To the editor,
Last week wasn't the best week for UND President Mark Kennedy, or as his desk plaque reads, Congressman Mark Kennedy.
It may get worse. In the wake of "did he resign or didn't he," Kennedy and State Board of Higher Education Chairman Don Morton have been spinning damage control, which has led to some interesting questions.
Why didn't Morton get a copy of Chancellor Mark Hagerott's letter in which he accepts Kennedy's apparent resignation? Or did Morton know more than he let on? Would the UND community really welcome Kennedy back if the Colorado Regents back out of their job offer? Morton says yes.
Morton said Kennedy's detractors here are a negative vocal few. A poor choice of words at best. I wonder what the reaction was of alumni who received a communication from Alumni Association head DeAnna Carlson Zink telling of Kennedy's impending departure?
Maybe Morton is just putting on a good face, although the board has seemed terribly out of touch for some time when it comes to UND.
To be fair to both Kennedy and SBHE, those jobs come with an element of damned if you do, damned if you don't. That said, however, it seems as though most of the missteps have been common sense in nature, and maybe listening without hearing.
If the Colorado Regents do happen to rescind their job offer to Kennedy, Morton should understand that it's not just that minority who sees precious few scenarios in which Kennedy can effectively continue at UND. Unless that minority doesn't include print editorials around the state, opinion letters, social media, many students, staff and alumni.
And what about that pesky contract? To save the state from a pricey buyout, would Kennedy come back to serve as a one-year lame duck president? Can the validity of the de facto resignation be upheld? Would Morton have the nerve to suggest Kennedy might stand up well in a review a year from now and all will be forgotten? Will legislators finally sit up in their chairs and pay attention to what's going on in higher-ed governance?
The entertainment value is nearly endless.