SBHE President Says They’re Investigating Bresciani Texts and Will “Consider Next Steps”


TOM STROMME Following a three hour executive session, North Dakota State Board of Higher Education chair Kathy Neset, left, and vice chair Don Morton, center, and university system chancellor Mark Hagerott listen to a discussion on not offering North Dakota State University president Dean Bresciani a new contract until the board's November meeting. The SBHE meeting was held in Bismarck on Friday.

NDSU President Dean Bresciani has been caught being something less than honest about his handling of controversial media restrictions last week, with texts I obtained through an open records request showing that his behind-the-scenes statements and actions didn’t match his public words.

Since then the Fargo Forum editorial board has called on Bresciani to resign. Now State Board of Higher Education President Kathy Neset says they’re reviewing Bresciani’s handling of this situation and considering next steps.

I got this statement from Neset, released through North Dakota University System spokeswoman Billie Jo Lorius, after attempting to line up an interview:

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education and the North Dakota University System is in the process of gathering all pertinent information regarding the recent situation at North Dakota State University. The SBHE and the NDUS operates in a very public and transparent manner and our citizens and students deserve professionalism from each of us at all times. This new development is serious and consistent with communications issues the Board previously identified in Dr. Bresciani’s improvement plan. After the Board has had the opportunity to review the information, it will consider next steps as soon as possible.

Clearly, this isn’t over for Bresciani yet. Especially given that Neset sees this latest fiasco as related to the issues the SBHE already has with Bresciani. Issues which have already caused them to delay renewal of his contract.

So what’s the next step? Is Bresciani put on administrative leave? Is he fired for cause? Is he told, finally, that his contract will not be renewed and that the selection process for a new president will begin?

I don’t think any of those things are off the table at this point.