Gustavus faculty, students say the school’s president should resign

by Tyler Gieseke

Both faculty and students at Gustavus Adolphus College have publicly stated their hope that Jack Ohle will resign from his post as the school’s president, citing a management style that doesn’t complement the college’s values.

The unrest began in 2009 when Provost Mary Morton said she had experienced reduced duties under Ohle’s management and resigned, according to the Star Tribune.

More recently, a letter asking Ohle to step down at the end of the academic year and allegedly written by faculty surfaced on a student-run site called GustieLeaks, according to the St. Peter Herald. John Cha, chair of the Faculty Senate, confirmed that the Faculty Senate sent a letter to Ohle asking him to resign.

Students have also written letters and signed petitions, Gustavus senior Eric Halvorson told the Herald. But they aren’t personal attacks on the president, he said.

“They are an affirmation of Gustavus’ values of excellence, justice, service, faith and community,” Halvorson told the Herald. “We outlined how his leadership has undermined these core values of Gustavus.” 

An August 2012 Statement of Concern published by the Faculty Senate said Ohle kept budget information from the faculty, the Herald said. 

Faculty survey results posted on GustieLeaks say Ohle’s “top-down leadership style drips with contempt and arrogance,” according to the Tribune. Faculty also doubted the wisdom of the administration’s decisions to spend money on new buildings and public relations while cutting department funding.

Mark Bernhardson, chairman of the board of trustees, said in a statement that the board is reviewing the concerns of faculty and students, pointing out that donations to the college have increased under Ohle, the Tribune said. 

“Institutions of higher education are in an ever more rapidly changing environment and such changes have caused concerns with those accustomed to its more traditional structures,” he said in the statement.