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Steven Bolduc, Fargo, Published January 27 2013

Letter: Bresciani clearly is playing politics

North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani’s claim that his decision to withhold grant funds was not motivated by politics or is not an assault on academic freedom is difficult to believe. Bresciani’s announcement on the Scott Hennen radio show seems an overt political act. Moreover, his suggestion that ambiguous legal issues warrant additional scrutiny belies the fact that a well-tested grant review process has been in place.

What is not ambiguous is that his actions single out two female professors whose research concerning sex education affects predominantly female teens. What is also unambiguous is that the North Dakota Legislature has a history of micromanaging higher ed matters.

The vitality and integrity of a research university depends on the freedom of faculty to pursue inquiry without political or commercial interference. As a North Dakota resident, I am concerned that Bresciani and Chancellor Hamid Shirvani are more focused on appeasing intolerant legislators than protecting the values essential for a great university.

Bolduc is a professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead.