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North Dakota Higher Ed Auditor Resigns, Citing Cold Weather

BISMARCK, N.D. — The internal audit director for the North Dakota University System has resigned, saying he’s fed up with the job and the state’s wintry weather.

Bill Eggert submitted his letter of resignation on Friday. His last day is May 31.

“I’m just tired of it; it’s a dead-end job,” Eggert said Monday. “Plus, I’m not a fan of the weather here in North Dakota. I think I’ll head down to Phoenix.”

Eggert said his resignation had nothing to do with a recent report he authored criticizing Chancellor Hamid Shirvani. The report said Shirvani did not violate any policies or commit fraud in testimony he gave to a House committee but that Shirvani’s presentation could have been construed as misleading.

The chancellor has come under repeated fire for what his critics describe as a heavy-handed leadership style. Shirvani says he was given a mandate by the state Board of Higher Education to overhaul North Dakota’s education system and fix its problems, including low graduation rates.

Some lawmakers want to oust Shirvani and several groups, including the North Dakota Student Association, have approved votes of no confidence in him. The Board of Higher Education has passed a resolution of support for Shirvani, who has been on the job for less than a year.

Linda Donlin, a spokeswoman for Shirvani, said Eggert made no secret of his desire to move to a warmer location.

“He’s been talking about it for a long time,” Donlin said. “He is tired of North Dakota winters and wanted to seek employment in a warmer climate. We’re going to miss him a lot.”

Eggert has held the position for just more than two years, after working in Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Minot State University.

Shortly after being hired as the university system’s internal audit director, Eggert issued a report that found Dickinson State University awarded hundreds of degrees to foreign students who didn’t earn them, signed up students who couldn’t speak English and others who did not have qualifying grades.

Eggert is the sole internal auditor for North Dakota’s university system that includes six four-year universities, five two-year colleges and a two-year budget of more than $1 billion. The system has more than 48,000 enrolled students.

“There’s a lot to do,” Eggert said. “One person can’t do this job. There’s enough for five or six auditors to do.”

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