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Published June 28, 2013, 09:34 AM

Official: NDSU president emails not gone for good

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More than 45,000 emails reportedly deleted from the email account of North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani at the time of a state open records request are not gone for good, the interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System says.

By: Associated Press, The Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More than 45,000 emails reportedly deleted from the email account of North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani at the time of a state open records request are not gone for good, the interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System says.

"We know where they are. There's no missing emails," Larry Skogen told The Forum newspaper (http://bit.ly/12uKeL3 ).

The emails are the subject of a state investigation into whether NDSU violated open records laws by deleting emails from Bresciani's inbox that might have been subject to a legislative public records request. The request came during months of controversy over the alleged overbearing leadership style of then-Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, whose contract has since been bought out by the state Board of Higher Education.

In April, the North Dakota Legislative Council requested emails from each state school president and other higher education officials believed to be trying to undermine Shirvani. The council is the state Legislature's research arm.

NDSU turned over about 900 pages of emails from Bresciani's account, prompting the Legislative Council to request a second look from the North Dakota University System to determine if any emails had been deleted.

University System personnel later confirmed that about 45,000 emails were deleted from Bresciani's account the day the Legislative Council made its open records request. The Legislative Council has asked Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to determine if any laws were broken.

NDSU says it fully complies with open records requests. Bresciani earlier this week wrote in an email to students that his inbox had been "compromised" several times by university system accounts without his knowledge. He also said NDSU had not determined whether the questioned emails had been deleted.

Skogen also said officials are still trying to determine if the emails were ever deleted.

"As soon as we know what happened, we'll let everybody know," he said.

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