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North Dakota State University President Accused of Deleting 45K Emails

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Legislative Council is asking Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to determine whether the president of North Dakota State University broke the law by deleting more than 45,000 emails that may have been subject to an open records request.

In April, the Legislative Council requested emails from State Board of Higher Education officials from July 1, 2012 to April 28 of this year. When NDSU was slow to respond to the request, an attorney with the North Dakota University System reported that 45,375 emails from NDSU President Dean Bresciani’s inbox were deleted. The emails were reportedly deleted the same day the state made its open records request.

An NDSU spokeswoman said the university fully complies with open records request and Bresciani did not delete 45,000 emails on April 29. A public official found guilty of destroying public records can be charged with a felony.

The Forum also requested emails that Bresciani sent from Sept. 25, 2012, to March 25 of this year mentioning Higher Education Chancellor Hamid Shirvani. Shirvani was ousted as chancellor earlier this month.

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