Update: Dickinson State University President McCallum fired; decision unanimousFARGO (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education on Thursday fired a college president accused of inflating enrollment totals.
FARGO (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education on Thursday fired a college president accused of inflating enrollment totals.
Dickinson State University's Richard McCallum had been suspended with pay since early August, when an auditor's report showed that he padded the numbers. McCallum has said the enrollment reporting errors were corrected and didn't hurt the university.
McCallum refused a request from the university system chancellor to resign, and he received a weeklong hearing in October. An administrative law judge who presided over the hearing recommended that McCallum be fired.
Grant Shaft, the board's president, cited the judge's report after the board members emerged from a closed door meeting.
“The administrative law judge determined that all of that was reasonable and proper on the part of the chancellor,” Shaft said.
McCallum's lawyer, Benjamin Thomas, was not immediately available for comment.
Shaft said D.C. Coston will continue as interim president at the school and the board should gauge his interest in taking over fulltime before deciding whether to name a search committee. Coston would not comment on whether he wants the job.
“Until I'm approached about it, we're just going to let this thing play out,” he said in an interview.
Coston received an unofficial endorsement from William Goetz, the university system chancellor.
“Based on what I've seen so far, I think D.C. has done a good job,” Goetz said during a break in the meeting.
McCallum, 62, was named president in 2008. The board said he pushed subordinates to deliberately inflate the school's enrollment totals in the fall of 2010. North Dakota university system officials say the September 2010 count of 2,482 students was padded by about 7 percent.
Shaft said the judge disputed claims made during the hearing that administrators feel pressured by the board and Legislature to increase enrollment.
“In fact, we don't have a funding mechanism that involves enrollment head count,” Shaft said. “Therefore, and these are my words, any claims about pressure to increase enrolments at Dickinson State University are simply not founded.”