According to this article, 11 MnSCU institutions have been ordered to submit a Financial Recovery Plan because they’ve been financially mismanaged. Four out of seven MnSCU universities are on this list, including St. Cloud State. St. Cloud State’s budget deficit for FY2015, the current fiscal year, is $9,542,000. That’s bad news but it isn’t the worst news for St. Cloud State. Next year’s deficit is projected to be approximately $16,000,000.

Given the fact that SCSU’s budget reserves have dropped significantly in the past few years, sound financial judgment would instruct President Potter to start making decisions to cut St. Cloud State’s losses ASAP. That would instruct President Potter to start with cutting things that aren’t central to the University’s mission. Ancillary programs like the Women’s Center should be receive heightened scrutiny.

First, it isn’t that I’m saying the Women’s Center doesn’t serve any useful purposes. Still, there’s a reason why it’s called an ancillary program. One of the events it’s sponsoring is a play called Slut: the play. Here’s the purpose of the play:

to stem the tide of sexual shaming, harassment, and violence by raising awareness and calling for healthier attitudes toward female sexuality.

There’s no questions that this is a subject to be taken seriously. That being said, that doesn’t mean that St. Cloud State has to be the only option for putting on the play or that the University needs a Women’s Center. Since there already is an organization that deals with sexual violence in the St. Cloud area, why can’t that organization take the lead? If the argument is that there isn’t an office for the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center on campus, there’s a simple fix to that. With all of the empty buildings on campus, there’s no reason why one of those buildings can’t offer on-campus space to the organization.

That would offer the best of both worlds. First, there’d be trained professional health workers on St. Cloud State’s campus to deal with this serious issue. Second, it wouldn’t cost St. Cloud State a penny to make this important service available to its students.

Another essential step that St. Cloud State must take is to immediately renegotiate the lease President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation. The University lost $7,700,000 in the first 5 years of the lease. This isn’t the comprehensive list of bad financial decisions President Potter has made. They’re just some of the terrible decisions he’s made.

Thanks to President Potter’s bad decisions, St. Cloud State has essentially been given detention. The biggest question remaining is whether anyone with authority will finally demand that he start making better decisions. If President Potter won’t admit that he’s made some rather foolish decision, then it’s safe to say he won’t fix the problems he’s created.

3 Responses to “Bad decisions, terrible outcomes”

  • Jarrett says:

    He should be removed ASAP. He is a disease on the City of St Cloud, MN as well

  • Mystique says:

    If memory serves, King Banaian pushed the idea of zero based budgeting when he was a representative. In the case of higher education and particularly MnSCU, shouldn’t there be a comprehensive review of all academic and ancillary programs? What unique niche does the Women’s Center fill that cannot be filled by other existing on campus programs and external agencies? With the massive 5 year enrollment decline at SCSU and a severe budget problem, an external comprehensive review is essential for restoring SCSU’s financial health. Students fees at most universities have skyrocked in short order. When it comes to student fees, I think students and their parents should be able to JUST SAY NO in being forced to have their hard earned money being spend on some programs like the female organism.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I can attest to the fact that zero-based budgeting was part of HF2, which King was chief author of in 2011. The other part of HF2 that year was the Sunset Advisory Commission.

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