Guest Post: Give Ham A Chance

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When I read the Inforum column posted earlier this week entitled, “Public college students express “no confidence” in university chancellor, support buyout” the following verse came to mind.

For one thing, it is indelibly etched in my brain for life, and for another, I had spent an hour with Chancellor Ham Shirvani on the Legislature Today radio show which I co-hosted with Dale Wetzel last evening.

“I am Sam, Sam I am. I do not like Green Eggs and Ham.” — Dr. Seuss

Most parents of pre-schoolers have read, re-read and because of the 4-beat rhythm used in the composition of the classic work, “Green Eggs and Ham’ I would venture to guess many have it memorized.

The message is pretty straightforward: The protagonist, “Sam” has decided he does not like green eggs and ham no matter how the antagonist created by Seuss presents the fare. After a very long list is compiled, the plot thickens and the truth comes out: “Sam” has never really tried green eggs and Ham!

We know that when he does, he likes it, retraces his steps through former obstacles become opportunities and voilla! We have taught our little darlings a valuable life lesson:

Always try before you cry (or something like that).

I’m not a genius like Seuss, but you probably catch the drift -This whole “resolution of no-confidence” from the North Dakota Students Association – sounds a lot like Sam.

This “decision” is not necessarily a well-informed and objective assessment of Ham Shirvani as the chancellor of the University Campuses in North Dakota.

In my opinion, it is a thinly veiled guise for a system that is not interested in a hands on, no-nonsense chancellor who has done his homework.

Shirvani has brought forth some facts and figures that are startling to say the least. UND and NDSU tout the distinction of graduating only 23% of its starting freshmen in the university system after four years (National Average is 31%). In fact, after 6 years, just over half of those students are out of school. He has also expressed a need for staff to implement guidelines and standards, which by any other name are another nuisance to college presidents, Accountability.

Don’t get me wrong – the Board of Higher Education has had its share of problems with accountability for sure, but throwing $700,000 at the system to rid it of its latest “challenge” is hardly the answer.

Since the students seems to have lost the life lesson offered by Dr. Seuss in “Green Eggs and Ham,” how about a more age appropriate solution from the 60′s or 70′s…

“All we are saying is give Ham a chance”

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