Union review: MnSCU chancellor has hurt faculty morale

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 9, 2014 - 8:57 PM

In response, MnSCU board of trustees says it supports Steven Rosenstone “without reservation.”

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Steven Rosenstone

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The faculty union at Minnesota’s seven state universities has issued a harsh job review of the chancellor, Steven Rosenstone, blaming him for low morale among the 4,000 faculty members.

The Inter Faculty Organization — which is in the midst of yearlong contract talks — released a 10-point “Bill of Particulars” on Monday, criticizing Rosenstone for presiding over what it calls “the erosion of the missions of the state universities.”

Among other things, the union accuses the chancellor of failing to protect Moorhead State and Southwest State universities from “severe” cutbacks to academic programs, and of failing to respect the collective bargaining process.

Rosenstone, who has been chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system since October 2011, had no immediate comment.

But the board of trustees issued a statement Monday saying it supports Rosenstone “unanimously and without reservation.” The statement, signed by board chair Clarence Hightower, called Rosenstone “a visionary leader who cares passionately for our students and works tirelessly on their behalf.” It said the board “remains enthusiastic” about the direction under his leadership.

Union leaders, meanwhile, say they are considering a vote of “no confidence” in Rosenstone.

The union’s frustrations have been fueled, in part, by a lack of progress in contract talks, which began last year. The faculty contract expired in June 2013.

But the 10-point memo takes broad swipes at Rosenstone’s leadership of the MnSCU system, a network of seven state universities and 24 community or technical colleges, with more than 430,000 students.

“The faculty consistently report feeling disregarded and disrespected by his actions,” the union said in a June 6 memo to the board of trustees. “This must change. State university morale continues to decline because of decisions by the chancellor.”

The union’s criticisms include:

• Violating a “legislative mandate” to cover budget shortfalls by reducing administrative costs rather than programs affecting students.

• Failing to “address the challenges of cultural diversity.”

• Failing to include “sufficient” faculty input in the budget and planning process.

The full critique can be found on the union’s website, ifo.org.

 

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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