Other Views: Senate sends wrong message with vote on chancellorOne day after voting against an amendment to provide money to buy out the contract of Hamid Shirvani, the chancellor of the state university system, the North Dakota Senate reversed course. In the second vote, the amendment passed as several senators changed their minds overnight.
By: Williston Herald, The Associated Press
One day after voting against an amendment to provide money to buy out the contract of Hamid Shirvani, the chancellor of the state university system, the North Dakota Senate reversed course. In the second vote, the amendment passed as several senators changed their minds overnight.
While Shirvani has been far from a peace-loving leader of the university system, the state Senate was dead wrong in this vote.
First of all, the way the university system is set up, state lawmakers have no control over the chancellor. And that’s a good thing. The Board of Higher Education has the authority to hire and fire the chancellor because the board knows more about the needs of the university system than state lawmakers do.
After an extensive search, the board hired Shirvani last year because he was the right person to make necessary changes to the state’s system. Shirvani was not hired so he could get along with college presidents and students and he was not hired to appease lawmakers. He was hired to make changes the board feels is necessary to improve college education in North Dakota.
And by making those changes, Shirvani has upset the apple cart a little bit.
We see nothing wrong with that.
Leaders are not defined by how many friends they have, but by how much success they have. With less than a year on the job, it is way too soon to say whether Shirvani has been a success.
Having the North Dakota Senate jump in and intervene less than a year after the chancellor was hired sends a bad message. The good news is the state House has an opportunity to send its own message.
Before the Senate’s plan to buy out the chancellor can become law, it must first work its way through the House.
All indications are the House will kill the plan, returning the authority over the chancellor to the proper place — the Board of Higher Education.
The North Dakota Legislature has many important decisions to make over the next few weeks. Trying to make decisions for other independent boards just makes no sense.