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Published March 31 2013

Forum editorial: Abortion debate wins roses

Prairie roses: To North Dakotans and others who have been hip-deep in a raucous and emotional debate over abortion laws. Several bills passed the Legislature and were signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, to the consternation of women’s rights advocates, and to the pleasure of anti-abortion people. The debate has been lively, to say the least. Issues that need airing have been aired, if sometimes without factual foundations. But the overall debate, as heated as it sometimes has been, is in the cherished tradition of American discourse. Like all Americans, North Dakotans disagree vehemently about whether abortion should remain legal. The conflict over the abortion bills has put the state in the epicenter of the national debate, and no matter your position on the issue, the debate has been a good thing.

Leafy spurge: To North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, who has resorted to a boilerplate response to criticism of his management style. Rather than accept some of the criticism as constructive, he routinely says it’s all part of a campaign to resist change in the structure of the system and to personally attack him. It’s not. The latest dust-up came last week when a system office employee charged data had been manipulated in order to mislead legislators about the performance of the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. Shirvani said the allegations “are another part of relentless tactics of assassination over fear of governance.” No, that’s not the problem. The concern is the methods and style of improving governance, not the goal of better governance, which most observers of the university system support. Last week’s revelation about what the chancellor calls “data in a different context” is a symptom of the real problem.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.