The North Dakota University System and the North Dakota Board of Higher Education just can't seem to escape negative publicity lately.
Last week, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem ruled that a North Dakota Board of Higher Education dinner social held Jan. 16 at the home of Chancellor Hamid Shirvani violated the state's open meetings law. Stenehjem said the board did not provide adequate notice of the meeting, and the minutes of the event were "inaccurate and did not adequately list the topics discussed at the meeting."
Later that same day, the Senate rejected legislation by one vote that would have replaced the higher ed board with a three-member commission.
The two events were just the latest in a line of controversies since Shirvani took office less than a year ago. Some lawmakers failed in an attempt to remove Shirvani because of his aggressive leadership style, and his plan to overhaul the state's higher education system has been met with harsh criticism.
Those issues aside, it's unacceptable for the board of higher education to be in violation of state law. The system has enough experienced staff members and attorneys who know better, all of whom know that North Dakotans have little tolerance for breaking our open meetings laws.?Lesson learned, we hope.