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Published July 08, 2013, 08:53 AM

New North Dakota higher ed student member: 'make peace'

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — The new student member of North Dakota's Board of Higher Education says the state university system needs to regain the public's trust before it can move past recent controversies.

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — The new student member of North Dakota's Board of Higher Education says the state university system needs to regain the public's trust before it can move past recent controversies.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple appointed Langdon native Devin Hoffarth, 19, to the board last week. The Lake Region State College graduate and current Mayville State University student will serve through June 2014.

The state university system has gone through months of turmoil that included the buyout of embattled chancellor Hamid Shirvani and findings by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem that the higher education board violated open meeting laws.

Hoffarth told The Forum newspaper that the board needs to "make peace" over the next year to move past those issues.

"In order to do that, we need to show them that we are a system and we do know how to run the system," he said. "I think that the first step is just making sure that we have everyone's trust back.

"I could just tell that this year to come, the board may have some issues," Hoffarth said. "I think I'm up for that challenge."

The board will have plenty of other work to do over the next year, as well, he said — especially preparing the 11 public colleges and universities in the system for stricter admission standards that will start to go into effect in the fall semester of 2014. Hoffarth said he is in a unique position to understand how the changes will affect the individual campuses because he has been a student at two-year and four-year institutions.

Hoffarth graduated in May with an associate's degree in business administration from two-year Lake Region State. He will stay in Devils Lake for the next year as he takes classes through the college's distance learning program with four-year school Mayville State, where he plans to work toward bachelor's degrees in business administration and history education.

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