Officials Confirm There Are No Active State Investigations Into Dickinson State Scandal
According to incoming Higher Education Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, the review of the Dickinson State University enrollment scandal is going well. So reports the Associated Press, detailing Shirvani’s comments to a recent meeting of the State Board of Higher Education. The same meeting at which officials concluded they need $8 million to hire 30 more staff (a price that’s over $266,000/new employee) for oversight.
But while university officials like Shirvani, who said just weeks ago the university system “doesn’t need fixing,” are satisfied with how things are going at DSU, those interested in justice have reason to believe otherwise.
The Dickinson State University scandal involved fake diplomas and made-up grades given to fake or fraudulently-enrolled students. It involved falsified records and misappropriated university funds. And even as many of the faculty complicit in that scandal continue to work at the university, even as the officials who had oversight over these areas are allowed to resign and slip away sometimes with on-going benefits, there are no active investigations by state law enforcement into the problems at DSU.
“I am unaware of any on-going investigation concerning DSU,” Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said to me in an email responding to an inquiry. “I forwarded a matter to the NDHP which resulted in no action and was so advised by the NDHP.”
I also contacted Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office and was told by an official there that while the Bureau of Criminal Investigations is an agency that assists other agencies when requested, and that they don’t normally confirm involvement in an investigation, they could confirm to me that they are not involved in any investigation involving Dickinson State University.
A call to the local FBI office did indicate that the federal government has agents engaged in an on-going investigation at the university, but they wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.
So the fraud and theft perpetrated on the students and taxpayers at Dickinson State University is, aside from a federal investigation, getting completely overlooked by state officials while higher education officials work to smooth things over and move on as quickly as possible.
Is that justice? This is a state where a former director of the worker’s compensation agency, Sandy Blunt, was investigated and prosecuted for misappropriating funds by giving out coupons for massages and car washes. Yet we can’t get a single indictment for university officials who gave out fake diplomas?
That may be a bigger scandal than what happened at DSU.
Meanwhile, everybody gets raises!Tags: dickinson state university, higher education, North Dakota News, tom henneing, Wayne Stenehjem