Shirvani left rift in his wake in California

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.”

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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

  • Kevin Flanagan

    The people who hired him should be removed from power and forced to pay all the costs of this fiasco.

  • Tim Heise

    We need to change higner ed system here in ND.

  • RCND

    The Herald finally caught this? wow

    • devilschild

      Exactly what I was thinking. I have “no confidence” in the GFH.

  • ec99

    Some unhappy truths:
    There is no system
    Education has ceased to exist as a mission
    You’ll never get decent candidates to apply for Chancellor due to the history of recruitment
    The SBHE will always be loaded with incompetent politcal hacks
    The Legislature will always try to muscle in