Angry University President Gets His Diaper Changed By Higher Ed Board


KXNet – Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson

Yesterday Minot State University President David Fuller, who was “so furious his voice was shaking” according to the Minot Daily News, demanded that outgoing Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s evaluation of him be expunged from his record.

He also expressed outrage that his evaluation would appear on a blog before he had a chance to review it, as did board member Terry Hjelmstad:

Board of higher education member Terry Hjelmstad, a retired public school administrator from Minot, said he was “appalled and offended” when he learned that the performance evaluations had been published on an Internet blog and called what Shirvani wrote in the negative evaluations both “immoral” and “vindictive.”

Board Vice President Kirsten Diedrich suggested that the reputation of the presidents had been damaged because the evaluations were posted online, which is just silly. The evaluations were always public record. They were going to be damaging because of what Shirvani wrote, not because they were disclosed tot he public:

Board of higher education president Duaine Espegard was at first reluctant to dismiss everything Shirvani had done with the evaluations. In his first motion, he suggested that new acting chancellor Skogen “finish the process” and then present the completed performance evaluations to the board.

“I don’t care if the acting chancellor rewrites (them) after he hears the other side,” said Espegard, but thought it was important for the university system to move on. He wanted to avoid further discussion of Shirvani’s tenure in office.

Kirsten Diederich, board vice president, said she couldn’t agree entirely with Espegard’s position, since the reputations of the university presidents has been damaged by the posting of the negative performance evaluations online.

I wonder if they would have been as outraged if the evaluations had appeared, say, in a newspaper?

What may be more scandalous than Chancellor Shirvani’s evaluations is the SBHE’s willingness to capitulate to the university presidents who don’t like their evaluations. The board invalidated Shirvani’s evaluations, and ordered incoming interim Chancellor Larry Skogen (the presidents also got one of their own put in charge) to write new ones.

There was a small ray of hope in board member Grant Shaft said he hoped that Skogen would at least pay attention to some of Shirvani’s criticisms and warned that past evaluations were worthless because they didn’t highlight any problems:

Board member Grant Shaft, an attorney from Grand Forks, voted in favor of the motion, but said he saw some value in the draft evaluations Shirvani had conducted. He said there are salient points in the drafts as to how individual presidents are meeting the goals set by the board of higher education. He said he hopes Skogen’s evaluations will address those points. Past evaluations prior to this year were not terribly useful to the board, said Shaft, since they did little more than say “all is well” and recommend a salary increase for the presidents.”

That last quote illustrates perfectly why Shirvani was such a problem in the university system. Rather than rubber-stamping “all is well” propaganda out of the university system, he wanted to highlight problems and hold leaders in the system accountable.

What I’m afraid of now is that the “healing” new Chancellor Larry Skogen is talking about is a return to the bad old days of prioritizing the egos of these pampered university elite over fixing very real problems in the university system.

The presidents didn’t like their chancellor, so they got a new chancellor. They didn’t like their evaluations, so they’re getting new evaluations.

The lunatics are running the asylum.