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Students sign petition labeling UND president Kennedy 'unfit'

GRAND FORKS, N.D.—An online petition started by University of North Dakota students to protest the administrative approach to campus budget cuts labeled university President Mark Kennedy as "unqualified and unfit" to represent the institution.

UND senior Madison Berns, a philosophy student, said she and a group of students drafted the petition because they felt "our voices haven't been heard at all" in the reduction process. The petition states administrators have "kept the students in the dark about their plans to gut our liberal arts programs."

Berns said she understood budget cuts were mandatory but believed the process of identifying reduction areas has been closed off to the students. As of Thursday night, the petition had gathered about 420 supporters.

A day earlier, Twitter users started the handles @RogueUND and @MyUNDnotYours. Both feeds support the petition in protest of campus budget reductions.

By Thursday evening, someone had hung fliers in academic buildings with the @MyUNDnotYours handle, urging students to "resist the UND administration" against cuts to liberal arts programs.

As for the petition, Berns said students need to "voice our concerns now, before cuts become permanent."

"I'm hoping to see more transparency from administrators, an actual dialogue about where cuts are going to come from," she said. "I would like to see the administration be held accountable for what's happening."

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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