Second-guessing eroded Globe U’s trust in dean, exec says

How good a worker was she? (MPR Photo / Alex Friedrich)

Globe University – Minnesota School of Business whistleblower Heidi Weber lost the trust of her colleagues with “whiny” emails that seemed to second guess the school’s strategy, a school executive testified today.

But Lolita Keck, Weber’s former supervisor, provided no evidence to support company officials’ claims that specific performance problems would have led to Weber’s firing.

Keck’s testimony in Weber’s ongoing whistleblower trial, together with emails laid out by Globe attorneys, showed Globe executives were upset that Weber had continued to fight the school’s decision to switch accrediting agencies in 2010.

Weber has said the new accreditor was less rigorous that the one it had been using, and that the switch would harm the education and job prospects of students.

Keck told the jury she counseled Weber not to become overly critical when discussing problems in writing, because “negativity comes through” in emails.

The emails called Weber’s comments “second-guessing,” and that it made it look as if the company wasn’t unified.

Keck said some of Weber’s messages could be “whiny,” and said, “It’s going back to criticizing what we’re doing. It tends to undermine faith … about change.”

Weber, former dean of the medical assistant program, filed a whistleblower lawsuit last year complaining about misleading practices at the for-profit college, alleging the school violated laws and accreditation standards and hushed it up.

Emails from Globe officials to each other suggest they thought Weber shot from the hip when she perceived a problem within the company. An email by chief operating officer Jeanne Herrmann to another Globe official said Weber had a tendency to send “wide emails before checking the facts.”

Keck told jurors she became aware that “people weren’t trusting (Weber) anymore. When she gave her expert opinion … people would check with someone else before they’d follow through.”

Keck suggested Weber was on the “lower end “ of the grading scale on one assessment, though Weber’s grade indicated she was still performing her duties. Weber received a 3.13 on a 5-point scale.

Under cross examination, Keck appeared to indicate she had no evidence to support company officials’ claims that Weber suffered from several performance deficiencies.

Herrmann is expected to testify later today.