According to the St. Cloud Times’ editorial board, the legislature’s responsibility is to keep students warm, safe and dry. According the Editorial Board, Devinder Malhotra, the newly-named chancellor of the Minnesota State system, told their editorial board that “Asset preservation is our top priority. We need to give our students a quality educational experience. … We also need to keep them warm, safe and dry.”

With St. Cloud State’s on-campus enrollment shrinking annually and with the University running multi-million dollar annual deficits, you’d think that getting St. Cloud State’s financial and enrollment situations turned around would be high on Malhotra’s list. Despite the fact that Dr. Malhotra once was St. Cloud State’s provost, turning around the University isn’t part of his focus.

Then again, straightening out the University hasn’t been a priority for MnSCU in years. They ignored the mismanagement of the University’s finances. They didn’t intervene when the University’s enrollment problems became chronic. They didn’t bother to inquire as to why St. Cloud State sent $1,000,000+ checks to the Wedum Foundation each year.

To be fair, though, MnSCU wasn’t the only institution that failed the University. The St. Cloud Times did little more than publish St. Cloud State’s press releases. Investigative journalism was left to LFR and, occasionally, to MPR.

The St. Cloud business community were enablers for St. Cloud State, too. As long as President Potter stayed engaged in the community, the business community turned a blind eye towards St. Cloud State. Other institutions that let SCSU down were the IFO and the Faculty Association.

The problem within the Faculty Association is that too many of them want to be administrators. That’s caused some in FA leadership to turn a blind eye towards the University’s health in the hopes of getting that last high-paying job of their professional career.

The IFO, the union representing the professors at MnSCU’s 4-year universities, has done little in terms of putting pressure on the legislature. As a direct result of the IFO’s inaction, dozens of faculty have either gotten laid off or have accepted early retirement packages.

What’s stunning is that Chancellor Malhotra hasn’t offered a plan to turn St. Cloud State around. He hasn’t even insisted that St. Cloud State’s next president have a specific plan to turn St. Cloud State around. I know this because the ‘finalists’ for the job don’t have much of an understanding of the University’s difficulties. For that matter, the University doesn’t even have a CFO who can tell the next president just how awful of shape the University is in.

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2 Responses to “Defining the legislature’s job”

  • Rexnewman says:

    MnScu needs to right-size, yes, CLOSING several campuses. I’d keep SCSU but jettison the useless degree programs.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rex, I agree but that’s just the starting point. We must clean up the spending decisions. Some of the things that they’ve spent money on are totally indefensible. It’s like they don’t care that it’s someone else’s money. A very wise man once told me that spending Other People’s Money, aka OPM, is addicting if you don’t pay attention. It’s as addicting as opium.

    If the legislature mandated that Minnesota State’s universities got rid of their victimology degrees (pretty much defined as any degree that ends with the word studies), I’d be a happy camper.

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