Attorney General Denies Open Records Request For NDSU Athletics Director Lynn Dorn’s Incident Details


Way back in April I made a request to get the details of an incident between NDSU Women’s Athletic Director Lynn Dorn and a student which led to a reprimand and a suspension for Dorn. The details of the specific incident weren’t made public, and the typically incurious (when it comes to NDSU matters) Fargo media didn’t press the issue.

I felt that the school didn’t have legal justification for keeping the info secret, so I filed an open records request. Not surprisingly, it was denied by NDSU. I filed a complaint with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office, and today Stenehjem sided with NDSU on the complaint, but in a very interesting opinion.

NDSU, always less than helpful in responding to good-faith requests for open records, directed me to a statute which allows them to keep their records secret as long as their is an on-going investigation by the Risk Management department of the Office of Management and Budget. At the time of my request, months and months ago, there apparently was an on-going investigation. It is my understanding, from talking to officials at the AG’s office, that if Risk Management has concluded their investigation the records should now be available.

Assuming NDSU hasn’t since destroyed them (the opinion below does state that NDSU retained a copy).

So now, roughly eight months after my original request, I start the process over again. I’m checking with OMB to see if the investigation is complete. If it is, and how could it not be, I’ll follow-up with another request to NDSU.

Why does all this matter? It’s a matter of principle. NDSU doesn’t just get to keep facts from the public, as embarrassing as they might be for the institution. And since NDSU is a place where a lot of kids from North Daktoa and all over the country go, I’d like to know the details of this incident which involves an official at the university who is still working with students there.

The public, I think, has a right to know no matter how many obstacles NDSU may throw in the way.

North Dakota's AG Opinion

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Roy_Bean

    Let it go. They explained months ago that University matters are way beyond the ability of normal tax payers to understand. We just need to tell our legislators to give them all the money they think they need and butt out.

  • kevindf

    The state bureaucracy and the education cabal are partners in crime.

  • Tim Heise

    Keep up the fight Rob. Thank You.

  • Big Bully

    What did you expect. There is a higher standard for Higher Education – that is in releasing any information on anything to the great wave of unwashed – the street level rabble so to speak. You know, Joe 5 pack (use to be 6 pack). Please realize that Higher Ed is in a “Class” by itself ( no pun intended – no grade just an “audit”).

  • rusty

    The people of North Dakota need to update our Open Records Laws. Either the legislature can do it….or we the people can do it; but it needs to be done.

  • Randy G

    This state will go to any length to not shed a bright light on anything and anyone involving the educational system.

  • veryawfulorv,occasionally

    Well if we can’t get the facts we’ll just have to assume, wont we. My assumption is that Dorn, from her position of power, used that power, and her tongue, to say hello to the young ladies Clitoris. And I’m taking bets that I’m right.

  • borborygmi

    Rob Port: Altruistic hero or The Blog worlds imitation of Paparazzi.

    “Just give me something-something I can use
    People love it when you lose,
    They love dirty laundry ”

    One things for sure don’t piss him off.

    • Rob

      I guess I consider efforts by the university system to avoid transparency and hide the details of transgressions by state employees to be newsworthy.

  • howiseeit

    You’d think NDSU would learn given the BS at Penn St.

  • spud

    Go Bison kick butt again this week. Another championship would be icing on a great season.