Statement on St. Cloud State Retrenchment

The St. Cloud State University administration announced their decision to lay-off 8 tenured faculty members: 4 librarians, 3 philosophers, and a theater professor. St. Cloud State administration hastily decided to move forward with the process for lay-offs, known as retrenchment. We believe the St. Cloud State administration violated the IFO contract in their rush to retrench tenured faculty. The St. Cloud State administration’s actions even failed to meet the MinnState system office guidelines. Thus far, the data provided by the administration is incomplete and does not meet the standard to justify retrenchment in these three programs.

Laying off faculty impacts student opportunities and diminishes the quality of the student experience. At a time when employers are desperately seeking employees who have solid critical thinking skills, research capabilities, and “soft” skills, St. Cloud State administrators have decided to cut programs that greatly contribute to a student’s development in these areas.

The St. Cloud State Faculty Association and IFO are working together to do everything in our power to protect and support the 8 affected faculty members and the rest of the St. Cloud State faculty. In the coming days, the IFO intends to file a grievance challenging the administration’s contract violations throughout this process.

The St. Cloud State administration has disrespected the long-standing tradition of shared governance that is a pillar of American higher education. They have pushed forward without seeking the vital input of the impacted workforce. Protecting tenure and academic freedom of faculty is at the core of our contract and the work we do. Our campuses are facing hard times. But it is precisely in these times that faculty should be a central part of the decision-making processes. Faculty must have access to information that makes shared governance meaningful. And it is precisely in these difficult financial times that faculty must take the lead in helping to define the academy’s future.