The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 29, 2009

GAC leadership in crisis

President shrugs off complaints

ST PETER — Gustavus Adolphus College is nothing if not a family. Its members are tightly knit. They come together in times of crisis.

These days, however, the family — led now by a new president — is experiencing a bit of dysfunction.

During the last few months, the provost, after learning the president had made changes to her job description, resigned and returned to teaching.

The two academic deans — whom the Faculty Senate had recommended to the president be considered to replace the outgoing provost — withdrew and resigned as deans, citing a lack of communication and support from the president.

The Faculty Senate, after the provost announced her resignation, voted to ask the college’s board of regents to review the president’s performance and to form its own committee to do the same.

And the Student Senate has passed two resolutions calling on the board to review the president’s performance.

Gustavus President Jack Ohle, meanwhile, maintains the problems raised by individuals are being addressed and the campus community should focus on the positive things going on at Gustavus.

Provost, deans out

Since announcing her resignation in March, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary E. Morton has not spoken publicly about her decision. Much has been said by others about that move, though.

Bringing Morton to Gustavus was the product of several years of planning and work by many on campus.

“Mary Morton gave up a lot to come here,” said Leila Bremmer, chair of the Faculty Senate.

When the new provost model was adopted, the provost was to be “first among equals” among vice presidents, so when the president was away, the provost would be in charge.

Bremmer said the model was built the way it was so there would be no question about Gustavus’ top priority.

“It was about putting academics solidly at the heart of the institution,” she said.

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