Judge Upholds Firing of University President Accused of Inflating Enrollment

An administrative-law judge ruled today that the North Dakota Board of Higher Education had “just cause” in August to fire the president of Dickinson State University, who was accused of padding his enrollment.

In her 39-page ruling, Judge Bonny Fetch affirmed the findings of an internal audit last summer that blamed the inflated enrollment numbers on the president, Richard J. McCallum. The judge also said that Mr. McCallum had been insubordinate in refusing to respond to calls and messages from William G. Goetz, the university system’s chancellor, in the days after the audit’s release.

The inflated numbers, which were reported to state and federal agencies, were the result of what Judge Fetch described as “an unreasonable focus or obsession on increasing headcount or enrollments … and responding to those who raised concerns in an intimidating or threatening manner.”

Mr. McCallum, who has been suspended pending his appeal since August, could not be reached for comment by The Bismarck Tribune. He is likely to be officially dismissed by the board next Thursday.

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