President Bresciani Needs to Be Held Accountable for Travel Expenses

I disagree with President Bresciani’s actions regarding his recent trip to India.

It is not the nature of the trip I am troubled with, as one local legislator is, but rather the cost. When the Forum broke the story on January 20, it was discovered that Bresciani purchased a business class ticket costing $8,300 when he could have purchased a coach class ticket costing approximately $1,400.

Not only does this warrant criticism, but so does the way he chose to respond to it.

As NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott told the Forum, Bresciani did not break any rules or laws as NDUS policy only prohibits flying first class. Technically this prohibition does not apply to business class. However, Hagerott noted that this was an “embarrassment,” nonetheless.

The Forum editorial board expressed that this controversy is unwarranted. But as local blogger Rob Port pointed out, all the officials from the North Dakota governor’s office fly coach, including the governor.

I think it is reasonable to expect Bresciani to abide by the same standards. It seems that he is obeying the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

The fact that Bresciani has already been criticized in the past for overpriced travel expenses further justifies this scrutiny. Specifically, he has been criticized for using a private plane that cost more than $5,600 an hour to operate.

University spokeswoman Sadie Rudolph told the Forum, “It wouldn’t be appropriate for President Bresciani to comment,” in reference to the cost of the flight. I disagree.

President Bresciani is the face of North Dakota State. As such, he is responsible for explaining the university’s actions, even when they may bring embarrassment to himself and/or the university. It would be inappropriate for him not to comment.

The professional thing for him to do in this situation would be to either admit fault, or agree to disagree with the chancellor and defend his actions.

He wrote in a Listserv e-mail that private donors have paid the difference between the ticket prices seems to be a subtle admission that there was wrongdoing. It would be better if he took a definitive stance towards either position.

NDSU is a public institution, and as such the people of North Dakota, especially the students of NDSU, deserve transparency from university officials. It is reasonable for them to expect a justification for how their public funds are being spent.

One Reply to “President Bresciani Needs to Be Held Accountable for Travel Expenses”

  1. Since when have officials of public institutions EVER been accountable. It’s not their money they’re spending so why would they care. If NDSU is ever low on money, the sate will just throw more money at it, regardless of performance.
    Bad management has always been a problem for public institutions since the people in charge of making decisions pay no price for being wrong. There are no profits to be lost from this; no shareholders or investors to piss off.

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