Culture has nothing to do with it.

As some of you may be aware, Sinte Gleska University (SGU) was placed on probation by the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission (HLC), effective October 31, 2013.

 

There is a link on the SGU website which will take you to the HLC site where you can download the Public Disclosure Notice which was issued, along with a letter addressed to the SGU president. SGU must file a monitoring report by February 1, 2014.

 

SGU was put on probation because they are out of compliance. The monitoring report must outline steps SGU will take in order to come into compliance with the areas of Assumed Practice in which they were cited for.

 

Many of us hope SGU will share with the general public the monitoring report they are required to submit next month by publishing it in local newspapers. Tribal members are the real stakeholders in SGU and we all deserve to know what is going on with the university.

 

In 1996 I was elected to serve a 5-year term as an at-large member of the SGU Board of Regents. I watched from the inside how the institution operated during my term as a board member. It’s interesting to note the issues which SGU is out of compliance with today are some of the same areas the Board of Regents believed needed improvement during my term.

 

In May 2001, the SGU Board attempted to take the appropriate steps to begin addressing the issues which SGU faced back then. That is, the SGU Board believed the lack of leadership and financial accountability was detrimental to the institution. The Board approved a motion to terminate the SGU president’s contract.

 

Unfortunately, the SGU president was a member of Rosebud’s tribal council in 2001. Thus, his termination by the SGU Board was brought to the council. After several public meetings, all of the board members were removed by the tribal council. A new Board of Regents was appointed. This was done through RST Resolution 2001-155.

 

Consequently, the SGU by-laws were also revised and subsequently approved by the tribal council. The by-laws contain several detailed paragraphs outlining which tribal members are qualified to run for election to the Board. According to the language of the by-laws contained in the SGU self-study report, there was supposed to be an election in 2005.

 

Yet, with the exception of the student representative and perhaps the staff representative, there hasn’t been an election for SGU Board of Regents positions since 2000.

 

People who listen to Rosebud’s moccasin telegraph are hearing talk about how the current problems are due to cultural differences between SGU and the HLC. This is an excuse as some of the current problems existed during my term on the Board. The current problems go back to many years of financial mismanagement and lack of leadership.

 

Culture has nothing to do with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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