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Dickinson State president's resignation requested; report shows 180 people enrolled without their knowledge

DICKINSON, N.D. - The North Dakota University System chancellor asked Dickinson State University President Dr. Richard McCallum to resign in light of a review released Thursday showing about 180 people were enrolled at DSU last fall without their...

Richard McCallum

DICKINSON, N.D. - The North Dakota University System chancellor asked Dickinson State University President Dr. Richard McCallum to resign in light of a review released Thursday showing about 180 people were enrolled at DSU last fall without their consent.

McCallum had not given his resignation as of Thursday afternoon and could be terminated, North Dakota University System Chancellor William Goetz said.

Staff allegedly felt pressure from McCallum to increase enrollment, according to the internal review.

"The current leadership has created a campus culture that is divided, one of distrust, disrespect and staff being pressured to engage in unethical, suspect or wasteful activities to meet demands," according to the report.

The NDUS board could terminate his employment, but Goetz would not say when a decision will be made.

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"The expectation and agreement was that he would make contact with me - he did not," Goetz said.

McCallum's office was quiet, and he did not appear to be home Thursday afternoon. Numerous attempts by The Dickinson Press to contact him were unsuccessful.

The issue of overstated enrollment arose while the National Survey of Student Engagement, an outside company which conducts surveys of campuses nationwide, was surveying DSU.

Several survey recipients contacted NSSE saying they were not DSU students, according to the report.

However, they had attended local conferences and training symposiums affiliated with DSU. DSU then enrolled them in a degree credit course and assigned them student identification numbers. The enrollees also received a grade without their consent or knowledge of formal enrollment, according to the report.

"The checks and balances are in place, and the decision made or the persuasion that took place relative to the practice of enrollment reporting this last time certainly leads to questions about management leadership and the influence that may have been placed upon employees to carry out this practice this past year," Goetz said.

It is unclear why McCallum would want to overstate enrollment.

"That doesn't make sense if those students weren't part of the system... one of the revenue streams that the university has is student tuition, so for our programs to continue to be vibrant and continue to grow they have to increase student enrollment, but that has to relate to tuition being paid," said Chip Poland, DSU Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies chairman. "So it doesn't quite make sense that you would enroll 180 students and not have them come through and pay tuition."

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The Dickinson Press and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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