North Dakota University System gives DSU president letter of intent to dismissA North Dakota Highway Patrol officer hand-delivered a letter to Dr. Richard McCallum at his home Sunday that says the state intends to dismiss him as Dickinson State University president. McCallum intends to fight for his job.
A North Dakota Highway Patrol officer hand-delivered a letter to Dr. Richard McCallum at his home Sunday that says the state intends to dismiss him as Dickinson State University president. McCallum intends to fight for his job.
McCallum returned his university keys, a laptop and other property to the North Dakota University System Monday, Chancellor William Goetz said.
“He turned them in and left, so there was no conversation,” Goetz said. “He is on the payroll, but all responsibilities have been taken and he is no longer responsible for conducting any business on behalf of the university.
“The responsibilities rest with the cabinet of the university and myself.”
The dismissal was based on an internal NDUS review, which found 180 people were enrolled at DSU without their knowledge.
McCallum has until 5 p.m. on Thursday to request a review and the State Board of Higher Education will make a final determination as to whether he will be terminated, Goetz said, adding SBHE President Grant Shaft supports the decision to dismiss.
“Dr. McCallum will appeal the notice of intent to terminate,” said Benjamin Thomas, McCallum’s attorney. “It will be done prior to the deadline, certainly.”
Goetz said he doesn’t know if other DSU employees will face disciplinary action for inflated enrollment numbers.
“We’re dealing with two things — enrollment reporting and the conduct of management and leadership and the relationship of management to employees across the campus and these go hand in hand and this is something that we’ll continue to review,” Goetz said.
The situation may compromise the integrity of NDUS enrollment reporting, impact the university system’s credibility and lead to other consequences and sanctions, according to the dismissal letter.
“Other reported concerns may have equally serious consequences,” according to the letter, which Goetz signed. However, he would not elaborate.
He asked McCallum to resign Wednesday and instructed McCallum to call him Thursday.
“Not only did you fail to contact me, but you have refused to respond to repeated attempts by my administrative secretary to contact you, including phone calls to your administrative secretary, your cellphone and your wife at your home, who yesterday reported that you are ‘unavailable,’” Goetz said in the letter. “These actions constitute insubordination.”
Many have stood behind McCallum and signed a letter of support for him.
“I can’t imagine him doing anything such as Chancellor Goetz suggests,” Winifred Stump-Delong said.
Stump-Delong, Dickinson, is a retired DSU dean of arts and sciences.
“I do think he has been chosen to represent those who may have been doing something that should not have been done, but he was without knowledge of it,” she said. “He is, I think, a man of great integrity.”
Dickinson resident Diane Melbye also signed the letter.
“He’s a very ethical and fine human being,” she said. “He’s done so much for DSU.”
She believes there’s “more to the story.”
Ken Haught, DSU interim director of university relations, hopes the matter is resolved quickly.
“We’re shocked and confused at the mistakes that were made,” he said. “Certainly, I don’t want to speculate as to why it was done or how it was done.
“I’ve got to feel bad for the guy, but on the other hand, it’s hard to understand and it is a shock.”
Student orientation was Monday, which Haught said helped put campus focus back where it should be.
It’s unclear why McCallum would have wanted to overstate enrollment numbers.
“There’s no financial gain, other than that those numbers become a consideration when preparing the next budget and it also becomes important in terms of federal reporting … which can also have some fiscal implications,” Goetz said.
McCallum is not allowed on DSU property, except at the president’s house, Goetz said.
The State of the University address, which was scheduled for Aug. 17 has been canceled.
McCallum has not returned numerous phone messages left by The Press beginning Thursday.
A person who answered his home phone Monday hung up.