October 30th, 2014 Measure #3 Is A Vote Of No Confidence In The Board of Higher Ed Citizens have the chance to send a message to the legislature tha

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October 30th, 2014


Measure #3 Is A Vote Of No Confidence In The Board of Higher Ed

Citizens have the chance to send a message to the legislature that the time is right for higher education to have more legislative oversight with Measure #3.


Next Tuesday, North Dakotans have a chance to chime in about the perpetual university system problem.

Today, the Bismarck Tribune came out in support of Measure #3 saying:

There comes a time when change becomes necessary. Such is the case with the state Board of Higher Education.

After years of changing chancellors; university presidents ignoring legislators and the board; and the board violating open meeting laws, voters have the opportunity to make changes.


It’s unfortunate the situation has reached the point where the board needs to be replaced. The members are highly successful professionals from around the state who offer their time. They should be able to create a well-oiled machine, but the machine keeps breaking down.

Measure #3 was placed on the ballot by the legislature.

It constitutionally replaces the current 8-member part-time Board of Higher Education with a new 3-member full-time board that is appointed using the same methods and advising committee was the current board uses to determine appointees.

Measure #3 is not a fix for the university system's problem - but it does shake up the current governing structure and sends a message to the legislature that it is now time to rein in the university system.

Much like the issue of state education funding and property taxes, the issue of funding for higher education and higher tuition costs continues to go unaddressed. General fund spending for higher education has nearly doubled in the last four legislative sessions, yet that doubling of state funding has only managed to hold the rate of tuition growth to a 45% increase in that time.

Higher Ed Spending

Meanwhile, enrollment in higher education is in year three of a declining trend.

No matter how many new taxpayer dollars are pumped into the university system, the board of higher education just cannot find the resolve to hold down tuition increases to a more reasonable increase level.

As has been attempted and defeated several times in recent legislative sessions, returning an oversight role to the legislature over higher education is critical and should be a contingent demand of the legislature tied to all new spending increases.

The most important thing that Measure #3 can do is empower legislators to take back their oversight powers with regard to the higher education system.

Students and parents deserve a higher education system that works, and at this point, the next step in making that happen is Measure #3.

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-Dustin Gawrylow, Managing Director

North Dakota Watchdog Network