Earlier this year NDSU President Dean Bresciani was throwing a fit over a plan to unify the North Dakota University System’s email accounts. After being accused multiple times of deleting emails on purpose to evade open records requests, Bresciani argued that it would be a “terrible embarrassment” for the university system if NDSU was forced to give up control of its own email system.
“I can’t imagine a worse time for System staff to argue that they should be running our email,” Bresciani wrote in a March 14th email to Chancellor Larry Skogen. “Given recent events, as well as the ugly past events — of just a few months ago (and I’ll throw in that some who were involved in the purposeful violation of our email privacy ARE STILL EMPLOYED AT THE SYSTEM OFFICE), I can’t imagine things ending in anything but terrible embarrassment for the system.”
Bresciani, of course, is referring to accusations he made against university system staff which suggested that they’d been “hacking” his emails.
You can read more of the back story on this whole mess in this July Watchdog story I wrote.
Initially the State Board of Higher Education was scheduled to address this issue at today’s meeting – it was on draft agendas published earlier this week – but the agenda item was pulled. Now Bresciani, despite his well-documented tantrums over this issue, is claiming it was all just a “misunderstanding.”
Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen had proposed the board deny NDSU’s request, which was removed from the agenda Wednesday at the request of NDSU President Dean Bresciani.
“President Bresciani notified me a few days ago that they were no longer seeking that exemption,” Skogen said Thursday.
Bresciani took a hands-off approach to the subject.
“It was the chancellor that put it on the agenda, not me,” he said Thursday.
He said the agenda item might have been the result of a misinterpretation.
“We confirmed that we are part of the email system,” he said.
Uh, right. A “misunderstanding.”
If you ever needed evidence that Bresciani is a devious bureaucrat with an integrity problem, here it is.
I am going to take a bit of a victory lap here. North Dakota State University generally, and Bresciani in particular, have a horrendous track record when it comes to transparency. Not even lawmakers, requesting records as a part of the duties of their elected offices, have an easy time getting public records from NDSU under Bresciani. “Either Dean Bresciani went to the Lois Lerner school of email management, or she went to the Dean Bresciani school, but either way they’re both honored graduates,” Rep. Bob Martinson of Bismarck told me earlier this year.
I’m guessing that, absent the stink my reporting raised on this subject, Bresciani would have gotten his exemption and would have been free to continue sandbagging and evading open records requests.