On Television: North Dakota University System Has A Trust Problem


I was on Chris Berg’s Valley News Live show last night for my regular weekly segment, and perhaps not surprisingly we discussed my big story about the State Board of Higher Education making some candid remarks they thought were off the record in a non-public meeting.

Before the show, Chris asked me what I thought the “headline” was out of all the things revealed by the higher ed board members in their conversation. I told him it was that there’s a lack of trust, even between the board members and the university presidents who work for them.

When I listened to the audio of that roughly 45 minute conversation (and if this issue interests you, you should take the time to listen as well) I heard a group of people who sound frustrated. Who sound like they’re being buffaloed by university presidents who are supposed to be their subordinates.

And, most alarmingly, who feel like they can’t even trust those presidents to provide them with accurate information upon which to predicate policy.

That’s a shocking level of break down in what is one of the largest branches of our state government. The taxpayers of North Dakota are now spending more than a billion dollars per biennium on the university system, and more when you count what students pay in tuition.

Yet, the people who are supposed to be in charge of the university system don’t seem to actually be in charge.

That should be setting off alarm bells.