MSU students respond

Lindsey Nelson, MSU Student Government Assoc., Minot

The Minot State University Student Government Association passed a resolution in support of Sen. Tony Grindberg’s, R-Fargo, amendment to the S.B. 2003 Feb. 11 and a “Vote of No Confidence in the NDUS chancellor, Hamid Shirvani,” Feb. 18. These resolutions have been met with criticism from various leaders throughout the North Dakota University System, as well as the North Dakota State Legislature. Comments have included public claims of inexperience and have berated the intelligence and questioned the objectives of the MiSU SGA. This letter is in response to those criticisms.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga- District 2, publicly claimed that the MSU SGA has been “manipulated and cajoled” into conforming to the wills of external entities. In an open letter to MSU SGA president Lindsey Nelson, Rep. Mark Dosch, R-Bismarck- District 32, stated, “I am appalled by your actions, and view them as totally inappropriate at this time You have been poisoned. You have made a decision without knowing all the facts, which is deplorable.”

“The allegations brought against our Student Government Association, which insinuate that we are misguided and easily manipulated, are not only inaccurate, but also demeaning to the intelligence of all students of higher education,” Director of State Affairs, Rebecca Ryan said.

Shirvani lacked transparency and communication with students across the state as he introduced the 3 Tier System Access Plan, now called the NDUS Pathways to Student Success, which was proposed Aug. 14. MSU SGA held open forums on campus Aug. 30 in an effort to inform students of the proposed changes. On Sept. 21, Shirvani told NDSA that he valued student input and would not proceed with the proposal until he had spoken with students. The chancellor’s statement was called to question Sept. 26, when he presented the proposal to the State Board of Higher Education, and it was approved, in spite of insufficient student input. Since the proposal was approved, numerous changes have been made to the document and student concern has grown.

MSU SGA has continually addressed students’ trepidation with the NDUS changes as they pertain to the chancellor and his Pathways to Student Success initiative. MSU SGA began discussing a vote of no confidence Nov. 5. The lack of communication between Shirvani and the students of NDUS also raised concerns within MSU SGA, which led to the formation of a political action committee Nov. 19. Dec. 3, MSU SGA surveyed the student senate to determine a path of action. Jan. 8, a representative from MSU SGA attended the Pathways Frequently Asked Questions meeting in Bismarck. Jan. 14, the political action committee recommended MSU SGA take no further action at the time. After becoming aware of Grindberg’s proposed amendment, MSU SGA passed a resolution supporting the amendment to set aside funds to buyout Shirvani’s contract, Feb. 11. Feb. 18, the MSU SGA passed a vote of no confidence in Shirvani. Based on these actions, it is evident that MSU SGA formed their conclusions on thorough research.

The Minot State University Student Government Association’s mission states that the SGA shall, “provide an official voice through which student opinion may be expressed. It is the responsibility of the Student Government Association to foster communication between the students, staff and administration of Minot State University.” Due to these responsibilities, the resolutions of MSU SGA have been within the reaches and bounds as outlined in the MiSU SGA constitution.