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Skogen: 'Higher Education Roundtable' under attack by legislators

The interim Chancellor of the North Dakota University System says the “higher education roundtable” concept is under attack in this Legislative session.

The Roundtable dates to 1999. The concept was to give higher education flexibility – with accountability. But Larry Skogen says this year, there are attempts to have the Legislature take more control.

"When you get an appropriations bill with 33 pages of amendments, and many of those amendments deal with policies and procedures of the board, part of the reason for that is there are folks that would like to see the flexibility taken away," said Skogen.

Skogen says some Legislators say higher ed has failed to be accountable. But he begs to differ.

"When there were issues at Dickinson State, the board very publicly fired the president that was out there," said Skogen. "When there were issues with the president's house at NDSU, the board very publicly forced the presidential resignation."

Skogen says he can point to other issues where others have been held accountable. He says it’s more of a perception – in that if someone disagrees with what a president of an institution is doing, that person believes the president should be fired.

"If you're going to fire somebodym you have to fire them for cause," said Skogen. "And the cause is not that you disagree with the view of a president, or that you disagree with what's going on at an institution, as long as it isn't immoral, unethical or illegal."

The Legislature will be considering some study resolutions on higher education governance and funding models. Hearings on those are scheduled later this week.

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