Holiday News Dump: Dickinson State Releases Awful Campus Quality Survey Results


The North Dakota University System was, earlier this month, tried to get away with releasing a heavily redacted version of Dickinson State University’s latest campus quality survey. Even the results released to the public were pretty embarrassing for the university, but higher ed officials redacted specific comments put into the surveys by faculty and staff at the university and sicced their lawyers on reporters asking to see the full report.

North Dakota’s university officials are used to being able to bully the media, and usually the state’s reporters are pliant, but this time around they stuck to their guns and the full report has been released.

On New Year’s Eve, with the report from the Dickinson Press being filed on New Year’s Day, when most North Dakotans are no doubt recovering from the holiday celebrations.

The lengths to which the university system will go to avoid transparency and accountability never cease to amaze.

The Press doesn’t really include a lot of the specific comments from the CQS, so I’ve requested a copy from the NDUS office. I’ll post the full reporter here on the blog when I get it.

Suffice it to say that, while Governor Jack Dalrymple alluded to the problems at Dickinson State University and elsewhere in the university system as mere “distractions” in his recent budget address to the legislature, the issues run much deeper than that.

From top to bottom, the university system is being managed incompetently, and dishonestly.

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.

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  • RCND

    What is also interesting here is how the campus surveys are no longer a requirement of the entire system after 2010. Seems to me they want to hide problems at other campuses, and a good way to do that is to simply not ask questions. Funding is a bad excuse too. Their IT departments can set up surveys online at no to little cost.

    • Roy_Bean

      Surveys are too expensive, it would cut into the airplane budget. This is just another example of the belief by the leadership that employees, like taxpayers, aren’t intelligent enough to understand the system and therefore their opinions have no value.

      • Confused

        Notice who replaced Richard McCallum at Dickinson State? DC Coston, who worked for NDSU’s Research Technology Park under presidents Chapman and Bresciani prior. Whatever happened to the Confucius Institute that was planned at NDSU along with Dickinson State University in 2010? Didn’t Coston attend the China trip with Dickinson State University in 2010 that began the Confucius Institute processes at both schools? Kinda looks like the fox watching the hen house? Confucius article around page 16.

    • Ridiculous

      Bill Goetz cancelled accountability measures, campus quality surveys at each institution were a major part of these “cornerstones”, in June 2010. That’s the same time he was going back and forth about a pay raise and contract extension for Richard McCallum at Dickinson State. That’s the same time Goetz announced his retirement. That’s the same time Dickinson State issues were beginning to see the light of day. The accounatbility measures were a state mandate, part of the Higher Ed Rountable that began in early 2000’s. They’re basically the only real measures of how well, or poor, institutions are run. This, I believe, is an attempt to whitewash the past decade of information relating to the campauses. Goetz cancelled them because legislators had the gaul to try and hold higher ed accountable for out of control spending by cutting higher ed funding. Goetz thumbed his nose at legislators by cancelling these.

  • guest

    Why isn’t the Bismarck Tribune reporting on this? How about KFYR or KX News? Why does state media refuse to put the Dickinson State University scandal pieces together? I guess this “news” is more important than corruption, Working in the Winter Or how about this, Getting a Safe Ride Home Better yet, Upgrades Planned at Ft. Lincoln
    What a joke. North Dakota media in lockstep with the government it is supposed to keep in check. Thank God Rob has the guts to call them out for their bs. But look what happens to Rob and others who speak the truth. They get unfairly vilified, tarred and feathered.

    • RCND

      That’s because the ND media, especially TV, excels at covering news that makes us smile. They also fear taking on any controversy because they are too inbred with those that should be taken on.

  • more information

    Hal Haynes described 2010 DSU and NDSU trip to China part of North Dakota Trade Office trade mission on page 4 of this link

    This 2010 state trade mission resulted in beginning of Confucius Institutes at DSU and NDSU.

  • Lynn Bergman

    All these years I’ve chided Minnesotans for creating the People’s Republic of Minnesota. But never did I ever dream that North Dakota would be knocking on the door of serious socialist ideas; the “teflon-coated elite education oligarchy” is leading the way with misinformation and outright cover-ups.
    It’s time some indictments were delivered!

    • more information3

      This might shed light on a reason, Governor Dalrymple has business interests associated with China. Notice this article about a deal between China owned Glencore and Viterra (Dalrymple’s company, Dakota Pasta Growers, sold to Viterra in March 2010. That’s the same time the Governor was in China with Dickinson State and NDSU officials beginning the Confucius Institutes).
      Take note, this Glencore-Viterra deal may be linked to billion dollar oil deal between China owned oil company CNOOC and nexen