Bemidji State (bemidjistate via Vine)

Bemidji State University student leaders say they have passed a vote of “no confidence” in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system Chancellor Steven Rosenstone.

The vote, which passed unanimously with one abstention, came the same day that Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Renier renewed a call for mediation between Rosenstone, faculty unions and even students in their dispute over his plan to overhaul the system.

The vote is the second publicized no-confidence vote by MnSCU university students. Metropolitan State University students passed such a vote earlier this month. Winona State students have issued a list of concerns.

The student announcement stated:

The Bill of Particulars echoes many of the same sentiments of those passed by other student associations as well as faculty senates.  These concerns include lack of transparency, misappropriation of MnSCU funds, lack of professionalism, and inadequate representation of MnSCU in the state legislature.  These are very serious concerns, and the members of the BSUSA Student Senate hope that there will be movement toward resolution soon.

The BSU Student Senate realizes the importance of the student voice and will continue to participate in the Charting the Future implementation in hopes of finding the best way to serve the students of the MnSCU system.

The list is below.

MnSCU spokesman Doug Anderson replied in an email, “Given the testimony of multiple student leaders at yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, we are surprised by this vote.”

The chairman of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system board made a renewed call for state mediation between faculty unions and MnSCU leaders in their dispute over how to revamp the system.

At the board’s regular monthly meeting, chairman Tom Renier told a packed boardroom that trustees still support Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and his overhaul plan, called “Charting the Future.”

But he said he would like a third-party mediator to meet with Rosenstone and the unions that represent faculty at universities and two-year colleges. He said he’d like the mediation talks to include student representatives and other employee unions as well.

“I am going to work with all concerned parties to facilitate collaborative problem-solving to improve the Charting the Future process,” he said.

Renier did not say whether faculty had already been notified of his request.

The call comes after both faculty unions rejected Rosenstone’s offer of state mediation earlier this month, saying he’d not given them enough time to discuss his offer before announcing it publicly.

The unions, as well as some student leaders, say Rosenstone has not given them enough of a say in the overhaul, and that system leaders have ignored their suggestions.

After Renier’s statement, Rosenstone said he could have handled some things better — but said the two-year-old  reform process must continue.

Although some faculty have called for a scrapping or resetting of the process, Rosenstone said, “I don’t think we have the luxury to put off solutions for a couple more years.”

Faculty at all seven universities have passed votes of “no confidence” in Rosenstone’s leadership, and two student groups have made similar announcements.

“It’s hard” not to take such criticism personally, Rosenstone said. “It’s been hard for my family.”

Faculty union leaders declined to comment on Renier’s statement or whether they would enter mediation.


We’re unanimous (MPR Photo / Alex Friedrich)

Faculty at Metropolitan State University passed a vote of “no confidence” in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system Chancellor Steven Rosenstone Thursday — meaning all seven state universities have now formally questioned his leadership.

A written announcement from the association said the vote was unanimous, but with four abstentions.

Matt Filner, vice president of the association, said in the statement,  “The faculty has completely lost confidence in the ability of Chancellor Rosenstone to serve the students, faculty and staff of MNSCU. His neglect of students, lack of transparency, lack of respect for the bargaining process, and mismanagement of MNSCU is unacceptable.”

No-confidence votes have been passed by faculty at other university campuses over the past three weeks. Their statewide representative, the Inter Faculty Organization, last month decided to stop participating in the chancellor’s overhaul of the system. It was joined by the union for faculty at two-year colleges.

Students at Winona State University and Metropolitan State also questioned Rosenstone’s leadership earlier this month. Both they and the Inter Faculty Organization have issues a list of concerns they have with the chancellor.

Metro State professor Monte Bute, action coordinator for the organization, said his group sent trustees a list of complaints back in June.

“The Board of Trustees brushed aside those faculty concerns and gave the chancellor a glowing job review,” he wrote. “When trustees failed to take our concerns seriously, it precipitated this series of no-confidence votes on the seven campuses.”

System spokesman Doug Anderson again issued written statement given previously by Tom Renier, chairman of the Board of Trustees:

It continues to be disappointing that the faculty union is employing this tactic to stop the critical conversations that make up Charting the Future and the change needed to ensure that affordable and accessible higher education remains a reality for all Minnesotans. MnSCU will continue to seek broad input on the ideas produced by the faculty, staff, and students on the implementation teams and welcome the faculty back to the table any time they choose to return.