With North Dakota legislators discussing a proposal to allow a buyout of his three-year contract just seven months after he was tapped to head the state’s public universities, faculty from his former university say the institution is still recovering from the “rift” he left behind.
Shirvani served as president of California State University-Stanislaus from 2005 to 2012 before becoming chancellor last July.
Lynn Johnson, an accounting professor and former chairwoman of the Academic Senate that represents faculty at the school, said problems came up well before a November 2009 vote of 264 professors in which 91 percent expressed no confidence in his leadership.
“Ham has a very aggressive and authoritarian management style that just doesn’t work here, and I doubt that it works much in most university environments,” she said.
Shirvani said that vote came about after he made a tough, but necessary, decision to end the university’s winter term. He said previous presidents had tried for more than two decades to discontinue it, only to face pressure to keep it going.
“The different presidents backed down because they knew it was very simple, and they knew what was going to be the cost,” he said. “Not everybody wants to go through the humiliation of a vote of no confidence.”