Board talks guns

January 25, 2018

Details ironed out for campus firearms policy

The State Board of Higher Education talked a range of issues this week during its regular meeting, the first of the year held through the Interactive Video Network. Two of the top issues involved how campuses would handle firearms policies, and presidential searches.

During the first reading of Policy 916.1 (Possession of a Firearm or Dangerous Weapon in a Campus), Board members highlighted the importance of safety on campuses while also providing for students to exercise their Constitutional rights.

Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs Richard Rothaus led the discussion on the proposed firearms policy change.

There was a need to write a policy to deal with the repercussions of that law,” Rothaus said, which resulted in the policy being considered. “We’ve taken a great deal of care in revising the policy that achieves the goals of the Board but does not have unintended consequences.”

He said the substantive changes would prevent any person from giving permission to store a firearm to themselves. This would affect presidents only, as they – and the chancellor – were the only individuals who could grant permission. Another change included preventing firearms being stored in any residence that housed undergraduates or graduate students, such as dorms.

Board Faculty Advisor Birgit Pruess asked for clarification on the language “dangerous weapon.” Rothaus responded that the phrase was used due to it being defined already in state law. Board Student Member Jacob Dailey asked for clarification on how long the permission would last. Rothaus noted that once permission was granted for an individual it would last as long as the individual lived in the State Board owned building. After further discussion, the Board unanimously approved the policy.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott provided his report, which touched on the Mayville State University presidential search that was now underway, the governor’s task force on higher education governance, a grant from the Lumina Foundation, and the work proceeding on the campus study task forces as mandated by Senate Bill 2003.

Board member Mike Ness then brought forward the Academic and Student Affairs Committee recommendations for several new programs, and several program terminations. Among the new programs were a Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Information Technology at Bismarck State College;  a Bachelor of Science in Information Analytics from Dickinson State University; a BS in Early Childhood Education from Minot State University; a Master of Arts in Communications from North Dakota State University; a BS and Master of Science in Data Science at University of North Dakota; undergraduate certificates at UND for Behavioral Health, Chinese, Classical Languages, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Cyberpsychology, and Forensic Psychology; graduate certificates in Applied Economics, Behavioral Data Analytics, Cybersecurity and Behavior, Learning Analytics, Quantitative Research Methods, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering (including M.S. and M.Engr. options); and minors at UND in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Cybersecurity (including B.S. and M.S. options). All those recommended were approved.

Programs recommended for termination included undergraduate certificates in Animal Health Management, Equine Science and Therapeutic Riding, all at NDSU; a minor in Vaccinology at NDSU; an M.S. in Botany at NDSU; a B.S. in Occupational Safety and Environmental Health at UND; and a Ph.D. in Communications Sciences and Disorders at UND. All recommendations were approved.

Board member Nick Hacker brought forward recommendations from the Budget and Finance committee. Those included the transfer of $152,000 from NDSCS’ operations line to its capital assets line for repair projects; a $350,000 elevator replacement project at NDSU; an authorization for BSC to transfer $124,374 from operating line to capital in accordance with Senate Bill 2003; and the approval of 2018-2019 Room, Board and Fees guidelines.

Board member Kathleen Neset then provided an update on the current governance committee tasks.

Other reports included those from North Dakota Student Association President Kaleb Dschaak, Council of College Faculty President Debora Dragseth, and Staff Senate Vice President Cole Kruger.

In other business, the Board authorized the presidential search begin to move forward for Valley City State University, with Board Vice Chair Greg Stemen as the Board’s representative on the search committee. The motion passed unanimously.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22.