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
Eric Halvorson started this petition with a single signature, and now has 248 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.