Read It: UND Aviation School Faculty Accuses Provost of Jeopardizing Flight Safety Among Other Problems


UND Provost Thomas DiLorenzo holds open forum Monday afternoon at the Memorial Lecture bowl. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

University of North Dakota Provost Thomas DiLorenzo, a controversial figure during his years at the school, finds himself mired in controversy yet again.

In 2015 the student government at UND considered a resolution calling for DiLorenzo’s resignation (along with then-UND President Robert Kelley) over rather vicious verbal attacks from supporters of the administration (it was ultimately tabled). A faculty survey from later that year was also highly critical of DiLorenzo. That survey resulted in a letter to ND University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott asking him to intervene.

Hagerott declined to.

Earlier this year a former UND employee, who also happens to be a sitting Republican member of the state Legislature, accused DiLorenzo of unprofessional behavior including disparaging remarks about Republicans and political discrimination. “Do you know what the two biggest issues are with higher education? 1. Freedom of speech. 2. Republicans complaining too much about higher education,” is one thing DiLorenzo is alleged to have said.

This is hardly an exhaustive list of DiLorenzo’s problems at UND, and now we can add a new chapter.

The UND Aviation School, one of the largest and most important departments at UND, has passed a nearly unanimous vote of no confidence in DiLorenzo. The vote was 32-0 with two abstentions.

You can read the full resolution below, but there are some very disturbing accusations including the assertion that DiLorenzo’s actions have jeopardized flight safety:

The resolution also says DiLorenzo has lowered admissions standards to the point where students with little chance of success at the aviation school are none the less attending and using up resources:

That’s an interesting assertion given UND’s recent drop in overall enrollment. At the link I argue that enrollment is the wrong metric by which to measure success in higher education, noting that retention and completions are far more important, yet much of the leadership in higher education in our state remains obsessed with packing as many students on campus as possible. No doubt a bid to enjoy the revenue for the school and community which is attached to those students.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if DiLorenzo were one of the administrators beholden of that attitude.

Here’s the full resolution. According to the Grand Forks Herald, neither DiLorenzo nor the UND administration is responding at this point.

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