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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicoine Earns More from Monsanto than SDSU? No Problem, Says Legislature

So much for speaking truth to power: our Legislature seems to be perfectly willing to let Monsanto run South Dakota State University. Last week the Senate State Affairs Committee killed Senator Kloucek's SB 111, intended to address the sweetheart deal SDSU President David Chicoine currently gets for serving on the Monsanto corporate board.

Please allow me a little disappointment when I see Russell Olson and Scott Heidepriem both vote against a bill I like. Heidepriem at least tried to keep alive SB 113, a less aggressive measure that would have required the Board of Regents to work up a policy on such outside employment as Chicoine snagged. But the Board of Regents already has a conflict of interest policy, one that every employee signs but that the Regents apparently don't apply to university presidents with corporate connections.

There's still some small hope the Monsanto-Chicoine discussion might resume. HB1116, a bill that would cap moonlighting for university honchos at $10,000 a year, was tabled by House State Affairs last week. Not dead, but barely breathing....

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