No Confidence Meeting At UND Gets Ugly As Administrators Attack Students, Motion Tabled Until Sunday

The University of North Dakota Student Senate held a meeting tonight to consider, among other things, a resolution expressing no confidence in UND President Robert Kelley and other administrators. In fact, beyond expressing no confidence, the resolution called for their resignations.

You can read it here.

You can read a blow-by-blow of the meeting from social media below. After hours of what was often very heated debate, the student government ultimately tabled their motion until Sunday.

The response from President Kelley and his supporters among the university system faculty and staff was nothing short of embarrassing. They launched a smear campaign – including a particularly vicious diatribe from State Board of Higher Education faculty member Janice Hoffarth – on the student government, and Student Body President Tanner Franklin specifically, which left me wondering who were the grownups were in the room.

Was it the students? Or the entrenched bureaucrats with the six figure salaries complaining about Franklin missing some of their meetings because he had class?

Whoever thought attacking Franklin over missed meetings should have thought a little harder. Unlike the bureaucrats, whose job it is to hold meetings (endlessly, it seems), Franklin is trying to get an education while simultaneously represent his fellow students at a university where students have long since stopped being the priority for an obstinate and arrogant administration. It’s not his fault they scheduled meetings during his classes.

And besides, it’s not like the administrators have been going out of their way to work with students:

Also, some tried to claim that the meeting itself was illegal. The banner photo is of a handout that was circulating in the room (picture sent in by a SAB reader). I’m pretty sure they don’t have a case, but I’m also not up on the procedure the Student Senate went through to notice the meeting. If they didn’t notice it properly, shame on them, but it’s pretty hard to argue that people were aware of the meeting given the number of people in the room.

And the student government singled out by Kelley and his cronies held their own pretty well, I thought, refusing to be bullied or intimidated. And it seems as though the public sides with the students, at least according to this admittedly unscientific online poll posted by the Grand Forks Herald. Normally I don’t care much for these polls, but lopsided is lopsided. The question was, “Would you support a vote of no confidence in UND President Kelley and the other administrators?”

The results:

heraldpoll

I thought about trying to describe the meeting based on what my sources in the room told me, but I thought it would be better to put together a narrative based on social media postings from people in the room, mostly UND student Nate Peterson who did a really excellent job live tweeting except that the person he calls Janice Hoplin is actually Hoffarth.

The Grand Forks Herald, meanwhile, wrote their initial story on the meeting before it was even done including negative comments from Kelley and other administrators while the rebuttals to those comments from the student government didn’t make the cut. I saved a PDF of how the story looked with more than an hour left in the meeting.

Because journalism, I guess. Here’s an exchange I had with the Herald reporter in attendance about that.

Here’s the blow-by-blow of the portion of the meeting related to the no confidence resolution.

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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