Mike Jacobs: Trouble bubbles up in higher ed

Whereas the mud pots and the timber are many, it is the geysers that appeal to consideration. The current geysers erupting are named Hagerott and Feldner. These two have been the very best rating officers within the state’s larger schooling system.

Mark Hagerott is the chancellor of the system. This month he fired Lisa Feldner, who was the vice chancellor. Preliminary stories stated that Hagerott had accused Feldner of creating derogatory remarks about different college system staff. Formally, nevertheless, the transfer was “with out trigger,” Hagerott stated. That is inside his authority as chancellor. Feldner stated she was “bewildered” by the transfer, and she or he’s not the one one.

Feldner is usually properly regarded all through the system, and particularly within the Legislature, the place her grasp of particulars and keen responsiveness to questions gained appreciation and respect, particularly as a result of Hagerott’s personal focus tended to be elsewhere. This relative detachment drew grumbling from legislators, however the chancellor’s army background and his deep connections with the state helped mute criticism. The chancellor was seen as a patriot and a local son, and thus entitled to some slack.

The system’s personal employees was neither so affected person nor so charitable. Via the efforts of conservative blogger Rob Port, a 15-month-previous survey of employees attitudes turned public final week. Staff characterised Hagerott’s administration type as “militaristic” and stated he favored males over ladies. Hagerott conceded that the primary may be true however he denied the second in an interview with John Hageman, Discussion board Information Service’s reporter within the state Capitol.

He additionally denied that Feldner was dismissed to open up room within the larger schooling system’s price range for a brand new place, interim vice chancellor of technique and strategic engagement.

Hagerott has employed a Navy colleague to fill that job.

Hagerott used the interview to hyperlink criticism to final yr’s gubernatorial race. He advised Hageman that he had been pressured to “do one thing” about Ed Schafer’s help of Doug Burgum in final yr’s Republican gubernatorial contest. Schafer’s endorsement got here late in Burgum’s profitable main marketing campaign, when Schafer, a former governor, was appearing president of UND.

This irked some legislators who backed the opposite candidate.

The Legislature is powerless to self-discipline the chancellor immediately, because the Board of Larger Schooling operates as a fourth department of state authorities. The governor appoints its members, with the consent of the state Senate, however neither…

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