Thursday, December 05, 2002

Attack by Minneapolis Star Tribune

If you have not yet read it, this morning�s Minneapolis Star Tribune has published an unbelievably supercilious attack on St. Cloud State University. The following words appear:

�air hangs heavy with hate�
�ethnic enmity�
�intractability of institutional bias�
�wedded to ideas that went out of style with the Inquisition�
�grim climate�
�an anti-Semitic stronghold�
�school's hallways still resound with last year's sotte voce slurs�
�not-so-secret hatreds�
�supremacist fever�
�stench of bias�

Over the past dozen years, past administrators at SCSU have stood by and allowed our university to be characterized in the press as an enclave for drunkenness, sexism, homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. Previous Presidents have failed to confront unfounded allegations or to punish individuals responsible for their actions. Instead, they have largely practiced M.B.W.B. (Management by Wearing Buttons), proclaiming such platitudes as, �We�re all in this together.� By wringing their hands and crying, �Nostra culpa,� they have been able to use the concept of �collective guilt� to avoid having to undertake the difficult tasks of punishing guilty INDIVIDUALS, challenging false allegations, and standing up to news media members who find it all too facile to report one side (always the most sensational and least complex one) of every story.

Yes, I understand that if you took the job of President of SCSU, you would find it a thankless one. On the one hand you would have to stand up to the minions at MnSCU who continue to try to �dumb down� your university to the level occupied by Cass County Community College. And those folks in St. Paul are backed by an Attorney General�s office that is headed by an individual with higher political aspirations and a vested interest in settling every suit. At the same time you would have to deal with the micromanagers of the Faculty Senate who seem all too eager to second-guess your every move.

It makes you wonder why we need a President at St. Cloud State University. After all, given that Minnesota taxpayers and their legislators must look to cover a $4.5 billion shortfall over the next thirty months, why should they not look to cut an ever-burgeoning share of the MnSCU pie that is going to administrators?

�No,� is my answer. Now, more than ever, SCSU needs a strong leader willing to speak up and speak out for his campus and his constituents. Dealing with the press is a difficult job, but I hereby submit my �vote of confidence� in President Roy Saigo�s ability soon to answer forcefully and in detail this morning�s lazy, ill-informed, and spiteful journalistic effort by the Star Tribune.