Another Slap in the Face of the University!
by Silence Dogood

The first person someone meets when they come to the St. Cloud State University campus is usually one of the clerical staff—they are the public face of the University.

In case you didn’t already know, summers are short and precious in Minnesota. For many years, staff—with approval of their supervisors—were allowed to work four ten-hour days per week (with Fridays off) instead of the usual five day a week eight-hour workday.

Three years ago, President Potter decided that in order to save money, revised summer hours would no longer be allowed. When it was pointed out that this did not in fact save any money (working forty hours per week whether in four ten-hour days or five eight-hour days is still the same number of hours), he tried to recover and cited that it was to be able to “serve student needs.” This might be a noble sentiment. However, this also is a joke because the campus is almost a ghost town on Fridays in the summer.

Schedule EMS (campus planner) lists 749 entrees between 5/14/2018 and 8/2/2018. Only 75, which is almost exactly 10% have a class meeting scheduled on Fridays. If you search on the Summer School link for all classes, the first 250 summer classes are displayed. Of those, only 30 have a class meeting time on Friday and, of those, 7 are graduate courses that meet class on Friday and Saturday.

Several university staff quit/retired over the original decision. The next year, the administration reversed their decision and allowed staff, again with approval of their supervisors, to work four ten-hour days. Life was good again.

The following year (i.e., last year), the administration changed their mind and university staff were again required to work five eight-hour days per week. The staff were told that they could use vacation days if they didn’t want to work on Fridays. So, the idea that it was to serve student needs was nonsense. Additionally, if staff use vacation days to take Fridays off, they still get paid—so there are no cost savings!

Thursday, the following email was sent to the campus community.

The summer hours taskforce recommendation on summer hours was ignored and the result of this process resulted in the same outcome. Staff would no longer—with permission of their supervisor—be allowed to work four ten hour days. The reason given now: “With the upcoming presidential transition, the decision was made to remain consistent with last year during this upcoming summer.” Can I say that this is nonsense? The VP’s and Interim President knew for a year that a presidential search was occurring and that a transition to new leadership would be occurring during the summer of 2018 so why blame that fact for a bad decision? Why delay this decision and not other decisions?

Just to be consistent, for only two of the last 36 years, staff have not been allowed to work the alternate summer schedules—again with approval of their supervisors. So, to be consistent, staff should be allowed to decide (in consultation and approval of their supervisors).

Several staff have posted their comments on the university email system regarding this decision:

This decision has increased the lack of morale on campus. Proof again the decisions made at the top who cares how it affects the employees below. This is another beat down and if they have run out of hammers maybe facilities will borrow them some so they can continue to keep us down.

I am very disappointed that our administration once again has ignored the recommendations of our community and has shown us all that we are not valued as employees or people.

This is the second time this month that I have felt like the people who provide the critical foundation for this campus to operate have been disrespected.

Yet another slap in the face by this administration.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. None of the administration has come to the defense of this policy. Perhaps because there is no defense and perhaps that is why the top Huskies have not taken individual responsibility. The top ‘dogs’ must not feel they are unleashed to do amazing things and they collectively blame a process and a new person for their actions, which is consistent with their past efforts to avoid being held accountable.

Clearly, morale has been low at SCSU. It you are not certain, just look at the results of the Great Place to Work Survey. Moral has just gotten even lower for those people that are the first ones to greet visitors to the campus. Makes sense to me.

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