Bismarck lawmaker wants names, missions, locations of colleges removed from state Constitution

Feb 14, 2013

A House committee is also looking at a state Constitutional amendment that would take the names and missions of the state’s public colleges out of the state Constitution.

Eight of the 11 colleges are in the Constitution.

The measure’s author – Rep. Mark Dosch (R-Bismarck)– told the House Judiciary Committee his intent is to clean up the Constitution – because the language surrounding the colleges is obsolete.

"The Constitution talks about teacher's colleges at Mayville, Valley City, Minot and Dickinson," said Dosch. "It also goes on to talk about NDSU, which is referred to as the 'Agricultural College.' One could argue that all these institutions are operating outside their Constitutional mission."

Johann Mahlum of Bismarck represents the North Dakota Student Association. He told the Committee Dosch’s concerns were addressed in an Attorney General’s opinion issued in 1990.

"It explicitly states that the sections and subsections referenced by this resolution do not prohibit the institutions of higher education from offering more services than Constitutionally required," said Mahlum. "Therefore, the argument saying that just because the University in Grand Forks is held to be the School of Mines and Sciences, it doesn't preclude it from teaching other subjects."

The same resolution was put before North Dakota voters in 1998 – but was soundly defeated.