Embattled Chancellor Shirvani placed on administrative leave, effective today

BOTTINEAU – Embattled North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani has been placed on administrative leave, effective today.

The State Board of Higher Education, meeting in Bottineau, approved the hiring of Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen as acting interim chancellor. Skogen will remain president at Bismarck State while taking on the chancellor’s duties. He said he has an excellent staff, who will help with campus operations.

“There’s a lot of healing that has to occur and it has to occur now,” said Skogen, referring to months of turmoil in the university system.

Skogen’s appointment is for 60 days, which will give the board time to find a more longterm interim chancellor, who is expected to take over for about two years. North Dakota voters are scheduled to vote in November 2014 on whether to replace the board with a three member panel appointed by the governor.

The board voted last month to buy out Shirvani’s contract, after months of criticism from various quarters about Shirvani’s management style. The board has also come under fire, most recently for violating the state’s open meeting laws.