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Thursday, August 18, 2011


In college, anyone who takes courses in Management has reviewed the work of W. Edwards Demming and has studied how fear in the workplace is the most destructive force to productivity.


A system cannot understand itself. 


The transformation requires a view from outside.




Fear invites wrong figures. Bearers of bad news fare badly. 


To keep his job, anyone may present to his boss only good news.


A committee appointed by the President of a company will report what the President wishes to hear. 


Would they dare report otherwise?


The developing story at Dickinson State University has confirmed one thing to those investigating the situation:  taxpayers need whistleblowers in government that do not let fear stop them from doing what is right.


Ever since we started looking into this situation in mid-July, the biggest stumbling block to uncovering the truth has been a distinct fear of retaliation against anyone who "spills the beans."  From day one, the story was the same - "here's some great information, but it didn't come from me." 


This situation is confirmed by the University System's own documents.

From Page 5 of the Internal Review Report:


"Those interviewed have suggested that leadership has created an intimidating and distrustful culture which may have contributed to turnover, low morale and lack of respect for DSU leadership."


That report was released on August 1st, and it only confirmed what had already been reported in late June in The Dickinson Press.


This silence is not shocking.  


Most people are not in a personal financial position to be able to risk their jobs and careers by "doing the right thing" - which is exactly the problem, the system should not allow "doing the right thing" to be a risk in the first place.


If we as taxpayers want Good Government, we have to understand the need to legally shield whistleblowers that go on the record when it comes to waste, fraud, and abuse.


State law should make it clear to public employees that it is their moral and professional obligation to be stewards of taxpayer dollars.  Sure, the law also needs to strictly deter false claims, but the basic concept of protecting those who are watching out for the public dollar should have the support of the law.


The sorts of issues going on in Dickinson, the issues we've seen on other campuses, as well as previous situations in other government agencies have been caused by a cultural rejection of open communication. 


If the legislature wants to fix the problems in Higher Ed, they must, as Demming's 8th Principle says, "drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the organization."


Click here to email your elected representatives.


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