Reporting Susie Jones
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A University of Minnesota regent has given up his position on the board after its members forced Steve Sviggum to choose between his regent post or his job with the Senate Republican Caucus.
Conflict-of-interest questions have dogged Sviggum since he took the GOP job as communications director in January. The board voted unanimously to force Sviggum to make a choice. A three-member regents’ panel concluded last week that Sviggum had a conflict holding both positions. Sviggum disagreed and told the committee he didn’t intend to resign.
But today, Sviggum passed out a resignation letter after board chairwoman Linda Cohen asked him to step down.
“Madam chair, if you ask for my resignation, you will have it,” Sviggum said.
Audio Clip: Steve Sviggum Steps Down
Sviggum’s letter said he respected the view of the regents, even if he didn’t agree with them. He went onto to say that he felt some board members were treating him unfairly, and were even rude or hurtful.
Sviggum broke down, as he thanked board member Dean Johnson for his support.
“We’ve had our differences years ago, but I’ve come to love you,” Sviggum said.
Sviggum concluded, saying his reputation means a lot to him, and rather than fight this, he would for the second time, walk away from something he loved.