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Editorial: Congrats Dickinson State spring grads

Congratulations to the Dickinson State University 2012 graduates.

Like all graduates they have been through the usual challenges, but this year's graduates have persevered while their university has been the object of much scrutiny over enrollment numbers and unearned degrees.

Thankfully, no one should doubt that those who received their diplomas thispast weekend didn't earn them.

Thanks to an internal and external audit, their accomplishment will not be overshadowed by what all went on this year.

Credit the new president and his team for seeking the truth, as painful as it was, and sharing what they found.

Still no one could blame DSU President D.C. Coston if he breathed a huge sigh of relief after Saturday's commencement.

This may have been the longest and most challenging year for any university and new president in North Dakota history.

Time for celebration is short, because there is so much to do to put the shortcomings discovered in the audits behind and reestablish the university's credibility.

The violations discovered were not solely the blame of DSU and must be shared with the Chancellor William Goetz and the North Dakota Board of Higher Education.

The system should use DSU as an example of how a good university can deteriorate quickly. Review checks and balances that were not working at DSU, otherwise it never should have gotten so out of hand.

The same expectations that led to the problems at DSU apply to all of North Dakota's public universities and the demands to meet those expectations are just as real at the rest of the schools in the state.

The possibility that similar violations occur at other universities is entirely plausible.

The public needs to know that the university system is functioning as it should, and the only way to be sure is for a thorough external audit of each university and full disclosure of the findings to appease the students, alumni, employers and the public.

Identifying problems and taking corrective action to prevent them from happening again is education in its purest form.

Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.