It’s old news that 11 MnSCU universities, tech and community colleges are in financial trouble. It isn’t old news that these 11 MnSCU schools were instructed to submit recovery plans:

Declining enrollment at Minnesota’s state-run colleges and universities has campus leaders drafting new plans to deal with decreased funding. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system administrators say 11 campuses have drafted financial recovery plans to deal with funding deficits. The system lost nearly $44 million last year, or about 2 percent of its budget.

As usual, SCSU President Potter’s statements on the matter are total BS:

Potter told trustees the university didn’t see its underlying weaknesses several years ago, because it was enjoying the benefits of a surging enrollment. Higher enrollment “was masking our lack of improvements” in managing the university’s business, and “dulled the urgency” of some reforms, he said. In 2011 the university suffered its first big drop in students.

“It’s like the water going out in a harbor,” Potter said. “You see all the shopping carts. And that’s what happened to us. We immediately [saw] some of the practices that were damaging to the university and immediately began to correct them.” He said when the problem began, the campus didn’t have the “analytical tools” to help campus officials make decisions to solve the problem. “There clearly would have been cost-reduction strategies that we would have started to put in place sooner,” he said. “We would have made different choices in the speed at which we reduced costs.”

First, President Potter didn’t accept reality. The truth is that he eliminated a program that, if it were open today, would be growing. If the Aviation program had expanded to include a drone program, that program would’ve grown dramatically.

Next, President Potter signed some contracts that a first year business major would’ve rejected. Specifically, he signed the contract with the Wedum Foundation, which has cost SCSU $7,700,000 in 5 years. President Potter also spent $400,000+ on a failed rebranding plan. Then he spent another $750,000 over 3 years for police officers that don’t patrol the SCSU campus. That’s before talking about spending $50,000 for the right to put the Great Place to Work Institute logo on SCSU stationery.

President Potter said that “surging enrollments” caused him to not implement cost-saving measures. There’s just one problem with President Potter’s statement. It isn’t true:

Back in the fall of 2009, SCSU began a process of Program Assessment. In 2010 when it looked like the state appropriation might be cut substantially, Program Assessment morphed into “Reorganization” and $14,000,000 was quickly cut from the budget.

President Potter hasn’t spent the time recruiting in his back yard. North Dakota is recruiting in SCSU’s back yard. What’s adding to SCSU’s recruiting difficulties is the fact that President Potter’s shoddy decision making is chasing students away.

President Potter is in over his head. He just won’t admit it.

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