Carslon Continues Abusing Power with NDSU

After a legislative session full of vindictive behavior towards NDSU, House Majority Leader Al Carlson continues to abuse his power with the university. This time, his antics are for purely political purposes. He’s trying to get reelected. Carlson is hoping people will forget how he has treated the university over the years. Perhaps he believes a political magnet with the NDSU football schedule and use of their official website would ease tensions. He shouldn’t count on it.

Last week, voters in District 41 started receiving magnets of the NDSU football schedule. Tucked neatly below the school colors, schedule, and GoBison.com is the campaign logo of the NDGOP candidates running for the legislature. The question, is this a licensing violation?

Campaign magnet in District 41 using official NDSU Bison website.

According to NDSU’s website:

Any product bearing the logos, trademarks, word marks, or having an implied association with the North Dakota State University must be licensed with the North Dakota State University Licensing Program represented by Learfield Licensing Partners, which approves all products and designs, and ensures proper labeling.

Again, the campaign magnet lists the official GoBison.com website the school operates, which seems to indicate implied association.

What is NDSU to do? Last I heard, they had reached out to the candidates and were waiting for a response. When it comes to Carlson, the university may be leery to confront him because of his behavior towards them. Let’s look at the 2017 legislative session for three examples of that behavior.

First, Carlson backed using 250 nursing students as leverage to place the legislature in an agreement between Sanford Health and NDSU they didn’t like. The amendment to the Higher Education budget would have closed the NDSU nursing program in Bismarck. It was started to address the nursing shortage in the state. After public outrage, the amendment was walked back.

Following the nursing debate, amendments to the NDSU budget were prepared by Carlson and company to stray from the Higher Education funding formula by reducing funding by $1.5 million. By all observers around the Capitol at the time, this was simply a vindictive measure against NDSU. The overall cut Carlson was proposing to NDSU at the time was in the neighborhood of $3.5 million. Again, it was scaled back after public outrage.

Perhaps the most striking move came at the end of the session when Carlson attempted to force NDSU to swap land with a private developer. We broke that story right here on NDxPlains. One has to ask why Al Carlson would insist on a land swap that would cost NDSU, the public university in the city he represents, millions of dollars. Ultimately, this amendment was also defeated after we shined a spotlight on it.

Carlson wasn’t able to get away with his harmful proposals to NDSU in 2017. He likely hopes because he failed to get his way, that voters will forget what he truly wanted to do to the university. It is his political pattern of governing one way and campaigning another. Carlson attempted to abuse his power in the legislature, he shouldn’t be allowed to on the campaign trail. If NDSU deems his magnet use as a violation, they should not back down.

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