University clarifies stance on measures

UND President Robert Kelley sent out a campus-wide email last week clarifying UND’s stance, or lack thereof, on several measures on the upcoming election.

Kelley said in the email,  the university does not and, under North Dakota law, cannot take a stance on political issues.

“There’s been some confusion in the media about how some studies should be characterized,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson said. “We wanted to clarify that.”

The university cannot take a stance on any of the issues, but in recent weeks there have been several instances where UND’s name has been in the news in regard to several measures in the upcoming election.

One of those instances was university faculty and staff members who expressed their own personal opinions on the measures in letters to the editor.

“It’s perfectly fine for faculty or staff to have opinions,” Johnson said. “It’s an issue of how it’s characterized.”

The other issue according to Kelley’s email was, “news media and others have pointed to what they have described as a ‘UND report’ or ‘UND study’ related to a particular measure, Measure 7.

In this instance, a  member of the faculty was hired as an independent researcher to work with a faculty member from an out-of-state university.

“There were two universities involved, the other one, the University of Michigan, was barely mentioned,” Johnson said. “But this was not a UND study.”

There was only one area where UND was involved in the ballot according to Kelley, which was, “the series of polls that the UND College of Business & Public Administration Survey Research Center was hired to conduct on behalf of a North Dakota-headquartered communications company.”

In that case, the university conducted a poll of North Dakota residents for Forum Communications Co.

“It’s worth clarifying the university can’t take or doesn’t take any position,” Johnson said.

Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].