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Ron Saeger, Fargo, Published September 22 2012

Letter: It’s a saga of ethics vs. greed

There have been a lot of news stories recently shedding light on serious issues, some ingrained, which make one question whether there is a code of ethics at any of the North Dakota higher education institutions.

The first I recall was the foreign student debacle at Dickinson State, which focused on one individual but obviously had many operatives who colluded or complied.

The new higher ed chancellor has brought light to weak, inconsistent and fluctuating enrollment standards. The reason may be to allow schools to keep enrollment numbers high and to assist specific departments, such as athletics, in recruiting.

There has also been an inequitable, arbitrary system of student fees and slush funds in some academic areas, and some staff and faculty have been caught with their arm in the cookie jar up to the shoulder.

Now comes the issue of voter fraud by athletes who have apparently colluded to get easy money and who couldn’t care less about the rights of North Dakota residents. As one who has been a poll worker for many years, I can attest that these civil liberties are taken very seriously by many at all levels.

It is an insult that the athletic department and administration at North Dakota State University deems inaction to be appropriate. However, it is understandable since doing otherwise would preclude maximizing income from lucrative clauses in personal, corporate and institutional contracts. Whether these students/athletes are eventually suspended, it would be appropriate to change the football jersey color to orange for a season to remind everyone for whom they are cheering.

The common thread in these ignominious, contemptible issues seems to be greed, and it is time to set and consistently enforce a code of ethical standards and policies so that it can be put in check.