U admins breach policy in decision to restructure Grad School

Editors Note: This is the first in a four-part series examining the decision to restructure the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School. Tuesday’s installment will look at the administration’s response to criticism.

A University of Minnesota document shows that administrators broke University policy in their hasty decision to restructure the Graduate School. While the widely criticized decision to restructure the Graduate School remains firm, the guidelines for how it will be done are wavering and the administration is expressing âÄúregretâÄù over how the restructuring was communicated to the public. Although University President Bob Bruininks said in a March 1 e-mail to faculty and staff that he stands by the decision, a document indicates University policy was broken during the early stages of the process. The UniversityâÄôs Policy on Reorganization, approved by the University Senate and administration in 1999, states that if a University president âÄúcontemplates âĦ a major reorganization of the central administration, he or she shall present a proposal to the Senate Consultative Committee (or separately to the Faculty Consultative Committee and Student Senate Consultative Committee) for information and discussion.âÄù University spokesman Daniel Wolter declined comment because he said he does not have enough information at this time, but he acknowledged that the Graduate School is considered a part of the âÄúcentral administration.âÄù Wolter originally was not aware of that aspect of the policy, but when specifically asked about it, he said the possibility of a policy breach was a âÄúgood point.âÄù However, he also said the document could be construed in different ways. The SCC is made up in part of members from the FCC and SSCC and serves as the consulting body to the president and as the executive committee of the University Senate. While the SCC doesnâÄôt need to approve policy decisions, according to the document, they are supposed to be informed, and there is no indication that the reconstruction was brought up to the committee prior to the decision being announced. The SCC represents University faculty, academic professionals, civil service staff and students at large and not the individual campuses, institutes, colleges, schools or departments of the University. Council of Graduate Students President Geoff Hart said he is angry that the administration broke a policy that says in âÄúblack and whiteâÄù that the president has to consult prior to making major decisions. âÄúThis policy was enacted to help the president make informed decisions based on evidence and discussion of a broad audience, not just a few select biased few in the administration,âÄù Hart said.