There are a few things on my mind this morning:

North Dakota finds itself in the unenviable position of being a national leader in the daily rate of COVID-19 infection. Our state has seen spikes in counties across the state.

Just yesterday, Burleigh (12.96%), Morton (13.00%), Stark (14.78%), and Barnes (10.34%), posted double digit daily infection rates. Cass, Grand Forks, Ward and others posted daily infection rates above 5%, a rate that health experts consider unsatisfactory.

Gov. Doug Burgum is counting on North Dakotans to exercise “personal responsibility” in making the decision to wear masks. He has faith that the majority of our fellow citizens will have the courage to make mask-wearing a matter of health, not politics.

He has put his faith in the belief that North Dakotans will embrace their duty to help themselves, their neighbors and their communities by simply wearing a mask in public spaces. Let us make sure that the Governor’s faith in us is not misplaced and #MaskUpND. As I have said before, widespread mask-wearing for as few as two months can result in dragging the infection rate to below 1%. Let’s do that.

You can track your county’s daily infection rate here.

There will be a measure on the ballot this fall known as Measure 1 (M1). M1, if passed, will restructure the ND State Board of Higher Education. Per Ballotpedia, M1 would:

  • increase the number of members on the state’s board of higher education from eight to 15.
  • increase the length of board member terms from four years to six years.
  • require the board to have at minimum one meeting per year with the directors of each of the education institutions overseen by the board.
  • exclude any state officials, legislators, and employees of the state from serving on the board.
  • prohibit employees of an institution under control of the board from being members of the board for two years following the termination of such employment.

In addition, the student member of the board would be appointed by the Governor from a list of names recommended by the executive board of the North Dakota Student Association. The student member could not serve more than two consecutive terms.

M1 was placed on the ballot by the Legislature. You can read it here.

If you are a Higher Ed member of ND United, please give it a read and share your thoughts with me, nick.archuleta@ndunited.org, and with our higher ed organizers at courtney.schaff@ndunited.org or liz.bjerke@ndunited.org. Let us know your thoughts.

Speaking of the State Board of Higher Education, there is an opening on the SBHE. Newest member Joseph Wetch Jr. announced his resignation from the Board citing “unforeseen circumstances.”

We need your help in encouraging qualified individuals who are passionate about higher education to apply. The closing date for applicants for ND State Board of Higher education is Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, by 5 p.m. Here is a link to the application form.

The application can also be found on the DPI webpage under forms. Applications can be mailed to the address listed on the form, or sent by e-mail to dpipa@nd.gov.

Thank you all for your membership in ND United and for all you do to make ND a great place to live and work!

Nick Archuleta

ND United President