The North Dakota Senate on Friday narrowly rejected the bill that would’ve let the presidents of two state institutions review and then fire tenured faculty members—without review from, or the right to appeal to, a faculty committee.
The Senate vote was 21 for and 23 against, with three senators absent. That body has only four Democrats, who all voted against the legislation, House Bill 1446.
The state’s House of Representatives had passed the bill 66 to 27 on Feb. 20.
Mike Lefor, who leads the Republican House supermajority, filed the legislation. It would’ve affected Dickinson State University and Bismarck State College.
Dickinson State president Steve Easton supported it. But The Bismarck Tribune reported that the State Board of Higher Education and other groups opposed it.
Under the bill, the Dickinson and Bismarck presidents would’ve been able to conduct these faculty reviews at any time. Lefor’s original version would have provided no appeal for these fired faculty members, but the modified version the full House passed said they “may appeal the review to the commissioner of the State Board of Higher Education.”
The bill would’ve added new requirements that faculty members would have been expected to meet under the reviews—including, among other things, a requirement to “Effectively teach and advise a number of students approximately equal to the average campus faculty teaching and advising load.”