UND Student Body President Refused To Sign Letter Backing President Kelly


“I didn’t feel comfortable at all adding my name to it,” University of North Dakota Student Body President Nick Creamer told me about a recent letter submitted to the Grand Forks Herald in support of President Kelly. “I didn’t agree with a lot of the contents of the letter.”

The letter purports to show support for Kelly from faculty and staff at UND in the wake of former Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s scathing evaluation of him.

“I think it minimized a lot of the accountability Chancellor Shirvani provided in his evaluation, in my opinion,” Creamer told me of the letter. “I feel like Shirvani had some animosity when he wrote those evaluations, but he raised a lot of issues that previously got swept under the rug.”

Creamer told me that he is concerned about the disconnect between skyrocketing tuition and taxpayer spending and the performance of the university. “I think President Kelly has some questions to answer about is he doing the best job for the students and to ensure that we’re getting the best value for our money as students and taxpayers of North Dakota.”

Shortly after the State Board of Higher Education acquiesced to demands from the university presidents that Shirvani’s evaluations be rejected, Creamer said he got some emails from the chairman of the University Senate wanting to find a way to express support for Kelly. The ultimate result was the letter in the Herald, but Creamer said he didn’t want to promote the perception that there is nothing wrong at UND.

He said he especially didn’t want to add to the chorus of “President Kelly’s supporters lashing out at Shirvani.”

“I think a lot of the media and a lot of the letters have indicated that the critical review of Shirvani was out of line,” he told me. “Our leaders at our campuses need to be held more accountable; at least held to results. A critical review of someone’s performance is necessary if you are going to expect development and growth as a leader.”