U’s nepotism violates trust

Dean Delaney’s hiring practices are a symptom of an unhealthy culture.


Earlier this month, Connie Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota’s nursing school, was formally reprimanded for questionable hiring practices. According to a Star Tribune report, Delaney used nepotism and favoritism when exercising her hiring authority. Now, that hiring authority has been revoked until June of 2013.

This news comes on the heels of increased public scrutiny of the University administration concerning “golden parachutes” given out to top administrators under former President Bob Bruininks and to athletics director Joel Maturi under current President Eric Kaler, as well as recent revelations of similar hiring practices at the University’s School of Dentistry.

As Kaler pushes to repair the University’s increasingly tarnished image, such practices cannot go unnoticed. Delaney’s attitude about the reprimand is evidence enough that such practices were commonplace and even acceptable for quite some time.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Delaney brushed off the reprimand while promoting her strong leadership at the nursing school. With a staff turnover of 100 out of 150 over the past six years, Delaney’s leadership claim appears quite dubious. Many of her own hires have been found double-dipping between employers while others have racked up enormous expense accounts through outside contracting. The Kaler administration must act now to salvage the University’s once-positive image in the public sphere.

As students, citizens and legislators alike wrestle with increased funding and tuition costs, Minnesota’s flagship university must clean up its own backyard and stop spending the public’s dime and trust in such an irresponsible fashion.