UND faculty and staff discussed several hot-button items at a University Senate meeting Thursday, with one faculty member calling for the school to cease logo development while addressing a budget shortfall.
Interim President Ed Schafer said in a video message to the campus community Monday the UND's $5 million budget shortfall had been "solved" without cutting salaries or programs, but that same day, Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered most state agencies like UND to cut their budgets by 4.05 percent due to the state's changing revenue forecast.
UND officials are looking at ways to save money and UND Vice President for Finance and Operations Alice Brekke told the Herald in January "nothing is off the table." She is slated to give a budget presentation to UND faculty and staff Feb. 25 but could speak earlier after associate professor Eric Murphy pointed out agencies must turn in plans for budget cuts by Feb. 17.
"Essentially, if there's going to be any input or any kind of discussion, the train is pretty much pulling out of the station on the 17th," he said.
Assistant professor Eric Basile with the UND Department of Aviation asked logo development cease while the school deals with budget cuts. A committee recommended New York-based design firm SME Inc. to create a logo and brand identity to accompany the Fighting Hawks athletic nickname, which was selected to replace the controversial Fighting Sioux monicker.
If Schafer approves the committee's recommendation, the endeavor is estimated to cost at least $49,500.
"This cannot be a priority for the university at this time," Basile said. "It is not respectful of the financial decisions we must make, nor at this moment does it further the needs of our students, staff and faculty."Read more: Q&A with Gov. Jack Dalrymple: A budget in flux
Murphy was the only person in attendance at the meeting who furthered the discussion, suggesting someone from the UND Alumni Association and Foundation speak to the University Senate about the role it will play in UND's budget cuts given its recent successful fundraising campaign.
Search for the next president
UND's presidential search is also underway, and Presidential Search Committee Co-chairman Hesham El-Rewini said the seven applicants selected by a committee for on-campus interviews have accepted the invitation and a tentative schedule has been created.
The tentative plan is to have candidates visit UND Feb. 16, 18, 22, 25, 29 and March 3 and 7. Opportunities for faculty to meet candidates are also planned on those dates.
Professor Lana Rakow, who is the director of UND's Center for Community Engagement, said she was bothered by how few women applied and were considered by the committee. The seven candidates selected for on-campus interviews are all men.
"This to me seems to be an issue we need to take seriously," she said.
El-Rewini said four women applied for the job in total and one, along with two other applicants, withdrew her application because North Dakota's open records laws would make her name public. He also recently received a report from AGB Search, the consulting firm working with the committee, about efforts that were made to specifically recruit women, including advertising the position in Women in Higher Education.
One of the 11 institutions overseen by the State Board of Higher Education is led by a woman-Valley City State University's Tisa Mason.
Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, N.D. applied for the UND president position Feb. 27, and despite North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott asking the committee to reconsider her application, the group didn't, with some citing the small size of the institution she has led for 13 years.
Lindquist told the Associated Press Monday she was considering several options, including a lawsuit. She did not respond Thursday to a phone call from the Herald.
El-Rewini said at the University Senate meeting the committee only considered 14 attributes compiled using feedback gathered at forums with the campus community, none of which mention the size of an applicant's current or prior institution.
UND Dean of Arts and Sciences Debbie Storrs said, as of Thursday, 32 people had applied for the Graduate School dean position. The application deadline is Feb. 15, and Storrs urged people to seek out and encourage qualified applicants to apply.
The initial number of applicants was "good," she said, but she would like to see a more diverse pool.
Storrs said she asked a woman in higher education to apply for the president's position but was told she didn't want to because her name would be a matter of public record.
The UND Staff Senate is working on a campus climate survey that is expected to be circulated in March. It will consist of about 100 questions.