MCTC faculty stalls vote on boss

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2012 - 10:35 PM

Minneapolis Community and Technical College staff brought their list of concerns about President Phil Davis to MnSCU.

Faculty at Minneapolis Community and Technical College had readied themselves to vote up or down on a call to state "no confidence" in the public college's president.

In the end, they went sideways.

At a meeting Wednesday afternoon, a majority of faculty members present agreed to table the vote against President Phil Davis. Union leaders said that they had met earlier that day with Steven Rosenstone, the new chancellor of the broader Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. They said he had offered an outside audit of the college to address faculty concerns.

In a memo to faculty, the union's executive board said the call for a vote of no-confidence was not about personalities or a single recent event but "the culmination of five years of entrenched dysfunction."

They argued that Davis regularly disregards the faculty employment contract -- attempting to unilaterally increase class sizes, for example -- stifles free speech with a policy that prohibits talking to the media, and intimidates faculty of color by validating and even soliciting student complaints.

"The management style of President Davis and his administration is a top-down, corporate style," the memo says, "often using false or non-existent data, showing little academic planning or critical thinking about long-term academic or institutional ramifications."

A call to Davis' office was directed to MnSCU spokeswoman Melinda Voss, who declined to comment on specific allegations. She said by e-mail that Davis and union leaders "are working together to address the issues raised. That is the proper forum for direct and meaningful dialogue on mutual concerns, not through the media."

The percentage of "unlimited" full-time faculty of color at the college has nearly doubled from 2006 to 2012, according to a MnSCU fact sheet, rising from 11 percent to 21 percent. Over the past three years, the public system says, 37 percent of MCTC hires were people of color.

Davis was appointed president in 1998, after holding several executive positions at the Minneapolis college. He began his professional career as a police officer in White Bear Lake.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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