Former deans file whistleblower lawsuits against Globe University

Globe University
Globe University is a Minnesota-based for-profit career college with campuses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota.
MPR Photo/Tim Post

Two former deans have filed whistleblower lawsuits against the Woodbury-based Minnesota School of Business - Globe University.

Heidi Weber and Jeanne St. Claire said they were fired for complaining about misleading practices at the for-profit college.

Weber of Prescott, Wis., was dean of the medical assistant program in February 2010. In the lawsuit, she alleges the school violated multiple accreditation standards and hushed it up.

Weber alleges that the school: paid commissions to recruiters; failed to tell students that problems such as felonies could hurt their job prospects; and failed to provide enough training opportunities for students.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

Weber also says in the lawsuit that major employer Allina Health Systems stopped taking Globe students because of declining accreditation standards. The suit claims Globe University never told students what was happening.

Weber said she took her complaints to both the owner and top executives, including Provost David Metzen, the former director of the state's Office of Higher Education.

Weber said executives were indifferent to her complaints.

"It wasn't a surprise, basically," Weber said. "Maybe that's a good way to describe it: Like they were not surprised at all by what I was saying."

Weber says Metzen fired her April 29, 2011.

St. Claire, a resident of St. Paul, was dean of business in May 2009. In her her lawsuit, she says she complained that Globe exaggerated its job-placement record and inflated its graduation rates.

She says when she complained, Globe officials told her to mind her own business. St. Claire was fired last October.

Attorney Clayton Halunen represents Weber and St. Claire, who are suing for lost compensation and damages totaling about half-a-million dollars each.

"It's a big fraud. We believe that this type of thing should not be occurring and that the school should be honest," Halunen said.

Metzen declined to comment. A Globe University spokesman said the company would not discuss the lawsuits before it received the filed paperwork.