Legislature's Role In Higher Education - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Legislature's Role In Higher Education

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Just what is the legislature's role in investigating accusations within Higher Education?

Several lawmakers are wondering if they are overstepping their boundaries after a special legislative hearing this morning.

The House Appropriations Education Committee held a meeting that resembled more of a court proceeding than a budget hearing.

Chairman Bob Skarphol called the special meeting to clear chancellor Ham Shirvani of any fraud accusations and to expose what he calls disturbing efforts within the university system to discredit Shirvani.

Last week a University System employee, Linda Porter, accused Shirvani of altering graduation rate data.

She told lawmakers she had an audio recording that proved he was out to make a couple universities bad.

Committee members listened to the taped conversation which revealed no evidence of fraud.

(Rep. Clark Williams / (D) Wahpeton) "we are taking valuable time and I understand why but I will submit to you that when this is all over we will have accomplished very little except hurt our relationship and our real mission"

House Majority leader Al Carlson says he disapproves of the appropriations committee getting this involved in the issue.

He says it is not the legislature's role to conduct investigations.

(Rep. Al Carlson / (R) Fargo) "I don't think its our job to have inquisitions or inquiries or those types of things, investigations, I mean they have, there is fraud divisions, there is attorney general's office if they believe there is something wrong they should go there "

Meanwhile Professors at Minot State University have approved a resolution of "no confidence" in embattled North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.

A faculty representative says 94 percent of voters approved the measure. A similar resolution was passed earlier by the North Dakota Student Association.

The resolution cites what faculty believes to be breakdowns in communication, the diminishing roles of college presidents, and proposed changes in admission standards that could affect accreditation.

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