Golden Parachutes And Raises In The Wake Of The Dickinson State Fiasco
Some Dickinson State University employees who were named as part of the wrongdoings highlighted in a February 28, 2012 Performance Audit (the one outgoing Higher Ed Chancellor Bill Goetz lied about to the legislature) remain employed at the university. Others are moving on with “golden parachutes,” and despite the ugliness of the scandal, the position of President got a big raise.
Meanwhile, aside from former DSU President Richard McCallum, there have apparently been no formal discipline proceedings against anyone involved in the fraudulent diplomas, fraudulent grading and misappropriated funds at the university.
Vice President for Business Affairs Alvin Binstock and Controller Mark Lowe were aware of problems in the account of school funds – most notably the Roughrider Scholarship Fund – as well as problems with foreign students receiving grades and diplomas they hadn’t earned. Both feature prominently in the aforementioned audit.
Yet, not only has there not been disciplinary action against either man, but Mr. Lowe remains in his position while Mr. Binstock was allowed to quietly retire last week – effective June 30th – with a $40,366 payment due January 31st, 2013, and health insurance until age 65 according to an open records request made to the school.
Meanwhile incoming President D.C. Coston got a significant raise over his disgraced predecessor Richard McCallum. McCallum’s salary was $176,782. President Coston’s current salary is $205,320, a $28,538 raise.
A big raise for the leadership of a university so thoroughly embroiled in scandal that there was (and and still is, I’m told) some doubt as to whether or not they would be able to keep their accreditation is hardly seemly. Obviously, Mr. Coston wasn’t involved in the original scandals, but not should the occasion of scandal be an excuse for bloating already inflated university salaries.
Keep in mind, also, that among DSU’s faculty remain many personnel who were complicit in the grade fixing that was the cornerstone of the “diploma mill” scheme. Unless this personnel is terminated, they will be entrusted for handing out more grades to future students despite their past involvement in fraud.
Something tells me that we shouldn’t be holding our breath waiting for action.
AS we can see, the approach of higher education “leadership” here in North Dakota is to sweep this scandal under the rug as quickly as possible as the state’s higher education apologists (like Mr. Lloyd Omdahl) blame the legislature and Fighting Sioux fans for the $1.2 billion system’s problems.
North Dakota’s higher education problems will continue because the state’s university system is run not buy educators but by bureaucratic empire builders who are accountable to nobody. Nor will the state’s political class do anything – aside from a few brave souls in the legislature – because the independence granted to the university system by the state’s constitution allows them to complain and gnash their teeth but ultimately punt on the problems, pointing out that they are powerless over the system by law.
We need reform. Badly. But before we can get to that point, we need to convince some blinkered higher education partisans in the state that there is, in fact, a problem.Tags: Alvin Binstock, bill goetz, D.C. Coston, dickinson state university, North Dakota News, richard mccallum