The more than 45,000 reportedly deleted emails from North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani's inbox are not gone for good, according to Larry Skogen, acting North Dakota University System chancellor.
Officials are still trying to determine if they were ever deleted.
"We know where they are. There's no missing emails," Skogen said Thursday night.
The emails are the subject of a state investigation into whether NDSU violated open records laws by deleting more than 45,000 emails from Bresciani's inbox that may have been subject to a legislative public records request.
In April, the North Dakota Legislative Council requested emails from each state school president and other higher ed officials believed to be trying to undermine then-University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, who was bought out of his contract earlier this month.
Their request included emails from Nov. 1 2012, to May 1 that mentioned Shirvani or others involved in the dispute that led to his buyout.
NDSU turned over about 900 pages of emails from Bresciani's account, prompting the Legislative Council to request a second look from the North Dakota University System to determine if any emails had been deleted.
University System personnel later confirmed that about 45,375 emails were deleted from Bresciani's account the day the Legislative Council made its open records request.
Earlier this week Bresciani wrote in an email to students that his Outlook inbox had been "compromised" several times by NDUS accounts without his knowledge. In the email, Bresciani also said NDSU had not determined whether the emails had been deleted.
NDUS, NDSU and Microsoft are working together to find out if and when the reported 45,000 emails from Bresciani's inbox were deleted, Skogen said. They are still waiting on more forensic evidence.
Once that's determined, Skogen said they'll be able to answer questions regarding the emails.
"As soon as we know what happened, we'll let everybody know," he said.