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Interim leader Hanson doesn't plan to live in NDSU president's house

Richard Hanson

The interim president for North Dakota State University does not plan to live in the house that has been the source of recent controversy.

Richard Hanson said Wednesday that he plans to rent an apartment in Fargo but will use the new president's house for social functions.

"I've been a president for five years, and I know what it means to set up house," said Hanson, who is now president of Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. "And I'm not going to do that as an interim."

Cost overruns with the house have been the subject of debate leading up to the resignation of President Joseph Chapman.

The house was expected to cost $900,000 in private donations, but wound up costing more than $2 million.

"I also think the whole house thing needs to cool down," Hanson said. "There's nothing to be gained by me moving into it as an interim."

The state Board of Higher Education left the housing decision up to Hanson, said President Richie Smith.

"The house will still be used, he's just not going to live in it," Smith said.

Hanson will not receive a housing allowance, Smith said. The board set his salary last week at $175,000.

Hanson's start date is still being finalized, though he's been told it is tracking toward Dec. 1.

Chapman's resignation is effective Jan. 2.

Board members favor having Hanson begin at NDSU as soon as possible, Smith said.

"Generally, they would like to see the interim get in there and get going so that process gets done sooner rather than later," Smith said. "We have no problem with Joe, but to some extent he's a little bit of a lame duck."

Smith said Chancellor Bill Goetz is working with Chapman and Hanson to finalize how the transition will work.

"It's a very congenial process," Smith said.

Goetz has said that Hanson will be president as soon as he arrives at NDSU.

Chapman is in Colorado looking for a house, but will return to campus Nov. 9.

Open forums today

Chancellor Bill Goetz will hold open forums today at NDSU in the Century Theater in Memorial Union. He'll meet with staff at 1:30, faculty at 3:30 and students at 4:15.