NDUS Chancellor Meets With Governor Dalrymple, Bresciani Gets His Lawyer In The University System Office

President_bresciani

According to a source in the capitol, new North Dakota University System Chancellor Larry Skogen was seen going into Governor Jack Dalrymple’s office today. Skogen took over after the turbulent tenure of former Chancellor Hamid Shirvani and promised to “heal” the university system.

But there’s been little of that in his first days in office what with a major scandal over deleted emails at North Dakota State University, and that institution’s President Dean Bresciani accusing the system office of “compromising” his email inbox.

I sent a request for comment to Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent earlier today and received no response. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that room.

In related news, the reshuffling of personnel at the NDUS office that I posted about previously is absolutely taking place. A university system source tells me that there was an effort to terminate certain people who weren’t going along with Bresciani’s story on the emails. If that’s true, no terminations have happened yet, but there have absolutely been one change.

NDUS General Counsel Claire Holloway, whose email to Legislative Council was the first acknowledgment that tens of thousands of Bresciani’s emails had been deleted, is being “promoted” (that’s the spin according to a legislative source) and her replacement is, I’m not joking, NDSU Legal Counsel Craig Wilson.

Or the same guy Legislative Council thinks sent them an incomplete response to a request for Bresciani’s emails. Also the same guy I won an open records complaint against after he wanted to change me $2,000 to get copies of some emails previously.

In other words, in the midst of a controversy over broken open records laws and missing emails, we’re replacing the lawyer who communicated the fact that emails were deleted to the legislature with a lawyer who not only worked for the president being accused of breaking open records laws but has also tried (in my opinion) to sandbag requests for emails in the past.

I guess that’s just how the healing process is gonna go in the NDUS.

Discussion question: Given the absolute turmoil the university system is in – with Chancellor’s getting canned, allegations of major open records violations and a university president accusing his bosses of hacking his email – where has Governor Dalrymple been? Where’s his leadership? Where are his calls for accountability?

The problems in the university system could really use an “adult in the room” right now, and there’s nobody better suited to that task than the governor. But because of the much-heralded “independence” of the university system, which is set up as a sort of fourth branch of government accountable to no elected leader, Dalrymple has no political obligation to do any such thing.

If you could put your finger on one source of all the problems in higher education in North Dakota, it’s that lack of responsibility and accountability. The independence of the university system must be ended.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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.

Related posts

  • Thank You Rob

    This is Governor Jack’s mess. His higher education board appointments allowed these disasters to happen under his watch. He hasn’t done a damn thing scandal after scandal. He’s now in cover his ass mode because he realized his Fargo Foolem sockpuppets aren’t as powerful as he thought. Rob thank you for giving we the people a voice.

    • RobertD

      After Shirvani was named Chancellor, Governor Jack made three appointments. One good, Kathy Neset One mediocre Don Morton, and one horrible appointment Kari Reichert who was neither mature enough to be a board member nor understood the role. She constantly worked to undermine the Chancellor and secure the votes to remove him because she did not like it that the institutions shortcomings were being exposed.

      • Thank You Rob

        Jack hides behind the higher Ed board’s fourth branch status. It’s an excuse to pretend publicly he’s an outside observer & hence we never hear from him about the problems. However we all know Jack runs higher ed behind the scenes. He worked to oust Shirvani. He’s on the same team with King Bresciani, King Kelley, & King Fuller, & Chancellor Skogen.

  • Ratbite

    Are you surprised? It’s soooo extremely obvious who runs Higher Ed in North Dakota & it’s not the citizens. Higher ed in North Dakota is being run by the Three Kings, David I of MSU, Robert I of UND & Dean I of NDSU. Like I’ve said the problem is the university leadership is answerable to no one. Thank you Jack Dalrymple & the Republican controlled legislature.

    • Thank You Rob

      Not only those clowns. Look behind the scenes and find the local interests that control the schools and politicians. They deserve blame for this mess also.

  • ec99

    This is one of the consequences of a state which has been subject to one party rule for over two decades.

  • RobertD

    From my contacts within NDUS and at NDSU there is no question the emails were deleted by Bresciani or a proxy, his assistant could be one. There were no malicious access by NDUS personnel and the only activity against Bresciani’s account was retrieving emails in response to open records requests. The 45,000 emails were deleted sometime in the two weeks prior to May 1st. There is a possibility some of those emails had been sitting in his trash bin for a considerable time and when he finally deleted his trash bin the emails went into what they call a recovery file that can be retrieved from backup for 14 days.

    There is no doubt that Ms. Ness was demoted and others are targeted for “promotion” at the demand of the King Presidents, Kari Reichert and Kirsten Diederich. Acting Chancellor Skogen lied to Dave Thompson yesterday when he said no one had been fired or demoted. I expect his visit with the Governor was not very pleasant as the Governor wanted things to go away quietly.

    Shirvani tried to improve a higher education system through accountability, metrics, and efficiencies in operations that did not want improvement. If the same people are allowed to control the dialogue before the vote in 2014 nothing will happen.

  • Captjohn

    I don’t think it is accurate to accuse all Republicans for the mess in higher ed. I as majority leader with Maj. Ldr. Nelson and Gov. Schafer tried to straighten things out a decade ago. Majority Leader Carlson has gotten a ballot measure in front of the voters that may change the dynamics. I am waiting to see what the present Governors position will be on that measure.
    If there was a problem in the legislature it was in the Senate. A research of the records will reveal which Senators were protecting the status quo.

    • ec99

      There is a long parade of SBHE members dating back more than two decades whose only qualification for the position has been being a former legislator, a Republican bigwig, or a spouse of same. This is what happens when political patronage rears its ugly head.

  • Captjohn

    Ec99 then we must go back to Gov. Sinner’s appointees. During the early part of the 90′s it was his appointees who remained on the board who facilitated the beginning of the mess you are experiencing today. If there is anything I know for sure it is that the present situation did’t start with Shirvani it dates back decades.

    • ec99

      Of course it didn’t. Sinner is by no means guiltless. Everyone sat by when the SBHE threw out it’s own requirements for Chancellor, and hired Larry Isaak. Why? because they thought he could get along with the Legislature. Thing was, they paid him the same salary as what the qualified person (PhD, higher ed admin and teaching experience) would have made. And, he was absolutely ineffective. If you want a competent board, you do NOT hire cronies. As I’ve said before, Espegard and Shaft are only the most recent examples of the patronage system.

      • RobertD

        They were legislators but Diederich, Reichert and Hjemstead are absolutely incompetent as board members.

    • Thank You Rob

      Politicians are merely puppets. Who controls them? That’s where you’ll find those ultimately responsible for this mess. As an example in Fargo Governor Jack is controlled by the likes of John Q Paulsen, Doug Burgum, and the rest of their crony capitalist crew. Those same vested interests control the Fargo legislators, Senator Grindberg & King Bresciani. It doesn’t matter if the Governor has R or D next to their name. It’s those local interests in control who pull the strings. Multiply that scenario across every city in North Dakota and that’s why we have this higher Ed mess.

  • DaveH63

    How hard would it be to run a recall election on Dalyrmple. We need a strong message sent that the buck stop somewhere

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      As much as Dalrymple deserves to be dinged for not, you know, leading, we’d be better off amending the constitution to specifically assign responsibility for the university system to him.

      • DaveH63

        Ya but he should have headed it off at the pass. Trying to fix seems pretty blasé. Recalling a sitting Govenor sure seems like a lot more fun

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          You’re not going to find enough angst over higher ed to oust a guy who just won election with nearly 70% of the vote.

          • DaveH63

            sometimes you can shame people into acting. You would think it was already getting to that point though.

Top