Just got off the phone with Semya Hakim, faculty and staff coordinator the St. Cloud State University Color Caucus.
She said Provost Devinder Malhotra is supposed to answer questions tonight regarding the recent firing of Mahmoud Saffari, the university’s associate VP for enrollment management.
For several weeks, the caucus has been protesting the conditions under which he was dismissed. It claims he was fired because he was a minority who was rocking the boat — asking too many critical questions about the university’s recent reorganization.
I’ve asked Hakim for details on what Saffari had said that supposedly riled up the administration, as well as any history of run-ins that he may have had with the leadership, and what he accomplished in office.
We’ll see what I get.
Also, she said the caucus will protest when MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and Gov. Mark Dayton visit St. Cloud State Oct. 27 for the noon groundbreaking of its $45 million science teaching-and-research facility.
She said she’ll try to hand-deliver a letter of grievances to both Dayton and Rosenstone.
(Update: A campus spokesman said he didn’t think Rosenstone was attending.)
Here’s the press release on tonight’s meeting. I’m hoping to find out what the provost says:
At the Student Government Association Meeting on October 20, 2011, Provost Devinder Malhotra will respond to questions regarding the recent dismissal of Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, Dr. Mahmoud Saffari.
For 29 days, students, staff, faculty, and community members have been protesting Dr. Saffari’s termination, citing the positive impact he has had on SCSU’s camps for eight years.
Also, there are questions as to why he was treated in an inhumane way; fired without warning, escorted off of the campus, and all resources terminated.While this may be commonplace in the private sector, we do not accept this at our university.
We feel that Dr. Saffari has been targeted for posing constructive questions around recent reorganization and marketing plans and fired unjustifiably. The faculty & staff of color caucus, in alliance with 20 student organizations, and the Faculty Association, asks Dr. Potter to reconsider his decision. In doing so, we also ask that the University examine the intensification of a racially hostile climate and the targeting of the remaining staff of color within the Admissions Office.
Finally, we ask that Dr. Malhotra address questions in an honest manner and not hide behind “data privacy” laws that do not play a role in the main question; When will Dr. Mahmoud be back in his job?
Student Government Association meetings are open to all. Please join students on Thursday, October 20, at 5:00 p.m. in the Cascade Room of Atwood Memorial Center at St. Cloud State University.