BHE Chairman -- 'Let due process play out'

Dec 1, 2017

Board of Higher Education meeting at Bismarck State College 12/1/17.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Board of Higher Education held a closed door session to discuss a complaint and possible legal action filed by a fired vice-Chancellor of the North Dakota University System.

The Board met at Bismarck State College.

After Lisa Feldner was fired, she filed a complaint with the state Labor Department, complaining of discrimination. In a the 17-page complaint, Feldner alleged among other things that Chancellor Mark Hagerott valued the comments and opinions of the male staffers in the Central Office over the female staffers. Hagerott has denied the allegations.

Before the Board went into executive session, board President Don Morton said it’s a legal matter, and it needs to go through due process.

"We have chosen not to debate this with the media," Morton said. "We've chose not to debate this publicly. We've chosen to go with due process."

Morton said while due process can take time, it can get to the truth.

An earlier “climate survey” of the office pointed to some potential problems – but a later survey showed more satisfaction with the Chancellor’s performance. System compliance officer Karol  Riedmann told the Board the second survey was more detailed, and included more people.