Senate expresses view on chancellor

The Minot State University faculty senate is the latest group to express no confidence in North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.

According to a press release, the faculty senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution of no confidence this week with a 94 percent “yes” vote. Earlier this year the North Dakota Student Association also passed a vote of no confidence in the chancellor, who has been in office less than a year. Minot State University’s student senate had passed a separate resolution of no confidence prior to the NDSA resolution.

The chancellor has been dogged by controversy since he took office last July. Minot State University’s faculty senate cites what it calls detrimental changes to governance procedures and structures, breakdowns in productive communication, and concerns about the integrity and openness of admissions policies within the Chancellor’s Pathways to Success proposals, which are intended to boost academic success throughout the system but which faculty senate members say could endanger accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

In their resolution, the faculty senate also claim that the board of higher education has engaged in “the system wide marginalization of the role of the presidents” and the board has “completely empower(ed) an individual (Shirvani) with a track record of conflict, antagonism, and de-stabilization.”

The faculty senate urges “constructive, participatory dialogue to address the issues raised.”

Shirvani did not immediately respond to an e-mail sent by The Minot Daily News on Friday seeking comment.

However, Duaine Espegard, president of the State Board of Higher Education, expressed disappintment with the ruling on Friday.

“Needless to say, as president of the Board, I am disappointed to learn that the Minot State University faculty approved a resolution of no confidence in Chancellor Shirvani,” Espegard said in a press release issued by the university system office.

Espegard said in the statement that the faculty’s disapproval “derived from claims that devolve into little more than an attempted character assassination” of the Chancellor. He said he was also surprised by the faculty senate’s claim that the Pathways concept could threaten accreditation, since Espegard said no other institutions have made such a claim. He said Minot State University President David Fuller has also not claimed accreditation is threatened by the Pathways concept.

The board of higher education has consistently expressed its support for Shirvani.