Bob Mercer has no new information on the sudden departure week before last of Timothy Downs from the presidency of Northern State University. But when Bob Mercer writes a whole article about how “Questions Remain,” it’s a fair bet that the most experienced working reporter in Pierre has leads saying there’s a scoop that he just can’t get on the record yet:
Several current and recent members of the South Dakota Board of Regents declined to answer questions about the situation. They referred KELOLAND News to the regents’ executive director, Brian Maher.
According to Maher, Downs didn’t say where he is going next. Maher confirmed that Downs was near the end of a contract. It expires June 21. Asked whether Downs was asked to resign, Maher answered, “The press releases issued by the board and NSU address the rationale for his departure.”
That answer wasn’t much help. The first sentence of the board’s news release said, “Northern State University President Timothy M. Downs has announced his resignation to pursue a new opportunity in higher education.” The first sentence of the NSU news release said the same thing. Otherwise the releases point out Downs’ accomplishments at Northern since his appointment June 27, 2016.
Asked whether Downs had already left the presidency, Maher replied, “As indicated in the board press release, we are in the process of identifying an interim president for NSU. Veronica Paulson, VP (vice president) for finance and administration, is currently serving as the acting president.”
“President Downs will complete his move from the president’s residence on, or before, June 21,” Maher said [Bob Mercer, “Questions Remain on Former NSU President,” KELO-TV, 2021.04.23].
Mercer also meaningfully notes that Downs announced his resignation the same day as NSU Foundation boss Todd Jordre.
Regent Jim Thares of Aberdeen and Maher said the timing was a coincidence. They said the regents have no control over the foundations, whose roles include lining up donations [Mercer, 2021.04.23].
Coincidence, schmoincidence, I can hear Mercer huffing over his keyboard. Now if he can just land that interview with Downs….