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


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 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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  • RCND

    It is good to see they are seeing the concerns finally, this being one symptom of a bigger disease

  • schreib

    The entire higher ed system in this state needs a major overhaul. We need to remember that the ultimate reason and responsibility of the higher ed system is to provide higher education instruction to server primarily the citizens of this state. The system is accountable to those who help pay for this system–the taxpayers of North Dakota. This system should be managed with the taxpayers in mind–to spend responsibly and not to throw money around willy nilly. The cost of an education should also be kept reasonably in line so that most families can afford it without going into major debt for years to come

    • ec99

      ” We need to remember that the ultimate reason and responsibility of the higher ed system is to provide higher education instruction to server primarily the citizens of this state.”
      That may have been the original intent. However, demographics point to the fact that there are not enough ND high school graduates to populate 11 schools. In fact, at UND and NDSU, well over 50% of the students are not from North Dakota. And, the vast percentage of them leave either during their undergraduate career (25% never make it to the sophmore level at UND), or after graduation. ND has been exporting is youth for over a century…college students are just a more recent phenomenon.

  • retirenowconrad

    “I’ve been a supporter of higher education for a long time” meaning what?
    How can someone who allows our university system to waste taxpayer money consider himself a supporter?
    I think Rob is a supporter of higher education by breaking stories about waste.

    • Alan

      Who knows this is about waste? Could be or not be waste. Can we at least wait until facts are known before indicting someone. Was there cost involved? Was the building increased in size to accommodate the space? Did the function of the building change?

      • opinion8ed

        The legislature approved the money based on a plan that did include a 2100 Sq ft office

      • Drain52

        2100 sq ft for ONE person’s office??? That’s bigger than my 3-bedroom house. Trust me. This is waste. (Esp since it replaces 24 other offices.)

  • ec99

    Where on the UND campus are they planning on building?

    • ND Observer

      On the west edge of campus next to UND Aerospace

      • ec99

        Across 42nd from the Hilton or on the same side?

        • Dave

          Where the heck have you been, all knowing Grand Forks curmudgeon? It’s about halfway completed, going up just west of the Skalicky Tech Incubator (Center for Innovation, Television Center, etc.) and just north of the Hilton Garden Inn (as in you can throw a rock from the hotel and hit the new tech center.)

          • ec99

            I’ve never felt worthy enough to venture near Aviation noir the Hilton.

  • opinion8ed

    Great Job Rob.. and we need to Support Glassheim, regardless of party.. it is about wasted money not D’s or R’s or L’s..

  • whowon

    Like the Dems who thought Hagel was great…until the hearing. They will vote for him anyway.

  • schreib

    It think it is about time that higher ed be held accountable to the people and the legislature needs to put a tighter leash around them. Change the constitution. Higher Ed should be no different than any other government department. I hope the folks in my district #31 put forward legislation to change how higher ed is done.

  • two_amber_lamps

    Not only are these Higher Education bureaucrats entitlement driven, they seem shameless in efforts to push the envelope at whatever cost to the taxpayer.

  • Hal414

    Glassheim is a blowhard, I don’t believe one word he says.

    • Drain52

      That hasn’t been my experience. Though I’m usually on the opposite side of the issues with him, I’ve always known him to be courteous.

  • Tim Heise

    Typical academic from california

  • the hammer

    Hamid Shirvani should never have been picked as chancellor of higher ed in ND. The fact that he’s from California should have sent up red flags because he was probably one of those that helped break the financial back of California. The reason we are having all of the problems in higher ed is from importing all of these out of state kooks. The president of DSU who was fired was from Missouri as an example. North Dakota has enough well qualified people to serve in these positions. We don’t need to import trouble, which is what has happened.

  • cylde

    His statement sounds like a campaign fund solicitation, thats a nice racket you have going there, be a shame if i did not keep shoveling tax money into it.