UND Student Body President Refused To Sign Letter Backing President Kelly


“I didn’t feel comfortable at all adding my name to it,” University of North Dakota Student Body President Nick Creamer told me about a recent letter submitted to the Grand Forks Herald in support of President Kelly. “I didn’t agree with a lot of the contents of the letter.”

The letter purports to show support for Kelly from faculty and staff at UND in the wake of former Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s scathing evaluation of him.

“I think it minimized a lot of the accountability Chancellor Shirvani provided in his evaluation, in my opinion,” Creamer told me of the letter. “I feel like Shirvani had some animosity when he wrote those evaluations, but he raised a lot of issues that previously got swept under the rug.”

Creamer told me that he is concerned about the disconnect between skyrocketing tuition and taxpayer spending and the performance of the university. “I think President Kelly has some questions to answer about is he doing the best job for the students and to ensure that we’re getting the best value for our money as students and taxpayers of North Dakota.”

Shortly after the State Board of Higher Education acquiesced to demands from the university presidents that Shirvani’s evaluations be rejected, Creamer said he got some emails from the chairman of the University Senate wanting to find a way to express support for Kelly. The ultimate result was the letter in the Herald, but Creamer said he didn’t want to promote the perception that there is nothing wrong at UND.

He said he especially didn’t want to add to the chorus of “President Kelly’s supporters lashing out at Shirvani.”

“I think a lot of the media and a lot of the letters have indicated that the critical review of Shirvani was out of line,” he told me. “Our leaders at our campuses need to be held more accountable; at least held to results. A critical review of someone’s performance is necessary if you are going to expect development and growth as a leader.”

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.

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  • Flyby_Knight

    Kudos to Mr. Creamer. It’s nice to see a student body president with some integrity, rather than just a craving for good recommendation letters.

    • mahgiggles

      gotta have faith in ND. Some people still pride themselves in doing the right thing around here. Way to go kid!

  • ec99

    These are Kelly’s accomplishments during his tenure:
    1. Jacked up his salary to well over $300K
    2. Bloated the bureaucracy with useless VPs
    3. Made the hockey coach the second highest paid state employee
    4. Stretched the graduation rate to 6 years for over 50% of undergraduates
    5. Watched as over 20% of freshmen leave after their first year
    6. Eliminated all admission standards
    7. Spiraled up tuition
    8. Gotten rid of faculty and hired more TAs and adjuncts
    The letter to the Herald expressing faculty and staff support was signed by 7 people. Hardly a mass reflection of respect.

    • Tim Heise

      Do not forget “FIGHTING SIOUX”

      • ec99

        Kelly learned after he was hired that he was to deliver the coup de grace to the nickname. Which he did.

  • NDinMD

    So, during the up coming school year, if a student receives a poor grade (evaluation), will Mr. Kelly step in to reverse the grade? Or, as I suspect, will he sit on the sidelines saying the student earned the evaluation they were given? Some professors are just tuff graders, Kelly should just accept that fact.

    • ec99

      Not sure he micromanages that much. What he does do is tell those in charge to admit everyone regardless of their high school gpa or ACT scores.

    • headward

      Go in front of the SBHE and demand that they reverse grade and delete the old grade from ever being there.

  • devilschild

    That list of names is pretty weak. I’ve never heard of any of them.

  • Rick Olson

    While I’m glad he had the guts not to sign; I’m afraid the door to big time criticism and retaliation has been opened. My advice…watch your back, kid. When you rile the academics on campus, it’s not a pretty sight.

  • Anti-NCAA

    I’m not so sure it is legal to delete an official document from an employee’s file. If Shirvani signed the document it is final. The employee needs not concur or non-concur with the evaluation. The employee’s signature simply means that they have received the document and it will be part of their official record.

    If the SBoHE expunges the document from Kelly’s file, isn’t that a violation of itself?