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Board Members Not Happy with Shirvani's Leadership - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Board Members Not Happy with Shirvani's Leadership

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The Board of Higher Education voted unanimously Monday to release Chancellor Hamid Shirvani from his three-year contract, ending a tumultuous year that saw numerous complaints over his leadership style.

As part of the buyout, Shirvani will continue to receive his full salary of about $350,000 for two more years plus two raises. He will also get state health insurance and contributions to his retirement account.

After facing several personal attacks, Shirvani decided it was time to part ways with the University System. "There isn't anything I can do about it. I can't change who I am," he said in an interview with 630 Point of View's Chris Berg.

Most members of the board decided that was best as well. Board Student Representative Sydney Hulls says, "This whole situation had become about the conflict on the board rather than education."

Hull points to the concerns of board members being pushed aside, campuses and students feeling left out of decisions and employees being treated poorly as triggering points.

"If we wanted to be successful with the vision that the board had set forth, I think this was the move that needed to be made," says Hull.

However, Board President Duaine Espegard does not see it that way. "He did exactly what he was asked to do. He wanted to move the system forward with accessibility, accountability, transparency and so forth. He did exactly that," says Espegard.

Espegard thought a performance review of Shirvani would allow the board to monitor areas that needed fixing and allow time for both sides to work through conflicts.

"It was very, what seemed to me to be a very strong personal attack because they really had a lot of difficultly attacking his program," he says.

Espegard says what was accomplished is now members are left to run a system without a leader. "It takes the heat off when he's not there I suppose, but no, I think the board lost."

Hull stands by the decision and admits it was not the policy as much as it was the person running the policy that lead to the buyout. He adds how it will help students is up for debate.

"That's the only way our vision of a unified system could happen, so that will only help the students. I mean, like I said, whether that happens or not remains to be seen," Hull says.

President Espegard will be replaced next June by Kirsten Diederich of Fargo. The statewide vote on whether to keep the Board of Higher Education will be next November.

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