Some lawmakers may be considering two higher education boards | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Some lawmakers may be considering two higher education boards

Jan 28, 2019

One of the Legislators who served on the Higher Education Governance task force said he’s been hearing discussions about changing the proposal from the recommended three boards – to two boards.

The task force proposal is to replace the current Board of Higher Education with three separate boards – one for NDSU, one for UND and one for the other 9 public colleges and universities.

Sen. Brad Bekkedahl (R-Williston) said he’s now hearing some lawmakers could be proposing a change to create two separate boards – one governing UND and NDSU, and the other overseeing the rest. Bekkedahl thinks both proposals have merit.

"In my mind, the two board system would probably force collaboration by NDSU and UND, and not foster the competition you sometimes see," Bekkedahl said. "That would be good."

Bekkedahl said he wants to see the two year and four year colleges have their own board.

"Those types of institutions are working together, and across boundaries, now," Bekkedahl said. "There's a good cooperation there already."

Bekkedahl said he understands the reluctance to change from the one-board system, and making a change will take political will.

"I agree with Gov. Burgum that what we're trying to foster here is decision-making closer to the institutions, and closer to the students and the public they serve," Bekkedahl said. "I think some changes in governance are needed for that to happen."

Any change will have to be approved by voters.