Union Activist Banned from Minn. College
Supporters Claim College is Retaliating Against Professor
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) — Supporters of a sociology teacher suggest he was banned from a Twin Cities community college because of his union activism, but the college’s president said that is not the case.
Dave Berger said he was recently notified by Inver Hills Community College that he was being placed on indefinite “investigatory leave.”
Berger, who was told not to return to campus, has taught at Inver Hills since 1991. He told the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1VvhH5y ) he was not given a reason.
“I have no idea what the reason is, and it’s just freaking me out,” Berger said.
Berger is the grievance representative for the faculty union. Supporters suggest the action is retaliation against Berger for the union’s no-confidence vote against college President Tim Wynes last month. The union has criticized Wynes for his spending decisions and budget cuts.
But Wynes told The Associated Press there was no retaliation. Wynes said he cannot give any details because it’s a personnel matter.
A spokeswoman for the Inver Grove Heights school also denied that the action was in response to Berger’s union activism.
“A complaint was brought forward and we are looking into it,” said Erin Edlund, the school’s director of advancement, marketing and public relations.
Officials at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system declined to talk about Berger’s case, referring questions to Inver Hills.
But in a statement, MnSCU said: “Employees being placed on investigatory leave may not be provided the details of a complaint for several reasons such as securing the integrity of the investigation and protecting the rights of both the accused as well as the complainant.”
One of Berger’s former students has created a Facebook page, “Bring Berger Back,” to try to pressure the college to lift the ban.
Faculty union president David Riggs said he could not comment on details of Berger’s case. But he said the union has an active grievance against the administration in connection with a previous investigation of Berger’s union activities.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com