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DSU Students, Alumni Protest Removal of BIS Leadership

Dakota State University recently announced that it is searching for a new dean of the College of Business and Information Systems. The press reported that former dean Tom Halverson and associate dean Wayne Pauli had "stepped down" to pursue full-time teaching.

I yield the floor to 34 Dakota State University students and alumni who contest that portrayal of the staffing changes. In this open letter to DSU president David Borofsky and the Board of Regents, these concerned members of the DSU community say Dr. Borofsky removed Halverson and Pauli from their leadership positions. The letter also says that Dr. Borofsky has stonewalled discussing his decision with the public.

An open letter to Dakota State University President Dr. David Borofsky and the South Dakota Board of Regents [released 2014.07.03]

Dear President Borofsky and Board of Regents,

We, the undersigned Dakota State University students and alumni, are writing to you today to express our deep concern for the recent administrative changes in the College of Business and Information Systems (BIS). Additionally, we wish to voice our worries regarding the evasive manner in which the administration has responded to our many letters of concern, and the administration's apparent disregard for the welfare of the programs which have set DSU apart as a center of excellence.

(For the benefit who have not been following this discussion over the past two weeks, the issue is that we are concerned about the administration's decision to remove Dr. Tom Halverson and Dr. Wayne Pauli from their positions as Dean of the College of BIS and Associate Dean of the College of BIS, respectively).

As past and present DSU students, we have known Dr. Halverson and Dr. Pauli to be two of our biggest advocates, our most dedicated faculty, and the greatest leaders a college could ask for. Because of their esteemed and respected status among the students and faculty alike, it came as a shock to us to hear that they had been asked to step down from their leadership roles. We feel very strongly that DSU owes much of its national prominence to the hard work of Dr. Halverson and Dr. Pauli, and that losing them as leaders will have a very tangible negative impact on the future of the school. We are extremely confused and gravely concerned about this incomprehensible decision.

Over the past two weeks, many of my peers and I have expressed our confusion and concern to you through both email and telephone communications. Several times we have requested an official statement regarding the reasons behind this decision as well as an opportunity to discuss the issue with you in a public forum. Thus far we have received nothing but brief and ambiguous statements proclaiming your commitment to the success of the school. We have been increasingly dissatisfied with the way in which the administration has brushed off our very legitimate questions and concerns. We had hoped to resolve this issue internally; however, your apparent unwillingness to engage in a dialogue has left us with no other option. This open letter is our way of demonstrating that we are very serious about our displeasure with your decision and equally serious about our desire to discuss the matter with you in a public setting.

As a consequence of your perplexing decision to remove our best administrators from their leadership roles, and your subsequent failure to discuss this decision with those it affects most, we also find ourselves questioning your commitment to the programs that have put DSU on the map. In our experience, a change in leadership often represents a desired change in focus or direction, and so we are immensely worried about the ramifications of this significant change for the future of the school. Over the past several years, the outstanding programs within the College of BIS have elevated DSU to national esteem. If there has been some serious problem worthy of a change in leadership, we certainly have seen no evidence of it. In our opinion and from what we have experienced, the College of BIS is the best it has ever been, and so we are bewildered by the sudden changes you have made.

Although we have tried unsuccessfully for two weeks now to gain insight into your reasoning and schedule a public meeting to discuss the matter, we remain hopeful that this letter will provoke some meaningful response. We do not doubt that you have DSU's best interests in mind at all times; however, we hope that you also consider the thoughts and opinions of the rest of the school when making such momentous decisions. We, as students, have a vested interest in ensuring that the outstanding programs DSU offers continue to be offered for many years to come. Your decision to remove Dr. Halverson and Dr. Pauli from their roles as leaders, in addition to your minimal and inadequate responses to our questions and concerns following that decision, gives the strong impression that the College of BIS is in jeopardy.

Thank you for your attention to this highly important matter. We look forward to your response, and the opportunity to discuss this issue openly with you.


The following concerned DSU students and alumni:

Aaron Fields (DSU Alumni)
Adam Klindworth (DSU Alumni)
Alex Gartner (DSU Student)
Andrew Bucholtz (DSU Student)
Andrew Kramer (DSU Student)
Benjamin Cable (DSU Student)
Brandon Trocke (DSU Student)
Chad Mitzel (DSU Alumni)
Christopher Paschen (DSU Student)
Cody Welu (DSU Alumni)
Daniel Jochims (DSU Alumni)
Dustin Stage (DSU Alumni)
Eric Holm (DSU Student)
Jack Stromberg (DSU Alumni)
Jeremiah Klumb (DSU Student)
Joel Wohnoutka (DSU Student)
Jordan Stewart (DSU Student)
Kaitlyn Wiggs (DSU Student)
Kyle Cosman (DSU Student)
Marcus Nowick (DSU Alumni)
Michael Hunhoff (DSU Alumni)
Michael Kent (DSU Alumni)
Nick Jones (DSU Student)
Paul Dockter (DSU Alumni)
Rebecca Stevens (DSU Student)
Reed Norstrom (DSU Student)
Richard Friesen (DSU Alumni)
Ryan Reiffenberger (DSU Student)
Shawn Zwach (DSU Student)
Tyler Bouma (DSU Alumni)
Tyler Flaggen (DSU Student)
William Hofer (DSU Student)
Zach Fuerst (DSU Alumni)
Zachary Bakke (DSU Alumni)

Are the Board of Regents allowing Dr. Borofsky to demote some of Dakota State University's best assets? Will these staffing decision imperil DSU's leadership in information systems and security? And with whom will DSU replace these leaders?


  1. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.03

    Where was this published?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.03

    Deb, I received this letter directly from one of the organizers. This blog may be the first place it was published. We'll see if it's the last.

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