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Gustavus Adolphus College President Faces Questions About Leadership

Jack R. Ohle, president of Gustavus Adolphus College, is facing questions about his leadership as students and faculty members at the Minnesota institution have recently pressed for his resignation, according to the St. Peter Herald, a local newspaper. A senior at the college who wrote a petition calling on the president to step down told the newspaper that Mr. Ohle’s leadership has undermined the college’s “core values.”

Faculty dissatisfaction with Mr. Ohle’s leadership came to light through an anonymous Web site called GustieLeaks. One document on the site describes a faculty meeting that reportedly passed a resolution asking the college’s Board of Trustees to end Mr. Ohle’s appointment “as soon as possible.” The Faculty Senate’s chair told the newspaper that he had not reviewed all of the documents posted on the site, but believes many are authentic. He confirmed that the group had sent a letter to Mr. Ohle asking him to step down.

A number of incidents have escalated tension between the president and the faculty, and have contributed to a lack of confidence in Mr. Ohle’s leadership, a Faculty Senate member said in an e-mail to The Free Press, a newspaper in nearby Mankato. The e-mail, from Eric Dugdale, an associate professor of classics, said the faculty faults the president for “a lack of transparency in the budget process, failure to respect the college’s model of shared governance, decisions detrimental to the academic program, (and) an autocratic management style … that has led to the resignation or departure of a number of key members of the leadership team.”

The chair of the college’s board said in a written statement to The Free Press that the board was reviewing the matter and planned to respond appropriately. The statement also mentioned the value of engaging “in civil discourse about disagreements in the way in which an institution of higher education is governed” and touted several of the college’s achievements during Mr. Ohle’s tenure, which began in 2008.

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