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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published July 11 2010

Bresciani to meet with state legislators

North Dakota State University’s new president is looking to build ties with state legislators who haven’t been NDSU’s biggest fans.

Dean Bresciani is heading to central and western North Dakota this week to meet with several legislators.

Bresciani said he wants to start building relationships with legislators by meeting with those who have strong opinions or have been critical of NDSU in the past.

“I’m eager to hear what those concerns are and, more importantly, what their perceptions are of how we change that,” said Bresciani, who began at NDSU on June 15.

Bresciani said he plans to convey why NDSU should matter to them and discuss how NDSU can contribute to the central and western parts of the state.

“NDSU has always made contributions to those areas, but we clearly haven’t communicated them enough,” Bresciani said.

Sen. John Andrist, R-Crosby, who describes himself as a “huge critic” of the Joseph Chapman administration at NDSU, said he’s looking forward to meeting with Bresciani.

“NDSU has a long way to go to repair its image with state legislators,” said Andrist, adding that he’s heard good things about the new president.

Bresciani plans to visit Dickinson, Williston, Velva and Crosby, also meeting with newspaper editorial boards and community leaders.

Other NDSU staff will travel with Bresciani, but he wants to meet legislators one-on-one.

“I won’t be dragging an entourage into those meetings, so we can really get down to the business of NDSU and how it serves them,” he said.

Bresciani also will meet with Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, chairman of the interim higher education committee.

Skarphol said he hopes legislators develop a better working relationship not just with NDSU but also with the entire state university system.

“Higher education, in general, needs to indicate to us a willingness to be more open, more transparent,” Skarphol said.

Bresciani also is reaching out to the residents who live near NDSU. He recently met with representatives of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association to hear their concerns.

Bresciani has appointed Kevin Black, NDSU’s student body president and a member of the president’s Cabinet, to serve as a liaison between the neighborhood group and the president’s office.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590