North Dakota's State Board Of Higher Ed Is Their Own Worst Enemy


It’s become clear to honest observers that the campaign of personal destruction against Chancellor Hamid Shirvani is being driven by the state’s university system, and their legislative/student stoolies, because they don’t want to be governed. The university system’s presidents want a rubber stamp for a chancellor, not someone intent on bringing reform and accountability to a system that badly needs it.

Yet, the State Board of Higher Education still seems intent on giving their political enemies ammunition. In addition to apparently disregarding open meetings laws, the board has scheduled a meeting to review allegations over this violations for a time when most of them are out of state and the student member of the board can’t attend at all.

According to the Fargo Forum, board president Duaine Espegard will be calling in from Fargo. Past board president Grant Shaft will be calling in from Phoenix. Student member Sydney Hull will be on spring break in Africa, apparently, and may not be able to attend at all.

I’m not sure that the open meetings violations alleged by a disgruntled former university system lawyer fired by Shirvani rise to the level of anything but a distraction, but the allegations are serious enough that maybe members of the board should actually be in the state to consider them.

This comedy of errors further highlights the need for reforming the governance of the university system. The fact that none of these fools can be recalled by the voters or removed by the governor or held accountable in any way, really, is central to the problems that plague the university system as a whole.

Maybe that’s a good thing, as the legislature is considering several options for such reform.