UND Student Body President Tanner Franklin discusses the memorandum at last
week’s Student Senate meeting. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.
A resolution on a vote of no confidence for four administrators was tabled indefinitely at the latest UND Student Senate meeting on April 22, meaning no further action will be taken on it.
The action came after an email was sent out to the student body announcing a memorandum of understanding between President Robert Kelley, Student Body President Tanner Franklin and Student Body President-Elect Matt Kopp.
The decision to table came almost a week after a special senate meeting was held to discuss tuition models and the perceived lack of transparency between the administration and students. Hundreds of people attended the first meeting, which lasted about four hours.
The second meeting was quicker, with a limited amount of discussion from the public and student senators on the resolutions in front of them.
Franklin started the meeting discussing the memorandum.
“There was very constructive conversation, and faults were mentioned on both sides of the aisle,” Franklin said. “I would like to commend the President and his cabinet on his work on these issues to ensure that students are always the No. 1 priority at the University of North Dakota.”
All four administrators who were mentioned in the resolution on a vote of no confidence — Kelley, Provost Tom DiLorenzo, Vice President for Finance and Operations Alice Brekke and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor — were all in attendance at the meeting.
“This has been quite a few days of learning and teaching for all of us,” Kelley said. “This is exactly an appropriate conversation to be having. We share many of your concerns about tuition increases and more importantly about the need to improve our communication. There is much more work that we can do.”
Brekke spoke about the confusion over tuition models and promised to work harder in the future to make things clear for students. She also said she plans to talk to the State Board of Higher Education to make sure there is time for all parties to have a say in the process.
“I take full responsibility for process and communication regarding tuition models,” Brekke said. “I relied on approaches that had been successfully used in the past and failed to recognize that your expectations were different. I remain committed to gathering input from stakeholders regarding tuition models, especially from students.”
The memorandum passed by Kelley, Franklin and Kopp outlined four main goals moving forward:
1) Effective immediately, UND administrators and Student Government leaders agree to work together to achieve a higher level of involvement and partnership between the two groups.
2) UND will create a Tuition Model Task Force made up of both students and administrators. The task force will discuss and have input on potential tuition models going forward.
3) UND administrators will form a Student Committee on Communication Platforms, which will review and make recommendations on achieving a more effective means of student communication from administrators.
4) Effective immediately, UND administrators will facilitate increased student input and participation in discussions regarding the Chester Fritz Library.
Also introduced at the meeting was a resolution which calls for a neutral third-party group to review how information regarding tuition models was distributed to students and the public.
“I think we need to take this incident and learn from it,” Kopp said. “As a student government, as an administration and as an institution.”
Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]