Steve Sviggum says he’ll resign his job as a legislative fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs so he can keep his position with the U’s board of regents.
Last week a regents committee told Sviggum holding both positions was a conflict of interest, and he should resign one of them.
Sviggum, a former Speaker of the Minnesota House, is paid $80,000 a year for the half-time job of legislative fellow. Sviggum raises most of that money from private donors. The job requires him to teach a class, raise money for the school, and write editorial pieces.
His position on the board of regents is unpaid.
Sviggum says he’ll end the semester with his students before he resigns.
Here’s what Sviggum said in an email sent out late Sunday to board of regent leadership:
With regret, I will be asking the Dean of the Humphrey School to break my contract with the University of Minnesota. The Humphrey is a wonderful teaching and civic discussion school for Minnesota, but at this time it is necessary to separate my relationship with the Humphrey School.
I love teaching and the activities that the Humphrey School allow me to engage in as a Legislative
Fellow. However, on Wednesday of last week, an Ad Hoc Committee of the University’s Board of Regents determined that the two roles of Legislative Fellow and serving on the Board of Regents presented a conflict of interest and that it would be necessary for me to resign from one. I respect their decision and will abide by it.
While disappointed that I will not be able to continue to teach, I do know that serving the best interests of the University of Minnesota is my unquestioned priority. I strongly feel that the two roles are not in conflict, recognizing that private funds have been raised to pay for the Fellowship and that significant difference exists between a legislative Fellow (with no governance authority) and a professorship.
It’s important to state that throughout the process of Regent selection, complete transparency and openness have been the fact. During this process the understanding and thoughtfulness of so many persons is appreciated. Also very appreciated is the reasonableness of the Ad Hoc Committee as they allow me to finish the last five weeks of classes with my students and other projects I have initiated at the Humphrey School.
Sincerely, Steve Sviggum