VIDEO REPORT: Goetz Denies Responsibility for Dickinson State Scandal
The Dickinson State University community is struggling to cope with the magnitude of the situation: A president fired over false enrollment numbers. The continuing exodus of other, lower level, school employees. And, most recently, issues surrounding international students, including diplomas being given improperly.
But North Dakota University System Chancellor Bill Goetz said that things will get better. “We have to look forward. It’s a situation that has occurred, that has taken place, as a result of a number of reasons, management, leadership, development of a culture that led to this situation,” said Goetz.
But who is, ultimately, responsible for DSU’s current situation? Goetz said that responsibility for it does NOT rise up to his level, when asked where the buck stops. “This situation is one that rests squarely with the administration here (at DSU), the previous administration, its president, and certainly the integrity of the university system is, remains, remains strong,” said Goetz.
A message that Goetz wants to get out is that things are moving in a new direction at DSU and that the academic integrity of the institution is not compromised. But in order to know where you’re going, you have to understand where you came from, and Goetz doesn’t seem too interested in looking back, particularly at the evidence timeline from Richard McCallum’s termination hearing back in the fall.
I asked Goetz about his thoughts on fired DSU President Richard McCallum’s testimony at his hearing in October 2011. McCallum testified that Goetz told him at a late May 2011 meeting that he (McCallum) would get a 0% pay raise and no contract extension. McCallum testified that Goetz told him at that meeting he (McCallum) had terrible community relationships with the Dickinson community.
Then, at the next meeting between the two, in early June, Goetz gave McCallum an, overall, positive performance evaluation. McCallum testified that Goetz told him (McCallum) that he would get a 3% pay raise and a one-year contract extension, and that he was surprised by Goetz’s turnaround.
McCallum also testified that between the early June 2011 meeting and the State Board of Higher Education meeting on June 16, 2011, where McCallum received a 2% pay raise and one-year contract extension, that Goetz had email communication with a SBHE leader, and the pay raise was cut from 3% down to 2%.
Here’s Goetz’s response. “This was not waffling. This was a decision-making process that I had to conduct in order to evaluate the circumstances. I am not going to comment any further on Dr. McCallum, in terms of process. This is not what this press conference is about,” said Goetz, immediately following the press conference at DSU, on Friday, February 10, 2012 to address new audit findings.
Goetz didn’t respond to many, fair, questions, such as why did he sign Richard McCallum’s new contract on June 29, 2011, when the first draft of the document used to fire McCallum in August 2011 was submitted 8 days before the contract signing, on June 21, 2011. Or did Chancellor Goetz attempt to hide the DSU issues from state lawmakers during the last Legislative Session?
But before Chancellor Goetz cut the interview short, he did answer a couple questions. One of them included whether senior NDUS staff approached him (Goetz) shortly before the June 16, 2011 State Board of Higher Education meeting where McCallum received a pay raise and salary increase, and urged him to get rid of McCallum, to which Goetz answered no. “I have been dealing with, or, I dealt with that directly. I did not have any input, as such, from any vice chancellors,” said Goetz.
Issues are still being investigated and new DSU President D.C. Coston appears to be doing everything he can to identify the full extent of the problems, and fix them. “Isn’t that what higher education is all about, is looking forward, with vision, with opportunity, and putting the issues behind us?” said Goetz, while he spoke at the press conference.Tags: Chancellor William Goetz, dickinson state university, NDUS, North Dakota News, richard mccallum, state board of higher education