Text of a press release…
On Wednesday evening, April 20, a fundraiser for the House DFL Caucus is being headlined by three leaders of the Rochester Community Technical College (RCTC). This, according to a flier prepared and paid for by the House DFL Caucus. The flier did not simply name names, it included their professional positions in their public institution.
Along with Representative Kim Norton and two DFL House leaders, the flier names RCTC President Don Supalla, RCTC Vice-President Mike Bequette, and RCTC Faculty President Chad Israelson. The event is to be hosted by Bequette in his Rochester home. A stated purpose of the event is to fight Republican budget initiatives at the Capitol.
Bruce Kaskubar, Chair of the Republican Party of Olmsted County stated, “I am extremely disappointed that the RCTC leaders – whose institution and individual jobs are supported by state taxpayers whether Democratic, Republican, or independent – are lending their names and titles to assist partisan fund-raising.” He continued, “It is forbidden for public university leaders to behave in a partisan manner in their official capacities. Yet, here they are, headlining and hosting an event in the middle of the legislative session. As formulated, Supalla, Bequette, and Israelson should refuse participation and the venue should be changed.”
A copy of the DFL flier can be found on our web site.
UPDATE 20Apr11 2:38 pm
At least two MnSCU General Counsels have been notified of this event in the last 36 hours. MnSCU Code of Conduct’s procedure 1C.0.1 part 3E states, “Employees may not use their position or system resources to advance a political party or candidate.”
The RCTC staff members are blaming the House DFL Caucus for an error; that they never authorized the use of their titles. The House DFL Caucus is blaming a young staff member. All that may be true. It may also be true that savvy DFLers have made a purposeful mistake to increase the enticement of the event, with or without the knowledge of the leaders in question. In any case, as long as their titles were used, for whatever reasons and by whatever means, it is still a fact that their titles WILL now “advance a political party or candidate.”
The event should be canceled and rescheduled in a manner consistent with MnSCU Code.
UPDATE 21Apr11 12:03 am
The Post-Bulletin has a story on their web site.