MnSCU board calls for overhaul mediation

The chairman of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system board made a renewed call for state mediation between faculty unions and MnSCU leaders in their dispute over how to revamp the system.

At the board's regular monthly meeting, chairman Tom Renier told a packed boardroom that trustees still support Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and his overhaul plan, called "Charting the Future."

But he said he would like a third-party mediator to meet with Rosenstone and the unions that represent faculty at universities and two-year colleges. He said he'd like the mediation talks to include student representatives and other employee unions as well.

"I am going to work with all concerned parties to facilitate collaborative problem-solving to improve the Charting the Future process," he said.

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Renier did not say whether faculty had already been notified of his request.

The call comes after both faculty unions rejected Rosenstone's offer of state mediation earlier this month, saying he'd not given them enough time to discuss his offer before announcing it publicly.

The unions, as well as some student leaders, say Rosenstone has not given them enough of a say in the overhaul, and that system leaders have ignored their suggestions.

After Renier's statement, Rosenstone said he could have handled some things better -- but said the two-year-old  reform process must continue.

Although some faculty have called for a scrapping or resetting of the process, Rosenstone said, "I don't think we have the luxury to put off solutions for a couple more years."

Faculty at all seven universities have passed votes of "no confidence" in Rosenstone's leadership, and two student groups have made similar announcements.

"It's hard" not to take such criticism personally, Rosenstone said. "It's been hard for my family."

Faculty union leaders declined to comment on Renier's statement or whether they would enter mediation.