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It isn't the position. It's the timing—and the president's response. That's our takeaway from the fracas over the replacement of a retiring event coordinator in UND President Mark Kennedy's office. A key bottom line: The position is important, even vital. Why is Kennedy himself among North Dakota's highest paid public servants? Simple: Because Kennedy's salary is leverage. It's an investment by North Dakota in Kennedy's talent and connections, traits that Kennedy is expected to use to raise tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for the university.
Gov. Doug Burgum has three terrific people to choose from for the seat on the North Dakota Board of Higher Education. All three would be great candidates for leadership positions in any number of fields. But for the specific job of serving on the state board, one of the candidates stands out. He is Dr. Casey Ryan of Grand Forks.
Harold Shapiro assumed the presidency of the University of Michigan "during one of the worst fiscal crises in Michigan's history," a history of the university's presidents notes. "The crisis was caused, in large part, by a deep recession in the automobile industry. For three years in the early 1980s, the state could not meet its financial commitments to the university. In 1980-81, for example, state support for the general fund fell by 12 percent." Shapiro's response? Cut the budget. Lobby the Legislature. And very important: raise money.
We don't much like the news that UND's spring enrollment has declined by about 350 students. But we very much like the fact that UND President Mark Kennedy is not explaining away the drop. Instead, he's taking steps to reverse it. Plus, he's announcing those steps—and by doing so, he's giving the campus and community a goal to shoot for. That's the way an organization moves forward. And it's great to see that Kennedy understands this basic leadership key.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, as every Psych 101 student learns, puts physiological needs—food, water and shelter—on the bottom of the pyramid and self-actualization on top. But one of the in-between levels deserves a lot more attention, we think. In fact, it might even merit being pulled out of the structure and then balanced, precariously, on top. The level in question would be "safety," the instinct we all share to avoid danger and live our lives healthy and whole.
But the Constitution already protects free speech, critics of HB 1329 said on the House floor. Why should North Dakota require the higher-ed board to reaffirm that centuries-old protection? Because free speech on campus is under assault, and at public universities as well as private, experience has shown. It's wrong for lawmakers to mess with academic freedom. But it's right for the state to spell out foundational principles of governance, and to insist that public colleges abide by them.
On weekday mornings, some 1,000 and 1,500 Grand Forks commuters cruise over to Interstate 29, then head south to Fargo to work Once on the interstate, they pass a line-up of headlights coming to the north. These are the 1,000 to 1,500 commuters who live in Fargo but work in Grand Forks. Might there be a lesson in this daily parade?
"For the good of the country and the Supreme Court, this moment demands a compromise nominee," Ezra Klein wrote last week on the liberal Vox.com. That's not going to happen. But here's something that might: Congress should mark the start of a new administration by recognizing that Supreme Court justices have too much power. Key reforms can change that, and polls suggest strong support for the reforms. Starting this debate would be noble on the part of Republicans, given their current dominance. But it also would serve Republican interests.
Donald Trump doesn't have the slightest interest in farm policy. But it's farm policy that offers the clearest guide to Trump's presidency. Why? Two reasons: First, because farm policy elevates jobs and subordinates prices, in direct violation of free-market principles. And second, because farm policy works. On balance, it has shielded American farmers from many of the ravages of international competition, even—to some extent—at American consumers' expense.
Refugee-resettlement isn't just a flashpoint in East Coast cities and airports. It's showing up in conversations and policy proposals in Bismarck, Fargo, several cities in Minnesota—and Grand Forks. Residents on all sides should listen and learn. For both the skeptics and the supporters have important messages; and if they'd only start talking to rather than past each other—while banning the word "racism" from the conversation—something good might actually result.