BISMARCK — The North Dakota State College of Science president voiced his opposition to a plan for the state higher education office to keep a closer eye on the school’s workforce affairs division after a state audit found what some have called serious issues in implementing a proposed career academy.

President John Richman spoke out Tuesday, June 25, against the North Dakota University System’s draft temporary oversight plan that would instruct NDUS staff to oversee the NDSCS Workforce Affairs Division and TrainND, the state's workforce training network.

“I see no reason for oversight,” Richman said during a meeting of the State Board of Higher Education audit committee.

The oversight plan is in response to a negative audit that found NDSCS staff did not provide emails to the state auditor regarding inquiries about a firm hired to write a strategic plan for the career academy, envisioned for Fargo or West Fargo. Richman disputed that and other claims, including allegations the college tried to mislead the state agency.

Richman suggested using an NDSCS action plan in lieu of the oversight plan, stating that has worked in the past.

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But Committee Chair Kathleen Neset said the temporary oversight was in response to serious allegations from the audit. The SBHE has an obligation to oversee the university system’s institutions and hold them accountable, she said.

The full board is set to review the oversight plan Thursday, June 27.

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