The chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system says a state agency has agreed to mediate faculty unions' dispute with MnSCU leaders over how to carry out an overhaul of the system.
Steven Rosenstone says he has invited union leaders to join him in talks with the state Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution.
"We clearly have some disagreements," he said, "and we're clearly not making the progress I'd like to see in reaching a shared understanding of how to move forward."
Rosenstone says no timetable has been worked out yet with Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution.
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But he says he wants to start as soon as possible.
State faculty union presidents Jim Grabowska and Kevin Lindstrom declined to comment.
In a joint written statement, they said:
"When MSCF & IFO entered conversation with the Bureau of Mediation Services, we committed to the confidentiality of the process. We are honoring that commitment."
MnSCU's communication chief, Kim Olson, forwarded a message she said two leading trustees sent to the faculty union presidents Jim Grabowska and Kevin Lindstrom:
Jim and Kevin:
Chancellor Rosenstone has let us know of his intention to request the services of the state’s Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution (OCDR).
As Board Chair and Vice Chair, we are supportive of the Chancellor’s efforts to bring in this neutral third party. It is our hope that you will enter into the process in good faith and work to resolve any issues. We further hope that we can shift from debating issues around process and move to the substantive work around recommendations that will improve the viability of our institutions and outcomes for the students we serve.
We value our faculty and recognize that you are the heart and soul of our colleges and universities. We hope you will join us in committing to working with the OCDR.
Tom Renier, Chair
Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Vice Chair
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees
Last month, faculty unions pulled out of Chancellor Steven Rosenstone's plan to revamp how colleges and universities do business.
And faculty union leaders at five universities have passed no-confidence votes in Rosenstone, saying he's not giving them enough say in the overhaul process.