Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"We have not been able to maintain our focus on the 
incredibly positive trajectory that we have been on."

Connie Delaney, Dean, School of Nursing,
 University of Minesota

Yet Another Black Eye

for University of Minnesota

Academic Health Center

First, a reprimand, now U's nursing dean cited for reprisal

 The State Human Rights board found she fired an employee who filed a workplace complaint. 

University of Minnesota Nursing Dean Connie Delaney, who is already under university reprimand for a hiring infraction, now faces a state human rights finding of discrimination and retaliation for firing an employee who filed an internal workplace complaint.
The probable cause ruling, issued in February by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, could result in state mediation or litigation. It centers on an executive assistant whose job was terminated by Delaney in 2010 after she went to the university's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (EOAA) with allegations of unfair employment practices.
Within weeks of learning about the complaint, Delaney decided not to renew the employee's appointment, the Department of Human Rights investigation found.
"The Department has concluded that the [dean] terminated the charging party's employment as an act of reprisal discrimination,'' according to a case memorandum issued by state Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. "The investigation yielded extremely persuasive evidence ... that there was indeed a causal connection'' between the worker's dismissal and her EOAA complaint against the dean.
Lindsey also issued a probable cause finding of disability discrimination in the case. Evidence indicated that the worker performed "very well'' in her job and had physical ailments, including multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome and an anxiety disorder that qualified her as a disabled person.
The disability finding was based on evidence that the dean was indifferent to the accommodation needs of her aide and was unhappy when she took time off for doctor's appointments. The Human Rights Department concluded that the worker's disabilities also were "likely factors'' in her ouster, the memorandum said.
Delaney referred questions to University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg, who said the former employee's complaints are still being addressed. Rotenberg emphasized that there have been no findings of guilt or innocence and said the university has significant evidence showing that no unlawful action was taken against the worker.
Reprimanded in March
Delaney, who was hired from the University of Iowa in 2005, was reprimanded last month for her 2007 hiring of Thomas R. Clancy, a former Ph.D. student of hers at Iowa. Against university policy, he joined the U's faculty as a clinical professor at 75 percent time while continuing to work 100 percent time at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City for 17 months. Delaney knew of the arrangement, which was not properly reported at the U, the reprimand said. .
Multiple witnesses
The Star Tribune received a copy of the Human Rights findings from the former worker on the condition her name not be published. She and her attorney are considering how to proceed. They have the option of conciliation mediation through the Human Rights Department or suing the university in state court.
The commissioner's memorandum said "multiple witnesses" gave information to investigators showing "that the Dean would be likely to retaliate against a subordinate for making a discrimination complaint.'' Evidence from multiple witnesses also showed "that, in general, the [former aide] is much more credible than the Dean.''
Delaney called an all-school assembly March 19 to discuss issues raised in the Star Tribune story, and she has written to students, faculty and external supporters. She has expressed regret for employment contracts granted to her brother and accepted full responsibility for non-compliance in the hiring of her former student. But those communications also have stressed school accomplishments under her leadership.
"I regret that, in these times, we have not been able to maintain our focus on the incredibly positive trajectory that we have been on as a school, but have needed to stop to look backwards,'' Delaney wrote to students.

Some comments from Star-Tribune readers:

I think the dean needs to go.

If this were private industry, Delaney would've been terminated long ago.

It just keeps getting better and better for the U.

Anywhere but Minnesota and she would have been history by now.

How do these seemingly unstable administrators keep rising to the top for these positions?

How does this lady still have a job?

Corruption, nepotism, incompetence=U. of MN.

It is disturbing to think that the articles about the lack of ethics and gross mismanagement at the U are just the tip of the iceberg.

U of M president Eric Kaler must fire Connie Delaney immediately.

If this story was a stand alone article it might not be such news, but with all her other acts it speaks to her lack of credibility and integrity.

Kudos for Kennedy. The U has been held unaccountable for so many offenses over the past 10 years or so it's sickening. They live in their own little world, accountable to no-one, and totally unable to police themselves or even have the slightest degree of integrity.

The new U President wrote a letter to the editor some weeks ago saying what is past is not his fault, judge him on what he does in the future. Here is his chance. We are watching.

I am amazed at the responses from folks ready to vilify the former employee and defend the University.

Way past time for her to hit the bricks.

Delaney's track record of turmoil didn't begin at the U; her methods and behaviors are well known elsewhere - which brings the spotlight back to U of M administrators that hired her and failed to do due diligence.

Frank Cerra should have dealt with the problems in Nursing before they became this bad. Extremely high staff turnover, such as the School of Nursing has experienced since the arrival of Dean Delaney, is a sign of a problem. I applaud this investigation.

This once great institution has lost its luster by its "leaders'" lack of vision and cronyism. Business as usual must end. The former President, Robert Bruininks, guided over $2,000,000 to departing employees, and directed more than $350,000 to his new "post" on the faculty, where he will earn $341,000 a year for up to six years. Neat gig for an otherwise nice guy who did absolutely nothing other than to passively watch over the drift toward mediocrity. And now we have the Nursing Dean's issues. Start a new era at the U of M by cutting the cord of these nightmare administrators. Make a statement that the shrinking resources which are directed to the U of M will not be rewarding or perpetuating mediocrity. Where is the accountability here?

There are at least two other little dictator supervisors under investigation right now in different departments over there. HR needs to step it up.

This is a classic U of MN management style. You have people in positions of authority that answer to no one, and they have a revolving door for their support people. I had the pleasure of working for someone who was a professor that hated students - yes, hated the people they were there to support, nurture, and supply an education. The university turned a blind eye to it since this professor was good at writing grants to get money for the school. There is not a single person in the department that has been there for longer than two years because no one can handle the stress that is piled on due the professor's inability to deal with it themselves.

Kaler said "watch what I do," and we're watching. He may not do a thing because of money. Besides being dean of nursing the dean is also heading up the U's informatics department and it has *millions of dollars* of federal money. Who knows if she's lying and cheating there too, and someday the feds may catch her and the u will be in even deeper trouble? What a risk keeping someone like her on board! Where are their heads?

If she had any insight into the embarrassment she's causing, she'd do the University and the Nursing School a favor by stepping down as the dean.

@all the U insiders and maroon & gold goggle wearers complaining about Kennedy's journalism. Kennedy's journalism is EXACTLY what the fourth estate is supposed to provide but over the course of the entire Bruininks administration pretty much failed to. As an alum of the U, I'm glad the Strib is finally reporting on the endless problems at my alma mater. Frankly, Kennedy could publish an article a day for the next 5 years and still likely not have unearthed everything worth covering.

How many times can the Dean misuse her position and power? Why must the community and those who work for her have to pay the price for her lack of morals and integrity?

As I mentioned in a post on the first article, as an alumnus of the School of Nursing I interacted with the Dean in various settings, I decided several years ago to vote with my pocketbook...out of my will forever! The School has had a great reputation for over 100 years of educating nursing students; I hope the Board of Regents etc. can see it in themselves to move her out and look for the BEST!!! The School deserves better!

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