RCTC associations send joint complaint concerning President McCl - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

RCTC associations send joint complaint concerning President McClellon to MnSCU


When Rochester Community and Technical College president Leslie McClellon first took the reins of the college 18 months ago, students and teachers were optimistic about her leadership.

"I actually was on the search committee for hiring her," said RCTC staff member Jennifer Erwin, a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4001. "I thought she was wonderful and was blown away with what she brought to the table."

That optimism has quickly turned to pessimism, as a complaint expressing "grave concern" about McClellon's tenure reached the office of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities on Monday.

"Problems are huge, communication is gone, and we're here banding together and supporting each other," said Erwin.

The letter was signed by the three associations representing the students, staff, and faculty at RCTC: The Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA), AFSCME, and the Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF), respectively. In the complaint, they cited McClellon's extravagant spending and her hiring practices as concerns, as well as the possibility of RCTC losing its accreditation.

"There's very big concerns about that," said RCTC faculty member Chad Israelson, the president of Rochester's branch of MSCF. "Without accreditation, then we're in serious trouble. It pretty much ceases to be a functioning college."

RCTC student president Mike Wenzel, a member of MCSCA, says even the students on campus have noticed a change in the atmosphere since McClellon took over.

"Students come to me on a regular basis and ask 'What's going on with the college? Why are people walking on eggshells? Why are things this way?'" said Wenzel.

While the associations don't know what will come of the complaint, they all hope McClellon's leadership will improve for the sake of the RCTC students.

"I think our students are paying enough in time and money that they deserve better than to be going in a classroom in that kind of a situation," said Wenzel.

In separate statements, McClellon and MnSCU chancellor Steven Rosenstone both responded to the letter.

In McClellon's statement, she said, “I have received a copy of the letter sent by the student senate, faculty, and members of AFSCME.  College leadership and I appreciate the questions and concerns addressed in the letter, and continue to welcome the opportunity to discuss the concerns to those represented on the communication.  We are encouraged by the groups and individuals who are taking the time to dialogue with us in order to address the issues.  Our students are our number one priority--that’s why we’re here.  The RCTC administration, faculty and staff want our students to succeed—and when our students succeed, then we ALL succeed.”

In his statement, Rosenstone said, “I am aware of the concerns that have been expressed. From my perspective, the campus community is engaging in open and honest discussion about some very important and very sensitive issues, and I support the ongoing dialogue. RCTC is in sound financial health and will continue to play a critical role in the region, providing an opportunity for students to have a brighter future and helping to deliver the talent that both Rochester and Minnesota need.”

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