The Gustavian Weekly

Letter to the Editor

By Nick Prince | February 15, 2013 | Letters to the Editor

Chair Bernhardson and the Board of Trustees,

Your recent, dismissive letter to Gustavus Alumni focused solely on the fundraising achievements of the past few years. Even in the one area he hasn’t completely failed at, President Ohle has been a lackluster fundraiser. Without him, I believe our outstanding Vice President for Institutional Advancement would have had similar results. Further, I believe that the Becks showed their extreme generosity because of what Gustavus, not President Ohle, meant to them. And perhaps with a different President, Campaign Gustavus could have gone public with at least one-half of its fundraising goal met, the metric for success in large fundraising campaigns, and without stretching the definition of what had been “donated.”

But I would like to focus on people, not numbers. It’s not just faculty members who have told me they would be leaving if President Ohle’s contract is renewed. Working within President Ohle’s administration is reputedly more intimidating than being a faculty member, where tenure doesn’t protect someone from speaking publically against the President or his mismanagement style. The faculty say that there will be an exodus if Ohle’s contract is renewed. Members of the administration could never publicize that displeasure. This crisis is not just about faculty, but the whole Gustavus community.

Some of the administration were unable to stand even four years with President Ohle. Hank Toutain left after nineteen years as Dean of Students. Chaplain Brian Johnson, after  speaking out against him, left because of the President’s disrespect. Eric Eliason and Mariangela Maguire resigned  from their positions as Academic Deans shortly after Mary Morton, citing President Ohle as the sole reason.

Meanwhile the Chaplain’s office has been struggling under interim Senior Chaplain Rod Anderson. Even the few members of the faculty who were otherwise neutral about President Ohle were upset when he created a new Senior Chaplain position and filled it with the man who led the search committee that appointed President Ohle. Most see an unsettling level of cronyism. And in another bow to cronyism, President Ohle replaced Chad Fothergil unexpectedly and unilaterally with the spouse of another recent Ohle hire, proving that in President Ohle’s administration loyalty to Jack and loyalty to Gustavus mean two very different things.

These are just a few of the Gustavus community spurned by President Ohle. I do not know if these were mistakes of ignorance by a leader who has little respect for those beneath him or a conscious effort to use people towards some corrupt goal. In either case, he is not a business leader, he is a bad leader who is opposed to our core values. I demand that President Ohle be removed before the end of the academic year.

 

Nick Prince, ‘12