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Letter: A critical look at ND Measure 3

You’ve probably heard the growing buzz surrounding Measure 3, which will appear on North Dakota’s November ballot, but do you know what this legislation really does? As a university student, I’ve worked to understand the implications of the measure and have realized the negative impacts it would have on my fellow students and me.

In eliminating the state Board of Higher Education, Measure 3 would also eliminate student representation from the governance of higher education. This loss of representation is something that students strongly oppose. Not only are we the central purpose of higher education, but student tuition and fees provided 44.2 percent of all North Dakota University System operating revenues in 2013. We deserve a voice in the decision-making process.

The proposed model for higher ed governance laid out in Measure 3 has also never been implemented in any state. The Higher Learning Commission stated that this will raise serious accreditation questions for every North Dakota college and university. It is possible that the HLC will place sanctions on the system. Even if accreditation is upheld, the turmoil resulting from any sanctions will undoubtedly lead to a decrease in enrollment and have a significant negative impact on NDUS revenues.

Finally, Measure 3 would remove the names and missions of the universities from the North Dakota Constitution. Proponents of the measure may tell you that the institutions are protected by the proposed new language, but don’t let them fool you. By removing the purposes of the institutions from the constitution, the Legislature would have the power to dramatically restructure the university system without prior consent of the voters, which is required while the language remains in its current form.

Students from across the state oppose Measure 3; you will be hearing more from of us as November draws nearer. Listen to our voices. We’re counting on you, the voters, to make an educated and responsible decision in the best interests of North Dakota’s current and future students.

Perdue is a student at Dickinson State University, Dickinson, N.D.