If you’ve never heard of a man named Jerre Stead, join the club. Like most of the characters in the tawdry drama surrounding the hiring of J. Bruce Harreld to be the next president of the University of Iowa, I’d never heard of Stead until a few weeks ago. In fact, I read an article about him last month, and saw him listed on the search committee roster several times, but I still forgot almost everything I read.
Recently I revisited the article about Stead, who is yet another millionaire donor singing Harreld’s praises, and doing so clarified a couple of points alluded to in the previous post. Specifically, it was noted that although Iowa Board of Regents president and fellow search-committee-member Bruce Rastetter, and chair of the search committee and acting University of Iowa President Jean Robillard, both claim to have recruited Harreld first — even as those claims are at variance with Harreld’s own narrative about how he was nominated — neither Rastetter nor Robillard have had anything to say about how and when they first learned of Harreld. One minute Rastetter and Robillard have no knowledge of J. Bruce Harreld, the next minute they’re committing serial fraud by giving Harreld blatant preferential treatment in a sham search that they could have avoided by hiring Harreld outright.
And no, it makes no sense to me, either, but that’s where Jerre Stead comes in.