End the presidency of Jack Ohle by the conclusion of this academic year.
  • Petitioned The Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College

This petition was delivered to:

The Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College

End the presidency of Jack Ohle by the conclusion of this academic year.

    1. Eric Halvorson
    2. Petition by

      Eric Halvorson

      West Fargo, ND

We, as alumni [current student petition linked below] of Gustavus Adolphus College, have been challenged and changed by the college community. Our Gustavus degrees are taking us far, as professionals and as human beings, and we have a continuing stake in the institution that granted them. Because of our love for this community, we are deeply pained by the damage done to it by President Jack Ohle. For over four years, he has demonstrated that his priorities do not lay with the academic program or student experience of the college. It has become clear he will neither change his leadership style, nor will he listen in a meaningful way to concerns of this community. We have grown impatient and frustrated as his transgressions have continued unchecked.

Unless otherwise noted, references in parentheses can be found at www.gustieleaks.com

1. Harmful budget choices
He has undermined trust and transparency in the budgeting process by: failing to attend key budget meetings during the 2012 budgeting process, (as explained by Physics Professor Chuck Niederriter at the December 14, 2012 Faculty meeting), and withholding budget information, using divisive rhetoric, and “blindsiding key players” (“Faculty Statement of Concern 2012”). His budget allocations (i.e cutting department funds while investing in landscaping) demonstrate a priority on external image over internal values.

2. Unilateral decision making
He has eroded a long tradition of shared governance by making unilateral decisions, including the following: cancelling the search process for the Bernhardson Distinguished Endowed Chair of Lutheran Studies, in direct violation of the Faculty Manual (“A Finding of the Gustavus Faculty Senate”); replacing full-time faculty cantor and organ instructor, Chad Fothergill, with a unilaterally appointed, part-time, non-faculty cantor (“A Public Statement Concerning the Christ Chapel Cantorate”; reallocating half of the senior art studio space to the Sesquicentennial Sculptor against the will of the Art and Art History department, resulting in a closet as workspace for senior projects (Faculty Statement of Concern 2012).

3. Effect on faculty morale
In his first year as president, evidence suggests he drove away the provost, two academic deans, and the long-term Vice-President of Student Life (“What’s Happening At Gustavus”). 40% of respondents to a recent faculty survey say they will consider finding other work if the President stays. He reduces the focus and morale of our educators, who feel “drained,” “depressed,” “heartbroken,” “overworked,” and “embarrass[ed]” for Gustavus (“Faculty Survey Executive Summary”).

4. Disrespect for other voices
During his presidency, faculty have been threatened with legal action for investigating and speaking out concerning Ohle. (“Suit of Armor”). Under his administration, concerned students have been regularly belittled, while their concerns go unanswered. He has demonstrated, over five years, his inability and/or unwillingness to amend his modes of decision-making and communication. Finally, he has ignored requests by faculty, students, and alumni to resign.

Therefore, we call for an end to the Presidency of Jack Ohle by the conclusion of this academic year, either by resignation, or action of the Board of Trustees.

Current Student Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/board-of-trustees-of-gustavus-adolphus-college-end-the-presidency-of-jack-ohle-by-the-end-of-this-academic-year?utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_after_sign

Recent signatures



      Eric Halvorson
      Petition Organizer

      After a meeting Junior Kelly Dumais and I had with Ohle, it is not even clear that the board read the full text of the alumni and student petitions. Now, they have sent an email to alumni which basically dismisses the voices of dissenters who are hurt by President Ohle's leadership. We have to WRITE LETTERS, SPEAK OUT, and TALK TO FRIENDS. Here is a facebook event with more details: http://www.facebook.com/events/537154879658134/

      GAC Alumni Response to Board of Trustees | Facebook

      Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, post links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

    2. Reached 200 signatures
    3. The Board Ignores Ohle Crisis

      Eric Halvorson
      Petition Organizer

      The Board will take no action at this time concerning the damaging leadership of President Ohle.

      Keep an eye out for news articles and consider sending a letter to the editor of your news outlet of choice.

      Also, take 5 seconds to take this poll:

    4. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Denise Martin PHILADELPHIA, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      I am deeply disturbed by the direction Gustavus has taken under Ohle's leadership. My husband and I have chosen to withhold our annual donation to Gustavus until Ohle is replaced by someone who genuinely cares about our alma mater.

    • J. Patrick Hart PISGAH, IA
      • over 1 year ago

      There is little more that I can say than already has been said in the posts to this petition except, that I stand on the side of faculty, studnets and alumni that call for the termination of President Ohle. GAC Class of '63

    • Lisa Heldke ST. PETER, MN
      • over 1 year ago

      The college is unable to function under the current situation.

    • Mara Edison BISMARCK, ND
      • over 1 year ago

      As a GAC alumna, I would like to encourage an environment that encourages academic excellence above everything else. I do not feel that is being accomplished under the current leadership and hope that the voices of students, faculty, and alumni will be heard.

    • Emalise Ellingson POWDER SPRINGS, GA
      • over 1 year ago

      I think it is very clear that Jack Ohle is not the right person for the role of President at Gustavus Adolphus College. I can certainly see justification in sighting the changing world of liberal arts education as a reason for needing a specific kind of leadership, but I feel very strongly about Gustavus (as an institution, a place of opportunity, and a home which I care for deeply) and frankly, the current state and direction of the college and the surrounding community is detrimental to Gustavus reputation and values. I hope that the true reasons motivating Ohle's actions and his supporters will be evaluated objectively and with the same level of honesty and comprehension those of us participating in this petition represent.


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