Fired Dickinson State University President Says He Was The Victim Of A Corrupt University System
It’s been about a month since the last update on the enrollment scandal at Dickinson State University.
For the last week, the players involved have been a part of an on-going Administrative Hearing that former president of DSU, Richard McCallum requested as a means of discrediting the decision to fire him.
The general feeling coming out of these hearings seems to be that McCallum is trying to portray DSU as a “culture of corruption” that he walked into and could not fix, even as president of the university.
McCallum himself testified (KFYR-TV video) that he was “amazed by the level of investigation taking place” that he was not aware was happening.
Dr. Richard McCallum says he did not know about all of the investigations and audits at the university until just over a week ago.
McCallum testified that he knew it was wrong to submit false data, but stated several times he thought the questions over enrollment numbers had been resolved months before he was dismissed.
He says he was not included in any of the discussions about enrollment problems, so he was not able to be a part of the solution.
“I did not know there was a continuing investigation with all these documents. I`m amazed at the level of communication that took place without me picking up on it,” said McCallum.
McCallum seems to be setting the stage to claim that Chancellor Bill Goetz was undermining his authority by not involving him with the investigation. He is acting like he had no clue about the things being investigated, or that there was even an investigation going on. (Something that anyone on a small college campus knows would not be kept secret very long.)
However, McCallum’s subordinates at DSU tell a very different story about his involvement in the activities that were being investigated.
According to the Associated Press reports of the hearings, there are very divergent views by DSU officials as to McCallum’s role in the falsely reported enrollment figures.
Dr. Richard Brauhn, a former Dickinson State vice president for academic affairs, testified Wednesday that he believed enrolling students without their knowledge was “tantamount to identity theft.” Brauhn retired in June.
Brauhn said during an August 2009 meeting of campus administrators to discuss the expected fall enrollment, McCallum stood and said, “I will not be the president that presides over a declining enrollment at DSU.”
(See also: KFYR-TV video here of Dr. Brauhn’s testimony)
Brauhn said he and McCallum later argued about whether all the participants in a scheduled symposium should be included in Dickinson State’s enrollment. Brauhn said only a few were eligible.
“I said, basically, that one, it was unethical and illegal” to enroll every participant, Brauhn said he told McCallum.
“You don’t enroll students in courses that they have no knowledge of being enrolled in, and then give them credit for the courses,” Brauhn said
“He was very, very upset,” Tim Daniel, Dickinson State’s athletics director, said Wednesday of McCallum’s remarks to an August 2010 meeting of administrators to discuss the fall semester’s expected enrollment. Daniel, the longtime men’s basketball coach at Dickinson State, had been named athletic director the month before.
“He ended the conversation by slamming his fist onto the table, and then he picked up his coat and briefcase and walked out of the room and left the group there, just to sit there,” Daniel said.
One thing is becoming clear, McCallum certainly created a climate where DSU staff felt declining enrollment was not acceptable, and DSU staff implemented policies to counter act that possibility. Whether or not he ordered staffers to falsify documents, or they simply read between the lines, is probably up for debate.
From an outside observer’s perspective, McCallum’s lawyer has done a pretty good job of portraying the situation in such a way that it seems like everybody was operating behind each others’ backs.
It seems that Chancellor Bill Goetz was playing both sides. On the one hand he and the University System’s auditors were investigating the situation without McCallum knowing. On the other hand, he was working to keep members of the public employees union quiet.
It really is a Comedy of Errors. Everybody involved is at fault in one way or another.
If the entire Higher Education System was not so worried about constantly showing record enrollment, there would have been no problem.
If Chancellor Bill Goetz would have been more worried about doing an above-board investigation, and less worried about keeping DSU staffers quiet during the legislative session, the problem would have worked itself out much earlier.
The moral of this story is clear - when organizations are managed by fear and intimidation, it’s just a matter of time before something bad happens.Tags: bill goetz, dickinson state university, higher education, North Dakota News, richard mccaullum