Lawmakers hear higher ed concernsBISMARCK — Republican Rep. Al Carlson told a joint committee Monday there are many concerns over the current higher education climate, and it needs to be changed.
By: TJ Jerke, Forum News Service
BISMARCK — Republican Rep. Al Carlson told a joint committee Monday there are many concerns over the current higher education climate, and it needs to be changed.
“Do I think it’s working smoothly? You read the paper and can decide for yourself,” the Fargo lawmaker said during a hearing over his proposal to restructure the current higher education system.
Carlson, and four other lawmakers, have each proposed varying resolutions that would allow voters to change how the State Board of Higher Education and University System operates to provide for accountability and structure — two things some say are missing.
The resolutions come as the state board and University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani are under fire over Shirvani’s blunt leadership style and accusations of open-meeting law violations since he took over the post in July.
The resolutions — four from the House and one from the Senate — range from creating an elected position to oversee the university system, to allowing more public input on state board decisions and Carlson’s proposal to create a department of higher education.
The governor would appoint a director, who serves a three-year term.
“Over the last three years there’s been a real shift in policy. If you ask college presidents, most of them fear for their jobs because they have been told they are either not qualified or insubordinate,” Carlson said during a hearing Monday on his proposal. “I don’t think that’s the way we want to run the system.”
Shirvani was president at California State University, Stanislaus before he was hired last year over three other finalists. His yearly salary is $349,000.
Carlson’s resolution completely overhauls the current system and does not create an advisory committee like the state board — two issues the state board is worried about.
Laura Glatt, vice chancellor of academic affairs, speaking against the proposal on behalf of the board of higher ed, said an individual can’t perform large projects on their own, such as setting statewide policies and budgets, but “having a true governing board with representation from across the state to actually make such policy decisions provides for a far greater range and depth of input.”