Sandra Means: RCTC tension is not part of a welcoming community

As a long-time member of this community, I am personally saddened and disappointed by the overwhelming objections surrounding the leadership style of Rochester Community and Technical College's 10th president, Leslie R. McClellon.

To quote the Rochester Chamber of Commerce's Member Spotlight, dated August 2015, "Under the leadership of President Leslie McClellon, RCTC will launch a new strategic plan focusing on enhancing the region's workforce. In addition, McClellon, who joined the college last year, is focused on providing leadership and vision for the college in order to move RCTC forward in partnerships, student success and scholarships."

If we don't give newcomers the time needed to succeed, we are doing a disservice to our community and to valuable, much-needed people of all persuasions and skill sets. We need people who want to relocate to Rochester and contribute to the dynamic processes underway, now and in the future.

RCTC is an awesome institution, serving the community and region with excellence for 100 years. The negativity that has been widely publicized taints the RCTC reputation and discredits the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System's selection process.

The publicized information appears to be a one-sided, opponent's attack on the president. Where are the proponents' voices? In a society where negotiations, collaborations, compromise and support are allegedly the norm, it begs the question of whether the Minnesota State College Faculty Union — Rochester; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 4001 and the Minnesota State College and Student Association — Rochesterhave attempted to reach understanding.


Have they explored action plans that could produce consensus and move forward in a direction that best serves the students of the college and prepare them to pursue their career objectives?

Our community is embarking upon one of the most creative, innovative and visionary endeavors ever undertaken by the citizens of Rochester and the state of Minnesota. We are anticipating phenomenal growth over the next 20 to 25 years, as well a plethora of new jobs and housing opportunities, which are essential to satisfy the workforce needs of our community.

We cannot afford to be, nor do we want to be, exclusive. We proudly profess to be an international, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, welcoming, compassionate community.

We must acknowledge that our success is dependent upon truly valuing our strength by embracing a multitude of human differences. We understand that diversity is not regulated to one aspect of our society, but is the strength we need to compete in a global economy.

Our future is dependent upon embracing challenges and opportunities, while mentoring newcomers and advocating on their behalf to ensure successful transitions into the culture of Rochester. Equity must be integrated into the process.

Let's not rush to judgment on this important issue. Are we truly ready and prepared for the dynamic infusion?

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