MnSCU leaders and faculty unions end standoff, agree to ‘move forward cooperatively and collaboratively’

A five-month fight over a plan to modernize the 54-campus Minnesota State Colleges and University system appears to be over, with an agreement between MnSCU leaders and faculty unions.

The unions had refused to cooperate in a plan by Chancellor Steven Rosenstone called Charting the Future, which would streamline operations in the system that includes 31 state colleges and universities (but not including the University of Minnesota system.)

The unions have wanted less central control over the system, and were unhappy that $2 million payment was paid to a management consulting firm to help craft the chancellor’s plan. 

Tuesday’s agreement would give more input to faculty and students in developing the new plan, as the two sides “have agreed to move forward cooperatively and collaboratively.”

Both sides seemed to be satisfied: Monte Bute, a sociology professor at Metropolitan State University, told the Star Tribune it was a union victory:

“This is what we fought for for 17 months,” he said. “It literally is taking Charting the Future out from under Rosenstone and out of the central office.”

And MnSCU spokeswoman Kim Olson told MPR that said many questions — such as who will exercise final say over the reforms — remain unanswered.

“We’re just thrilled that we’re all back together,” she said. “We’ve agreed to move forward cooperatively, and collaboratively, and we’re all very optimistic about that.”

Gov. Mark Dayton had threatened in January to withhold funding increases to MnSCU while the intramural battle raged. But last week he signaled an end to the dispute when his revised budget had extra funding. 

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