DICKINSON, N.D.-Mike Jacobs's column, "Deal making among leaders marked session's close," contains information about Dickinson State University that is incorrect (Page A4, May 2).
Jacobs writes, "DSU faced an existential threat this session. The reasons are tied to a scheme that enrolled Chinese students and granted them degrees without requiring anything other than money from them. This is best described as a 'diploma mill.'"
Jacobs' assertion that DSU took cash in exchange for degrees is grossly inaccurate. In fact, students from China attended DSU with the goal of obtaining a degree. They attended classes for a period of one to two years and completed coursework in which they were granted academic credit.
They were essentially transfer students who also had taken coursework at their home institutions in China.
During an internal audit, requested by DSU, it was found that records and articulation agreements from the schools in China were incomplete. As a result, DSU took appropriate actions, which were approved by our accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, including the reevaluation of student records and the revocation of degrees that lacked evidence of completion.
Dickinson State University has gone to great lengths to ensure our academic programs adhere to all standards set by local, state and national authorities.
History is a great teacher. We should learn from our past, but one period of time does not define the whole.
Building upon lessons learned, DSU worked with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers to establish guidelines for best practice in these types of programs and presented at several national conferences with a goal of helping other institutions establish their own processes in international transfers and articulations.
There has never been a time when DSU provided degrees for cash. This is a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts and is misleading to the public. It is sensational and does not accurately represent what occurred.
This type of name calling is not productive, nor is it supportive of an institution that has served North Dakota and made a positive impact on the region for 100 years.
Mitzel is president of Dickinson State University. At the DSU Faculty Senate, Leno is president, Wilson is vice president, Varney is an executive committee member and Gruhlke is secretary. Dragseth is DSU's Council of College Faculties representative.