St. Norbert College students protest, demand transparency after president steps down

Local News

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) — St. Norbert College students are expressing their frustration after President Brian Bruess announced last week that he would step down at the end of the academic year.

“We want to know what’s going on. Why is President Bruess leaving? We don’t want the vague answers they’ve been giving us,” says Bryanna Fogel, a senior at St. Norbert College. “We’ve heard a lot of rumors and we’ve heard a lot of things through the grapevine that don’t really tell the story that the Board of Trustees are giving us.”

Mike Van Asten, Chair of the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees, sent a letter to the college community Tuesday trying to answer some of those questions:

“Last week, when the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees accepted President Bruess’s decision, it was the culmination of several months of thoughtful consideration and deliberation between him and the Executive Committee of the Board. Those discussions were solely focused on the future direction and vision for the College. At no time did those discussions include the status, or future status, of Father Jay Fostner. Nor has there been any discussion of appointing an interim president, as there is no need to do so since President Bruess is staying through the end of his contract. I hope this information helps clarify some of the questions and misunderstandings that have been circulating.”

The new selection process for the president has also raised some concerns with students.

“We really want a president, whether it’s President Bruess or the next president, to value the same things that we do as students and the faculty as well,” says Fogel.

Neale Tracy, a St. Norbert College student and protest organizer, added, “We would like to have a say in the next president.”

Faculty members held a meeting during the protests to discuss the situation. Local 5’s Erinn Taylor was able to talk to Corday Goddard Associate Dean of Student Development after that meeting.

“I think there’s a lot of support from the faculty and the whole campus community for what the students are doing. The students’ voice really matters. I like seeing the students are concerned about something and doing something about it. I wish that there weren’t situations that caused them to demonstrate, but I’m proud of them for what they’re doing.”

As today’s protest was getting underway – the board of trustees was set to meet to discuss these recent developments.

Editor’s Note: An author of this story is a student at St. Norbert College.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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