Two college presidents who have faced no-confidence votes from faculty unions were praised Wednesday by top officials of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, who expressed “unwavering support” for their leadership.
Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and Michael Vekich, chairman of the board of trustees, both came to the defense of the two presidents — Tim Wynes, who heads the Inver Hills and Dakota County community colleges, and Douglas Allen, president of Ridgewater College, which has campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson.
The show of support, at Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting in Minneapolis, followed Monday’s vote of no confidence against Wynes by members of the Inver Hills faculty union. Allen, who faced a similar no-confidence vote by members of his faculty last February, also has come under renewed attack by union members.
Rosenstone reaffirmed that he has “complete confidence” in both presidents, and he encouraged faculty members to work out their differences without public confrontations. At the same time, he said the system was willing to help jump-start those conversations.
Union leaders have blamed both college presidents for a frayed relationship with the faculty and have criticized some of their spending decisions.
Rosenstone noted that, aside from the faculty, no other campus union has joined in the criticism and that student leaders at Inver Hills have publicly rallied to support Wynes.
Vekich noted that college presidents “are called to make hard decisions” that aren’t always popular.
“We expect campus communities to come together in a professional manner to discuss differences of opinion and solve issues at the campus level,” he said. He added that he and the board “want to express our unwavering support for, and confidence in, our presidents.”
Also Wednesday, the board of trustees voted to raise Rosenstone’s pay to the maximum allowable at the system, $390,000. That represents less than a 1 percent increase.