Democrat Legislator Not Sure How Much Longer He Can Defend Higher Education

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Scott Hennen had a very interesting interview with Rep. Eliot Glassheim on his show today, talking about the story SAB broke earlier this morning regarding Chancellor Hamid Shirvani trying to install a big personal office into a new IT building going in on the University of North Dakota campus.

“From what I know it looks to me like the Chancellor’s ill advised to proceed with this,” Glassheim told Hennen. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It seems like a usurpation and it opens some deep wounds that were ruling.”

President Robert Kelley at UND is refusing to sign off on the plan, which deviates significantly from what the legislature approved, but Shirvani and the State Board of Higher Education want to move forward with it.

“The UND president is sticking up for what he understands the legisalture approved,” said Glassheim. “That seems like a sound position to me.”

Earlier today spokesperson Linda Donlin of the North Dakota University System described the office as “multiple use” and said it would facilitate the chancellor’s campus visits. But Glassheim isn’t convinced it’s necessary.

“I don’t know why we’re picking at a scab just to have a 2,100 square foot office,” said Glassheim. “I don’t see why he needs it.”

Glassheim said that even legislators loyal to the university system are beginning to lose their patience. “I’ve been a supporter of higher ed for a long time,” he said, “but it’s getting to be where I’m not sure how much I can defend this kind of take over.”

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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