State board approves Easton as Dickinson State president

Stephen Easton, DSU president speaking at the 2020 Cowboys and Candlelight event. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
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BISMARCK -- Dickinson State University's Interim President Stephen Easton is now the university's permanent president.

Easton was named to the position by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, Thursday, after the board voted 6-1 to waive the requirements of sections 2-4 and section 6 of policy 601.1 and procedure 601.1 .

The waiving of that policy and procedure allows the board to avoid advertising the position and establishing a search committee, which would forward three or more names to the board for consideration.

Nick Hacker, chair of the board, explained the decision.

"We don't take, as a board, suspending or waiving requirements of different rules lightly," Hacker said. "A lot of discussion happens before we propose those types of things. Mr. Easton has been through two searches - one for a permanent position and then one as an interim position. I can speak to the interim position because it was just last December that we ran that position. Mr. Easton was by far the top applicant. Mr. Easton served and did go through a full guided search by a search firm."


After the board's Feb. 25 meeting, it asked for feedback on such an appointment from DSU students, faculty and staff and the community of Dickinson.

Of the 30 comments the board shared, only two were not in favor of his immediate appointment. Their concerns were not about Easton, but rather the process.

All comments shared by the board about Easton specifically were positive. Most of those comments included support for naming him to the position.

Following the decision to waive the requirements, the board interviewed Easton via video conference.

He talked about the challenges the university has faced, interactions with students, participation in campus activities, his open door policy and his belief in group decision-making.

After the board's executive session, during which they discussed the matter, Easton was unanimously voted for appointment to the position of permanent president of DSU and given tenure.

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