North Dakota University Employee Accuses Shirvani Of Cooking Data

A North Dakota University System employee is accusing embattled Chancellor Hamid Shirvani of asking her to manipulate data set to be presented to a legislative committee tomorrow. But the accusation has more to do with muddying the waters around what are some very, very ugly performance numbers for the state’s universities than anything Shirvani has done.

First, here are the accusations:

Lawmakers are put in the middle of more controversy regarding Higher Education.

Today, a University System employee came forward and told lawmakers she believes they were provided fraudulent information.

And as Donnell Preskey reports, the employee blames Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.

(Linda Porter / ND University System Employee) “I was told to provide the data to make the institutions look bad.”

Linda Porter says fraudulent activities have been committed in her office and it centers around graduation rate data Dr. Ham Shirvani gave to legislators.

(Rep. Clark Williams: “Why they want UND and NDSU to look bad?”

Porter: “In my opinion?”

Clark: “I’m asking for it.”

Porter: “It would strengthen Dr. Shirvanni’s position and give him more power over the presidents. Not to serve students, not to create better systems but to control the activities of the universities.”

She says she was asked to alter her data and she refused, but the data was altered late Tuesday night and presented to legislators.

Here’s the back story. House Appropriations Education Subcomittee Chairman Bob Skarphol asked the universities to provide answers to a questionnaire pertaining to graduation rates, class sizes, faculty course loads, etc. You can read the questionnaire, sent out by Legislative Council, here.

The answers to the questions which were submitted to the committee, which you can read below, are again not very flattering. Anyone who reads SAB knows that the universities have bloated payrolls, embarrassingly low graduation rates and waive unnecessarily enormous amounts of tuition for “diversity” and international students.

Now, what usually happens when the legislature decides to ask the university system tough questions along these lines is the universities bamboozle legislators with a lot of spin and unnecessary data. This time, however, Shirvani was having none of it. He asked that the universities provide only blunt answers to the questions asked by the legislators.

And for that, Shirvani is now being accused of manipulating the data.

Again, the answers from the universities are below, and as someone who has requested and obtained this data from these institutions in the past, I can say that it’s all accurate. There’s no manipulation apparent to me, other than the fact that this data isn’t buried in the usual sort of nonsense such as regional comparisons and the like.

This is just another chapter in the campaign of personal destruction against Chancellor Shrivani who is trying to bring reforms to a university system run by politically-powerful bureaucrats who don’t want reform.

Here’s the data Shirvani presented to legislators. Again, everything here checks out.

NDUS Institution Questionnaire Answers

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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