In Email to NDSU Employees President Dean Bresciani Admits Text Messages Were “Not Appropriate”

In an email sent out to the entire NDSU campus this morning President Dean Bresciani admits that text messages he sent supporting controversial media restrictions he later rescinded were “not appropriate.”

I broke the story about the text messages on Friday, and in a subsequent editorial the Fargo Forum has asked for Bresciani to resign.

You can read a PDF of the enitre email below. An excerpt:

3) The media guidelines were made public about a week ago. I was unaware of their existence, so I didn’t know they would be made public. At that time, I was out of state at the funeral of one of my mentors, but the explosive reaction on social media regarding the new guidelines quickly made me aware them.

4) As soon as possible, I sought information on the matter. Initially, it was my understanding that: (a) the guidelines had been part of the bid process so that all the local media companies understood that these were going to be implemented; and (b) the new guidelines were fairly common across the country.

5) In light of the above, and reflecting my loyalty to NDSU faculty, staff and students, I briefed the Chancellor and SBHE of the situation through an email and offered my support to both the athletics staff and the guidelines. I now understand that my initial support was misplaced and some of my text communications were not appropriate.

6) Over the next two days, I learned that my understanding of the proposed guidelines was not accurate, and I asked that the guidelines be rescinded. The decision to rescind was reached through extended conversations, collaborative discussion, and additional consideration of the factors that hadn’t been brought to light before the new guidelines were announced.

A convenient and self-serving narrative, to be sure, though I’ve got to admit that this is the first time I’ve ever seen Bresciani admit to an error.

But this explanation still isn’t cutting it. “I was profoundly disappointed when I learned the facts about this issue,” is what Bresciani initially said in a news release. But he clearly wasn’t profoundly disappointed when he first learned of the policies. He was supportive. He changed his tune later.

He says he changed his mind because he learned more about the rules. Some might say he changed his mind because of the backlash NDSU was getting from the public and the media.

Either way, this is Bresciani’s spin on the matter, for what it’s worth. I don’t think it’s going to be worth much to members of the State Board of Higher Education who have already voted to delay renewing his contract.

If this were Bresciani’s first brush with controversy they might be willing to let it slide. But it’s not. Far from it.

Here’s the full text of Bresciani’s email:

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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