Minot State not confident in Shirvani

Minot State University’s Student Government has passed a resolution in support of a proposal by Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, to amend Senate Bill 2003 to provide funding for a buyout of North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s contract.

It would reportedly cost $600,000 to buy out the contract of the chancellor, who has been on the job for less than a year.

The resolution passed by a simple majority at the group’s Feb. 11 meeting.

“As a group we decided it was a necessary step to take,” said Lindsey Nelson, president of the MSU Student Government, on Friday.

Nelson said Minot State is thus far the only the university among the 11 colleges and universities in the university system to pass a formal resolution. The State Student Government Association is meeting this weekend in Bismarck and the issue of the chancellor’s contract will likely be informally discussed, though the state body has taken no action, she said.

“As a representative of all students of Minot State University, both current and future, I feel that this resolution was important to show our support in a quick and efficient way of resolving student concerns with our current Chancellor, Dr. Hamid Shirvani,” said freshman senator Alex Buchholz in a press release. “The SGA 02-1213 resolution expresses how the students of Minot State University feel.”

The Student Government also passed a vote of no confidence in Shirvani on Feb. 11, expressing dissatisfaction with changes in the university system proposed by the new chancellor.

“By means of Dr. Hamid Shirvani’s command, the management of the North Dakota University System has egregiously breached the trust and therefore lost the support of the students of Minot State University,” the resolution stated.

“Dr. Hamid Shirvani has consistently misrepresented the facts with regard to changes implemented through the North Dakota University System; in specificity, the continuous and covert application of alterations involving the Pathways to Student Success document, formerly known as the Three Tier System Access Plan, have fostered concerns from our student body.

Due to these few examples of the myriad reasons for our concern, the MInot State University Student Government Association, as representatives of the student body, no longer has confidence in Dr. Hamid Shirvani’s ability to lead the North Dakota University System as Chancellor.”

The Pathways to Student Success proposal would, among other changes, eventually end flat-rate tuition for many out of state and international students in the university system. The proposal would also tighten admission requirements at the four-year colleges in the university system. Campuses would also be expected to reduce available tuition waivers, with waivers not to exceed five percent of the previous year’s undergraduate tuition charges.

At the time Grindberg made the amendment proposal, he said he felt Shirvani’s leadership had led to increased mistrust among the system’s university leaders and that Shirvani had exhibited questionable leadership.

Shirvani did not immediately return a call from The Minot Daily News on Friday but said earlier this month he has no plans to step down.