Dickinson State University faculty senate: No pressure for no confidenceDickinson State University former faculty senate president Steven Doherty said Tuesday no pressure was put on faculty senate to abstain from a vote of no confidence, despite media reports alleging there was.
Dickinson State University former faculty senate president Steven Doherty said Tuesday no pressure was put on faculty senate to abstain from a vote of no confidence, despite media reports alleging there was.
DSU faculty have contemplated a vote of no confidence for the campus president within the last year, he said, which is a message to the North Dakota University System that they don’t have faith in the president’s leadership.
NDUS officials are planning a hearing to determine whether Dr. Richard McCallum will be dismissed as DSU president after a review allegedly found enrollment numbers were inflated under his direction. Other issues with McCallum have been alleged and are being reviewed.
NDUS System Chancellor William Goetz confirmed he talked to Doherty in March about a no-confidence vote.
“He said that he did not consider it a good idea,” Doherty said. “I didn’t feel he made any direct pressure and no vote of no confidence came, so it never really was censored or anything like that.”
Doherty said the faculty senate was made aware of the conversation with Goetz, but they were free to vote if they chose to, which they didn’t.
“He wanted my thoughts relative to the timing of such a vote and I said ‘well we have a legislative session going on,’” Goetz said. “It’s just something you may want to think about in terms of any impact that might have.”
State Board of Higher Education President Grant Shaft said there is no reason to believe Goetz put pressure on anybody to abstain from a vote.
Shaft said despite perception that officials did not act soon enough on enrollment and other issues at DSU, the correct procedures were followed. An internal audit began shortly after NDUS was made aware of possible enrollment problems in February, officials said.
“We don’t take a termination lightly, by any means and particularly with the president of a university and therefore the board wasn’t going to take any action … until we had a final report because that would be premature,” he said.
There are several other audits and assessments taking place at DSU as well, Goetz said.
A routine risk assessment by an external organization and a routine audit by the Office of the State Auditor are being conducted at all NDUS campuses, he said.
“In addition to that I’m asking the (state) auditor to look at several other areas that relate to both fiscal matters as well as performance,” Goetz said.
NDUS officials will continue reviewing DSU’s athletic department in light of allegations of possible mishandling of financial aid as well as an incident with McCallum’s laptop, he said.
Goetz told McCallum to turn in his laptop and other university property by Aug. 8, but also told him not to enter DSU buildings.
McCallum allegedly sent others employed by DSU into the president’s office to retrieve the laptop, Goetz said.
Campus security responded to the incident, he said but doesn’t believe any information was tampered with or that it caused any further issues.
“This was poorly handled,” Goetz said. “There’s a proper way to do this in terms of getting the right people with the right responsibilities to do this sort of thing.”
Calls to the state auditor’s office and McCallum’s attorney, Benjamin Thomas, were not immediately returned.