Dr. Lisa Feldner, vice chancellor of the North Dakota University System, was fired after accusations were brought against her by Chancellor Mark Hagerott. The accusations claim Feldner made derogatory comments and speculated termination of staff members.
Feldner was brought in as vice chancellor for information technology and institutional research in 2013 after serving as chief information officer for NDUS since 2006. NDUS hired Hagerott in the summer of 2015.
According to sources in Feldner’s personnel file, accessed by The Forum through open records requests, there was a confrontation between Hagerott and Feldner that apparently led to her firing. Numerous exchanges between the chancellor and vice chancellor proved to be contentious.
The tensions between Feldner and Hagerott began in August 2017, when Hagerott presented Feldner with a letter bringing accusations against her.
In the letter, dated Aug. 23, Hagerott claims that on several occasions Feldner made “derogatory references pertaining to other staff members, past staff members or speculated as to the likely performance failure of members (of the larger North Dakota University System) even to include speculation of the possible termination of employees.”
Feldner “was dismissed without cause from her position effective Sept. 14, 2017,” according to Billie Jo Lorius, communications director for NDUS.
“Under (State Board of Higher Education policy), an employee excluded from the broad banding system may be dismissed without cause pursuant to written notice,” Lorius noted. University system policy allows for higher level staff without civil service protections to be fired “without cause.”
“We thank Dr. Feldner for her service to the North Dakota University System and wish her well in her future endeavors,” Lorius said.
Recent comments by Rep. Roscoe Streyle, a Republican from Minot, claim Hagerott fired Feldner to make room in the budget to hire a former “Navy buddy.” The recent release of the 2016 staff survey makes claims that Hagerott is “militaristic” and “controlling” with more respect for men than for women.
Since the firing of Feldner, numerous staff members within the university system have come forward to express their disappointment with the recent hiring of the Chancellor’s associate from the Navy. Recent reports have surfaced following Feldner’s termination, claiming Hagerott had made derogatory comments and disrespected staff, noting a lack of leadership.
Chancellor Hagerott and Dr. Feldner could not be reached for comment. Student member of the State Board of Higher Education, Jacob Dailey declined to comment on Feldner’s termination.