North Dakota University Chancellor Hamid Shirvani has ordered Williston State College to stop housing foreign workers in university housing. Apparently the university had a contract with a company that has been bringing workers from out of the country into the oil patch city to help with the job shortage there, but Shirvani noted in a letter that it wasn’t an appropriate use of taxpayer property.
“Housing foreign workers was not intended when the Legislature authorized bonds or appropriated public funds to build, maintain and operate the facilities,” Shirvani said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press. But the AP sort of buries the lead in the story. Not only were these workers getting cheap room and board courtesy of the taxpayers, but they were getting college credits too without attending classes:
The students paid about $100 per week to live in a temporary housing facility on campus and had access to the college’s food service and recreational facilities. The students were given one hour of college credit for working but never had to attend regular classes at the school, Nadolny said.
That’s a big deal. Not on the same level as Dickinson State University handing out hundreds of bogus degrees to foreign students, completed with fraudulent grades and even some fake students, but still pretty bad.
Why on earth would the university be giving college credits to foreign workers? Perhaps it has something to do with the J-1 visas the workers were in the country on. The J-1 visa is a “work and study” program that is something akin, in its goals, to the foreign exchange student programs in high school. It would appear as though Williston State College was issuing college credits, on some pretty flimsy grounds, to justify the visas.