislature and the Department of Higher Education putting pressure on Dr. Rosenstone and President Potter. If they won’t insist that these so-called leaders be held accountable to the students and to Minnesota’s taxpayers, then this crisis won’t get solved anytime soon.

Finally, this crisis won’t get fixed without the media and some of the faculty stop being apathetic. Taxpayers are being told that they aren’t spending enough money on higher education. That’s BS. A major part of the problem is that President Potter and Chancellor Rosenstone are spending the taxpayers’ money foolishly.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply