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Bascuas drops out

Dickinson State University presidential candidate Dr. Joseph Bascuas withdrew his name from contention Tuesday afternoon. Bascuas, who most recently led Medaille College in Buffalo, N.Y., withdrew his name in an e-mail message sent Tuesday aftern...

Dickinson State University presidential candidate Dr. Joseph Bascuas withdrew his name from contention Tuesday afternoon.

Bascuas, who most recently led Medaille College in Buffalo, N.Y., withdrew his name in an e-mail message sent Tuesday afternoon to North Dakota University System Chancellor Bill Goetz and DSU presidential search committee Chairwoman Pam Kostelecky.

The North Dakota Board of Higher Education is scheduled to meet today at DSU's Student Center to interview and name the institution's next president.

DSU's current president, Dr. Lee Vickers, announced his retirement earlier this spring. Vickers intends to retire effective Jan. 1 or as soon thereafter as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

In the e-mail Bascuas states, "This has been a very difficult decision, especially after having seen how great DSU is and after having experienced the very warm reception that everyone there extended toward [wife] Marianne and myself."

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Bascuas said in the e-mail he made his decision for personal and family reasons, after much consideration.

"I wish you and everyone there the best of luck in the future. Thanks for everything," reads the conclusion of Bascuas' e-mail.

NDUS Public Affairs Director Deb Anderson said the information Goetz received is the only insight the office has into Bascuas' decision.

"All I know about it is that I just heard about it at noon (Tuesday), and my understanding is he sent an e-mail to either Mrs. Kostelecky and the chancellor...and simply said he had to withdraw for personal reasons," higher ed board President John Q. Paulsen said.

Today's committee meeting proceeds as planned, with the removal of Bascuas' interview.

"He was going to be the third candidate interviewed," Paulsen said. "We're going to continue, starting at 8 a.m. with the interviews previously scheduled and followed with the second."

Paulsen said instead of the third interview, the committee takes a break, before making a motion to go into executive session to discuss which candidate to name as president.

The two remaining candidates are Dr. Bruce Speck of Austin Peay State University and Dr. Richard McCallum of Missouri Southern State University.

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The higher ed board convenes its meeting today at 7:45 a.m., with a report from Kostelecky.

There is not a set time the board will come out of executive session to make its announcement.

Goetz and Kostelecky, who was in an all-day meeting of the interim Higher Education Committee, did not return messages left for them by press time.

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