The North Dakota Board of Higher Education has been given great power because it exists through the North Dakota Constitution. It is a fourth branch of our state government. No other state has this arrangement. With that kind of power goes the burden of responsibility.
Recently, I read reports that the board fired the DSU president. Reports of his demise have been exaggerated because Thursday a Higher Education Board member stated that McCallum was not fired. It seems that the board and the chancellor have discovered that the DSU president is entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard, a basic principle of our society.
The president is accused of causing students to become enrolled at DSU on the basis that they enrolled in a DSU sponsored seminar or some such thing and received a grade — an “A” actually, all without their knowledge.
If DSU rules or guidelines are silent or support such a thing, then the problem lies with the rules. If the rules exist and people were enrolled without authority, what’s the harm? It didn’t cost anybody anything and anyway, the records have been reversed. Besides, they did complete a registration process.
Even if it was indeed irregular, I cannot suppose that the president acted alone. One would have to imagine that the president of DSU entered some office “after hours,” so to speak, opened up a computer and entered data which enrolled 180 people and gave them a grade.
I question the board and the chancellor. After all, the board hired McCallum after an extensive search and interview process. And I remind readers that it was this same board and chancellor that cost the taxpayers of North Dakota $1 million when it failed to notice that the former president of North Dakota State University and his wife caused unauthorized renovations and remodeling to the state-owned president’s house in Fargo in an amount of $1 million above what was authorized. The taxpayers paid for that.
The NDSU president was not fired and neither the chancellor nor the board ever explained why someone wasn’t overseeing this project.
The indignant pronouncements of the board and chancellor have a hollow ring.
And now the North Dakota Public Employees Association piles on and prematurely “closes the book” on President McCallum. President McCallum should at least have the opportunity to present his side of the story before someone asks for his head.
Dennis Lindquist, Dickinson