The State Board Of Higher Education Has Lost Control Of The University System

New Chancellor

Adding to the clamor for removing controversial North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, today, was a vote of no confidence from the the North Dakota Student Association.

The student governments at the various universities are usually little more than a rubber stamp for whatever the university administrations want, so there was no surprise that these students would be adding their voices to the push back against Shirvani, and the State Board of Higher Education which is standing behind him, from the university presidents.

At this point, it’s hard to imagine how Shirvani can continue in his post.

To me, it’s a moot point. The way the university system is currently governed is bringing us nothing but controversy, scandal and turmoil. A change of staffing isn’t going to change anything. The problems with the university system predate Mr. Shirvani’s arrival, though I think we can admit that in picking him the SBHE made a less than inspired choice.

What the university system needs is someone who is of the state of North Dakota, who has a mandate from the people of North Dakota, to be in charge. We need to eliminate the State Board of Higher Education, and replace it with someone who is either elected by the people or someone who serves at the pleasure of the governor.

There is a food fight developing in the state legislature over controversy surrounding Shirvani, with some legislators backing Shirvani and others backing the universities (the anti-Shirvani contingent seems intent on landing the chancellorship for state Senator Tim Flakoll). I don’t think this fight is productive for the future of higher education in North Dakota.

Get rid of Shirvani, yes, but don’t replace him with another chancellor. Replace him with a new way of governing the system.

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.

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