For over 5 years, Examiner has highlighted how unaccountable MnSCU has been to taxpayers. This afternoon, taxpayers get another bit of proof that MnSCU and its universities really aren’t interested in accountability. This afternoon, President Earl Potter III issued a statement confirming that he will continue as St. Cloud State’s president through 2019.
In President Potter’s letter, he wrote “I am deeply humbled that Chancellor Rosenstone has offered me a three-year contract to continue this work. I have accepted and signed his letter of appointment.” A Minnesota Data Practices Act request was sent to MnSCU asking for the documents used by the MnSCU Board of Trustees in evaluating Chancellor Rosenstone and the documents used by Chancellor Rosenstone in evaluating university and college presidents.
When Kristine Kaplan, MnSCU’s System Data Practices Compliance Official, responded to the information request, she said “In response to your request, I have made inquiries and have been informed that there are no generic “forms” used for either the chancellor’s or presidents’ performance evaluations. Thus, I do not have public data that is responsive to your request.”
It’s worth noting that the information request was for the forms that were used. It wasn’t a request to see the for used by the Trustees in evaluating Chancellor Rosenstone or the form Chancellor Rosenstone used in evaluating his presidents. Based on this information, it isn’t a stretch to think that MnSCU’s Board of Trustees evaluation of Chancellor Rosenstone was subjective, not objective. Similarly, it isn’t a stretch to think that Chancellor Rosenstone’s evaluation of President Potter was subjective, not objective.
Further, we don’t know what criteria were used in evaluating Chancellor Rosenstone or President Potter. Without that criteria, it’s impossible to confirm whether President Potter (or any other university president) had earned a contract extension. Without that form, the public can only go by what they see. At St. Cloud State, what they’ve seen are years of declining enrollment, layoffs and several years of multi-million dollar deficits.
The question facing taxpayers this election is whether they should elect legislators who won’t commit to reforming MnSCU or commit to holding the Board of Trustees accountable. If MnSCU won’t voluntarily put together a performance evaluation form that the public and legislators can review, then the next legislator should require it of them through reform legislation.
St. Cloud State has an annual budget of over $200,000,000. Aggressive oversight is required to prevent the taxpayers from getting hurt by unaccountable government employees. A system that won’t hold itself to high standards is a system that’s a potential disaster for taxpayers.
Simply put, MnSCU’s habit of not requiring accountability can’t be tolerated.