The Bismarck Tribune’s editorial board asks an important question today with regard to the controversy between the North Dakota University System and legislators loyal to the university system’s presidents: “Is the problem the board or the chancellor?”
One could also ask if the problem is the the university system or the university president.
The answer, of course, is all of the above.
It seems our choices are either between an overbearing chancellor who doesn’t like to take direction from the state’s elected leaders, or a group of university presidents who don’t want to take direction from the state’s elected leaders.
Both of those sides are the losing side for the taxpayers.
The outcome of this latest pie-throwing contest in the university system isn’t really all that important. What’s important is whether or not this latest turmoil will lead to real changes in the way the university system is governed.
What we need is someone in charge of the university system who is accountable to the taxpayers – neither the chancellor nor the State Board of Higher Education are – but also holds a mandate from the taxpayers to govern the university system.
That means an elected official. That means the so-called “independence” of the university system – which has resulted in run-away costs, fraud, abuse and bureaucratic anarchy – must be ended.