Why some Gusties are upset over President Jack Ohle

Not pretty

Some students and alumni are pushing for the ouster of Gustavus Adolphus College President Jack Ohle.

An online student petition by Ian Shay has gained 191 supporters. The alumni version, by Eric Halvorson of West Fargo, has 198.

The alumni version says Ohle has made bad financial decisions, engaged in “unilateral” decision-making, driven down faculty morale and shown disrespect toward those who don’t agree with him.

The student version sums it up like this:

For over four years, he has ignored other voices who called for change. It has become clear he will neither change his leadership style, nor will he listen in a meaningful way to the concerns of this community. We have grown impatient and angry as his transgressions have continued unchecked. His leadership has undermined the pillars on which this community stands.

The Gustavian Weekly had this to report on faculty unrest.

 

A site called GustieLeaks has a list of links and primary documents, and its Facebook page is here.

 

Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Bernhardson issued this official statement through the college’s media relations department:

 

The Faculty Senate and a group of students at Gustavus Adolphus College have contacted College President Jack Ohle and the Board of Trustees with concerns about the College’s leadership and governance. The Board is reviewing closely the concerns of those students and faculty and will respond appropriately. In fact, the Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson spoke with the faculty at their monthly meeting in December and President Ohle has responded personally to the Faculty Senate and to many of the students directly.

By its very nature, a college campus is a diverse mix of individuals and opinions and Gustavus is no exception. Institutions of higher education are in an ever more rapidly changing environment and such changes have caused concerns with those accustomed to its more traditional structures. It is a natural process to openly engage in civil discourse about divergent opinions in the way in which an institution of higher education is governed. The Board of Trustees in the governance model that it developed over the past few years has been expanding the input from faculty and students to make sure the appropriate conversations and discussions are held so that the institution can continue to move forward in a positive fashion.

Over the past four years, Gustavus has realized an increase in student enrollment as well as a significant increase in both the number of applications and the academic quality of incoming classes. In addition, there has been a substantial increase in giving to the College including $4.5 million given to the 2011-12 Annual Fund by 9,925 donors and the kick-off of a $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign of which over $100 million has already been raised. The college recently celebrated its Sesquicentennial, culminating with the Royal Visit of Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

The President and the Board of Trustees are committed to continuing the College’s strategic progress, while at the same time welcoming the opportunity for all voices to be heard to make the Gustavus community even stronger than it is today.