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Kevin Black and Shawn Affolter, Published May 13 2010

With commitment to reform, students have faith in NDSU

The vast successes of North Dakota State University are a testament to the dedication of its people. We have seen firsthand the vibrancy of our campus life and the displays of pride at Bison events, as well as NDSU’s tenacity in the flood-fighting efforts. As students, we are proud to call ourselves Bison and serve as part of this outstanding university.

Nevertheless, the controversies throughout the past year have been both disheartening and challenging, for they run contrary to the guiding mission of the institution we have come to love. The findings of the recent audit disclosed many important and hard-hitting lessons. It has shown the indispensable objectives of accountability and transparency. It has underscored how the decisions of a few can tarnish the reputation of many. And, as we move forward, it has revealed the significance of aligning our actions with the ideals we profess.

An opportunity has now arisen for the university to address the facts with honesty, discipline and resolve. New leadership must continue making significant strides for internal reforms and to restore a culture of credibility.

As student leaders, we will carry on our work to safeguard the trust and investment of students. We will advocate for maintaining a student-focused and quality learning environment. And we look forward to working with the new university president to bolster transparency, institute sound fiscal management and make permanent these positive changes.

Through it all, the students of NDSU still hold much energy and commitment to leaving our university better than when we arrived. Whether it’s in the classroom, on campus, or in our community, we strive for excellence in all our endeavors. Indeed, we must not let the controversies of the past overshadow the many accomplishments of today.

This past year, our fellow students have logged more than 21,000 volunteer hours, received national acclaim in research and development, and put NDSU on the map by excelling in everything from agriculture to athletics to the arts.

Additionally, our student life is strengthened by more than 270 clubs and organizations, our international scope includes students from more than 90 countries, and our educational offerings now number more than 100 undergraduate, 63 master’s, and 44 doctoral degree programs.

These are but a few of the many positive contributions and achievements happening at North Dakota State. With a firm commitment to proactive reform, we have great faith in the future. Despite the systemic shortcomings of the past, we will do as we should by recalibrating our priorities to emerge stronger than ever. We are optimistic. We are resilient. We are NDSU.

Black is NDSU student body president; Affolter is vice president.