The North Dakota University System Didn’t Do Themselves Any Favors Yesterday


State Board of Higher Education President Duaine Espegard dismissed the controversy over a huge, 2,300 square foot “chancellor’s suite” in an IT building on the University of North Dakota campus as “foolishness” yesterday in committee testimony. University officials were also quick to spin the issue, claiming that the issue over where the chancellor will work while visiting UND and other campuses is trivial.

Which has me wondering, if it’s so gosh darned trivial, why did they change the plans to include a 2,300 square foot office in the first place? Because an office that size – probably larger than the homes most North Dakotans live in – displacing space for 24 cubicles for IT workers (for whom the building was intended) certainly isn’t trivial.

It’s a sure sign that our university officials have grown a bit too comfortable with free spending and lavish amenities when a gigantic office intended only for occasional use is dismissed as “trivial.”

KXNet – Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson

Apparently Senator Grindberg hasn’t yet submitted his amendment to call for Chancellor Shirvani’s buyout, and word is Grindberg will be joining with other legislators in backing a bill to dissolve the current governing structure of the university system and replace it with something else. Perhaps Shirvani’s buyout will come as a part of that bill.

Regardless, the need for such reform was apparent in the largely dishonest and self-serving testimony given by Espegard, Shaft and Shirvani.

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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  • whowon

    If you get any word when these bills might be coming up, be sure to post!

    • Roy_Bean

      We probably wouldn’t be smart enough to understand them anyway.

  • headward

    How much money has higher ed burned through each year? Think of the surplus we would have if the state sold off the colleges(if anybody would buy them).

  • RCND

    Their big mistake was putting The Shaft back up on the podium. He should have stayed buried in obscurity

  • whowon

    Perhaps ND HE will offer a course like Minnesota and Illinois…understanding a women’s orgasm. Unbelievable.

    • Dave

      Your wife called …. That might be a good course for you. (:

  • Enough with the Corruption

    It’s far past time for Gov. Dalrymple to speak out on the higher ed scandals. Where does he stand on this? Is he going to take control of this out of control situation? Enough with the silence. These higher ed scandals are not “unfortunate distractions” these are very serious issues that need fixing now.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      Dalrymple hides behind Barb Peske.

      • Opinion8ed

        He is thinking up vote buying schemes

  • ND Observer

    It is becoming more clear that Shirvani does not have have the temperament to be a good chancellor. He is obsessed with power, image, and the perks of office (including BIG offices). We should go back to a Commissioner of Higher Ed reporting to the Governor with the BHE as advisors. Larry Isaak was the last sensible leader in that position.

    • Enough with the Corruption

      I agree. Anything is better then what we got, but I’d prefer a BHE that is elected directly by the citizens, fairly representative of the state’s regions. Direct accountability to the voters. Forget chancellor. Let the college presidents report directly to the board of citizens.

  • somebodysomewhere

    The purpose of the State Board of Higher Ed is to set policies for the 11 colleges and universities – it is the governing body. NDSU has ignored the SBHE. In the past, we have had trouble with the previous board members, not enforcing policies or backing their Chancellor – allowing NDSU to get by with crap. Now we have a Chancellor who won’t put up with the crap, AND we have board members who back him. This is the way this is suppose to work. Rep Grinberg is from the home of NDSU – why do you suppose he is so determined to get rid of the Chancellor? This does make me wonder. Perhaps I don’t know enough facts.

    • RCND

      Tony G wants to make way for fellow higher ed apologist Sen Tim Flakoll to take over the Chancellors office (no not the taj mahogany at UND)

  • IMND

    Either the chancellor is just arrogant or he is getting really bad advice. And why is that Thursby still consulting. Maybe the office was for him. It is his building.