Equal Treatment Of All Faculty?
by Silence Dogood

On May 13, 2014, the Aviation Program at SCSU closed. May 12, 2014 was the final day of employment for the last two remaining faculty members. In the closure of the Aviation program, two tenured faculty members were retrenched and lost their positions. Just for fun, on March 17, 2015, I did a search for a faculty member with the last name of Johnson (one of the aviation faculty members who was retrenched was Dr. Jeff Johnson). The results are shown below.

Since Dr. Johnson was no longer an employee after May 12th of 2014 at SCSU, it might be appropriate for him to not be listed (he’s also not found on page 2). I then performed a search for the other Aviation faculty member who was retrenched: Dr. Tara Harl. The results are shown below.

Clearly, according to a people search at SCSU, Dr. Harl is still employed. Just for grins, I sent Dr. Harl an email asking about her new job in Oklahoma (she left St. Cloud last summer). The email didn’t bounce so Dr. Harl’s email is still working.

I then clicked on the link for “Search Department’s Faculty/Staff” and here is the result:

It looks pretty clear that SCSU still has an Aviation Department. Clicking on the link for the Aviation Department led to the following webpage:

These results further confirm that SCSU indeed has an Aviation Department with at least one employee.

OK. So what’s the big deal? The simple answer is that last May 13th, Dr. Johnson’s email was cut off even after he had requested an extension and despite a request by his supervisor that his email be continued for an additional ninety days. Interestingly, Dr. Harl’s email was continued without a request to do so and is still active today!

One of the reasons for the requested extension of email privileges by Dr. Johnson’s was to allow for Dr. Johnson to finish working with a student completing a doctorate as well as other students in the aviation program teachout. Request denied. The termination of email privileges on May 13th for Dr. Johnson nearly caused him to miss this candidate’s final thesis defense. However, the email privileges for a faculty member who was retrenched from the same department is still active 10 months later!

After the decision was made by President Potter to close the Aviation Program, Dr. Johnson continued to point out flaws in the closure process. At some point, the issues raised by Dr. Johnson regarding the closure of the Aviation program became personal to President Potter. The only other reason to explain the disparate treatment of these two faculty members is incompetence, which is hardly an improvement over personal hatred.

Ultimately, the important question to ask is have these two faculty members been treated the same? Clearly, not. If Dr. Johnson had been a member of a protected class instead of being a white male, this difference in treatment might have raised the issue of discrimination. However, one might hope that an institution of higher education would be more concerned about “doing the right thing.” In this case, SCSU falls far short of anything that might be considered doing the right thing. However, in many other ways it seems that recently SCSU is coming up short.

8 Responses to “President Potter’s discrimination”

  • Dave Steckling says:

    The higher up one goes, the thinner the air. President Potter obviously forgot to apply his aviation oxygen attire. His poor decision to mothball the aviation program and personally penalize a professor of good standing shows poor judgement and infantile vendetta tendencies.

  • James Rugg says:

    Seems reasonable that Dr. Johnson could request payment from St. Cloud State University for all days from May 12, 2014 until the time the University removes him from their active membership roster.

  • Overseas student says:

    Another big embarrassment being added to SCSU’s already gigantic embarrassment pile. Personal hatred or incompetence? It might be a toss up. Apparently, President Potter is more concerned about his petty vindictiveness over a professor uncovering the truth than actually serving students. As a former SCSU student, Present Potter can count on my wallet remaining closed for any donations until he is gone. So how would Trustee Benson characterize a 23% enrollment drop in a few years at SCSU? Business as usual? SCSU is in trouble and will assuredly have their outstretched hand for a taxpayer bailout. Anyone with even a pea sized brain can figure that out except Rosenstone. I suspect the city is going to be greatly affected as well and is probably already feeling the effects. Where is the St. Cloud Times? What are legislative leaders doing about this crisis?

    From yesterday’s article in MPR news, it is pretty clear SCSU is in trouble. A big part of Potter’s enrollment problem is from internal forces of his own doing and not just outside forces. After all, he is the ship’s captain. And what is this I just heard? Potter still doesn’t have an enrollment management plan? It’s only been 3 or 4 years now since Potter’s enrollment guy was fired on the spot when enrollments had peaked at a high level. I was around at the time.

  • Cloud surfer says:

    Wow! There is clear evidence that there’s a personal vendetta with regards to potter and professors at SCSU. This isn’t the first time this has happened (personal vendettas). However, I wouldn’t expect anything less from a university that is led by an incompetent president and a clueless regime.

  • Morris Canterbury says:

    With the shortage of sane and competent pilots, why the heck would any institution shut down a going program??It doesn’t make sense!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Good point, Morris. There’s a shortage of competent college presidents in MnSCU, too. That explains why President Potter still has a job.

  • Mystique says:

    It appears that President Potter has locked himself in the proverbial SCSU cockpit and is driving the university into the ground. Why the “controllers” (trustees) and Rosenstone aren’t radioing Potter about this impending disaster is anyone’s guess.

  • Nick says:

    Potter doesn’t know how to operate his own cockpit, let alone breaks something (the university) that the the mechanics (taxpayers and legislators) have to fix.

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