UND President Mark Kennedy has reached out to the chancellor of the state university system to stress that he has not officially resigned his position at UND.
Kennedy sent a letter Saturday via email to Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System, responding to a letter Hagerott sent Kennedy the day before.
“This letter confirms that I have not resigned my position as the president of the University of North Dakota,” Kennedy wrote. “If I were to resign at some point in the future, I will provide you with written notice of my resignation.”
The Herald learned of the document Monday and requested it, via an open-records request, from the NDUS late Monday morning. Hagerott’s office sent it to the Herald by mid-afternoon.
It’s the latest news during a hectic time at UND. On Tuesday, April 9, the Herald reported on rumors that Kennedy was expected to be offered a presidency in Colorado. The following day, Kennedy released a statement that confirmed he is the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of Colorado and the four campuses that fall under its umbrella. He said he and his wife, Debbie, are “excited for this new opportunity but sorry to leave UND.”
After being asked by the Herald to clarify that remark, he amended the statement to say “we would be sorry to leave UND” if he is indeed chosen as the next president.
“It would be presumptuous to say it’s a done deal until after this (two-week) period,” he told the Herald.
However, Hagerott on Friday sent Kennedy a letter congratulating Kennedy on being the sole finalist for the position and wished him the best in his new role.
“While I have not received a formal notice of resignation, on April 10, 2019, you sent a statement to the UND community. In it, you stated that you were ‘excited for this new opportunity, but sorry to leave UND,’” Hagerott wrote. “You have also been quoted in many news accounts as stating that your last day as president of UND will be June 15. Under the circumstances, we view the April 10, 2019, statement, along with your statements to media outlets since then, as a de facto resignation effective June 15, 2019. On behalf of the North Dakota University System, I accept your de facto notice of resignation.”
The following day, Saturday, came Kennedy’s response to Hagerott: “This letter confirms that I have not resigned my position as president of the University of North Dakota. If I were to resign at some point in the future, I will provide you with written notice of my resignation. I would expect that I will be able to provide you with further information concerning the University of Colorado position by the end of April. In the meantime, I am committed to doing my job here at the University of North Dakota.”
Billie Jo Lorius, communications director with the NDUS, said Hagerott was unavailable to comment Monday.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on pending personnel questions during the two-week waiting period that is required by Colorado law,” Lorius told the Herald.
President Kennedy, too, declined to comment, UND spokesperson Dave Dodds said. Kennedy also will not be available during a standing weekly conference call he conducts each Tuesday with the Herald, Dodds said, as Kennedy prepares to visit University of Colorado campuses next week.