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Published October 14, 2009, 08:25 AM

News of NDSU President's resignation shocks community

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It was shocking news to many in the community this afternoon. After 11 years at the helm, NDSU President Joseph Chapman has resigned. His resignation comes amid controversy over the last couple months.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It was shocking news to many in the community this afternoon. After 11 years at the helm, NDSU President Joseph Chapman has resigned. His resignation comes amid controversy over the last couple months.

Controversy over the cost of the NDSU President's home, at two million dollars, double original estimates, a 50-thousand dollar salary paid to Chapman’s wife Gale, and the latest controversy, a 22-thousand dollar trip for Chapman and his family paid for by the foundation.

Chapman says it’s those distractions have made it impossible to provide leadership the university deserves. He sent his resignation letter to the Chancellor of the university system today.

His resignation takes effect January 2nd. Chapman said serving as President at NDSU for the past 11-years, was the greatest privilege of his academic career. Students at NDSU are trying to come to terms with the sudden shock of Chapman's unexpected resignation.

This comes just three years after student support kept him on campus instead of taking a job in Wyoming. It's no secret all the work President Chapman has done for this university, but if you ask students, it's not the new programs, Division 1, or record enrollment that matter. It's the rare relationship he has built with them.

It almost seems a coincidence that a day that will go down in NDSU's history is a rainy one.

“I’m a little emotional I have to admit. I am. It's a sad day.”

Holding back tears, student body president amber Alstadt thinks about the man she and so many others have gotten to know on a one on one basis.

“He’s a really, really neat guy; a neat guy to work with.”

Alstadt has worked with President Joe Chapman on several campus projects. To her, it's that unique effort he gives to students that has her saddened by his resignation.

“It was really inspiring to see the head of the university have a regular meeting with the students.”

That undeniable bond goes back years. In 2006, thousands of students joined forces to keep him from leaving. That massive effort worked. Tonight, students say they are disappointed and not really sure why he all of a sudden wants to quit.

“It is kinda bothersome. The time period and span and what has to occur to us finding a new one.”

The unveiled truth isn't out there. There's confusion on what money was spent and who it came from. Most we talked with say things won't be the same without Chapman. A president they call more than an administrator, but also a friend.

“I think he should stick with it. Work through it and find a way to figure out how he can please everybody else.”

WDAY 6 News has learned an effort is the works to keep President Chapman here. An exact decision hasn't been made has to how but one option is a petition similar to three years back.

Mayor Dennis Walaker says he tried to convince Chapman to stay to no avail. Walaker says he's extremely disappointed because NDSU needs leadership and vision like President Chapman's. He worries it will be hard to find someone of Chapman's caliber to fill the position.

The city and school have worked on several projects together. Hopefully everybody will make the right things and try to convince him to reconsider but when I talked to him this afternoon, he didn't want to leave any doors open. Walaker says Chapman is one of the best leaders he's ever worked with.

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