College faculty concerned about procedure, transparency with BHE and Chancellor's contract

Oct 5, 2017

The North Dakota University System’s Council of College Faculties has written a letter to the chair and vice-chair of the state Board of Higher Education, outlining its concern about “a lack of procedure” concerning a report on the system’s Chancellor.

The letter concerns the June 26th, 2016 report on Chancellor Mark Hagerott, done by system Compliance Officer Karol Riedman. In it, system office staff criticized Hagerott’s leadership style, calling it “militaristic, autocratic and controlling.” The report also charged Hagerott did not respect staff, treated men and women differently, and used what was termed “inappropriate or unprofessional speech or behavior.”

The Council’s President, Debora Dragseth of Dickinson State University, said the report – which was dated three days before the Board discussed the Chancellor’s evaluation, was not disseminated to most Board members, other than the Board chair. Dragseth also said the report was not part of the Board’s brief discussion on the renewal of Hagerott’s contract at the June 27th, 2017 Board meeting. At that meeting, the Board split 4 to 4 on a motion to go into executive session and discuss the contract extension.

Dragseth said the Council was concerned enough to draft a letter this week on the matter.

"That is a lack of transparency," Dragseth said. "That is a problem. The Board deserved to have all of the information, and should demand to know all the information before evaluating someone at that level."

Dragseth said the Board has a very specific anti-discrimination policy.

"These are some pretty serious charges," Dragseth said.

The letter was sent to Board chair Don Morton, vice-chair Greg Stemen and chancellor Hagerott. After the June 27th meeting, Morton said the Board may look at the situation at its November 30th meeting in Bismarck.