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03/07/21 — The fourth virtual meeting of the University of Iowa Presidential Search Committee took place Friday morning, and if you are interested you can see a video of the proceedings here. The bulk of that two-hour meeting involved shaping the questions the committee will ask of the eight or so semifinalists who will be selected in roughly three weeks. For the most part that discussion was not particularly noteworthy save the sincerity of the conversation, which again spoke well of the committee’s work ethic. Later in the meeting several issues were broached which do merit discussion, and may require further attention by the committee as the search process intensifies.
To make this post easy to scan, revisit and link from, I broke the video down by timing marks which coincide with items of interest. As noted, most of the conversation about the questions for semifinalists, and thus most of the meeting, was interesting but not concerning. Not only should the committee be commended for showing its work, however, but the video of the meeting will be of particular use and benefit to prospective candidates who make the initial cut. The committee is clearly not trying to orchestrate a trial by fire, or to trick or trap applicants during the interview process. If anything comes through in the bulk of this meeting it is that the committee is doing everything possible to provide a level playing field for, and elicit relevant information from, qualified candidates.
0:02:22 — The meeting proper began a few minutes earlier, but there was a technical glitch and audio for the meeting begins here. (The portion of the audio that was lost seems to pertain to taking roll.) A motion and second is made to approve minutes from the prior meeting.
https://youtu.be/HAXJW2Y5te8?t=1390“>0:02:50 — The main agenda item for the meeting — discussing and honing questions for the candidates who are selected as semifinalists — is introduced. (After the prior meeting, the committee broke into issue-oriented subcommittees to draft questions on one of four topics: Leadership, Communication, DEI and Shared Governance. At this meeting those questions were compiled, and the full group weighed in on all of the questions.)
0:05:23 — Draft questions are displayed on two side-by-side pages which show all questions full-screen.
0:06:07 — Draft questions are displayed on a single zoomed-in page which subsequently scrolls to show all questions.
The one thing that seemed odd about this part of the meeting was that the draft questions were apparently not emailed to committee members in advance. I say apparently because during the meeting members took time to silently read the questions on-screen, which they wouldn’t have done if they had seen the questions beforehand. (As it was, the reading only took a few minutes, but subsequent discussion could have been advanced by giving members the text in advance — as is routinely done in literary workshops all over the campus at America’s preeminent writing university.)
0:36:38 — A small point here, but one of the co-chairs mentions the various documents that the committee will receive from each of the candidates, including a statement about their interest in the position. What most people do not know, including most of the people on the current committee, is that the only document J. Bruce Harreld submitted during the corrupt 2015 search was an error-riddled and misleading three-page resume, which you can still see here on the UI website. (And after Harreld gets the boot you will still be able to find that damning and incriminating document here.)
While the other applicants in 2015 submitted extensive C.V.’s and multi-page letters of application, expressing and evidencing passion for the Iowa presidency, J. Bruce Huckster skipped all that because it simply wasn’t required. (When an unqualified applicant only does the bare minimum, and screws up what they do submit, that’s an indication you should not hire that person.) Regarding the current search, the co-chair seemed a bit unsure about which documents were required from each candidate, so I popped over to the UI Presidential Search Committee website and was happy to find the following explicit statement in the text describing the application and nomination process:
For best consideration, applications and nominations should be received by March 15, 2021, and must include a letter of interest addressing the qualifications described (not more than three pages); a current résumé or curriculum vitae; and the names of five professional references with each person’s position, office or home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers.
Notwithstanding the damnable qualifier at the beginning — which is ubiquitous in presidential searches conducted by the Iowa Board of Regents, and which I loathe precisely because it allows last-second shyster applicants to sneak in under cover of crony conspirators on the committee — in this case even a last-second shyster like J. Bruce Harreld would be compelled by the word “must” to submit a letter of interest. And besides, if you can’t be bothered to write a three-page-or-less statement about why you are applying for a job that will net your four million dollars or more over five years, why should anyone appoint you — unless they really are your co-conspirators, and everyone already knows your paperwork is irrelevant to determining the outcome of the appointment process.
0:52:32 — One thing I was curious about was whether committee members would have any direct or indirect comment about the slew of anti-higher-ed, right-wing legislation that has been proposed in Iowa since the committee’s last meeting in mid-January. To my ear this was the only point in the entire meeting where I felt that might be the case, because the term ‘free speech’ was brought up in conjunction with one of the semifinalist questions. There was no direct connection made between the search and any of the proposed legislation, but ‘free speech’ as a term is clearly being used as a bludgeon by Republican legislators, to bully faculty and staff at the state schools into silence on political and cultural issues.
1:03:29 — The bulk of the conversation about the semifinalist questions concludes here. Roughly half that time was spent on the interview questions themselves — which will be revised by the co-chairs and distributed for comments and review — and half was spent on the process by which those questions will be presented to candidates. (It’s one thing to say you’re going to interview candidates, and another to do so in a fair and equitable manner, which also elicits the information you need to determine a candidate’s fitness for the position.) Following a bit more conversation, the meeting shifted toward other topics that needed attention, but which were not specified in the formal meeting agenda.
1:05:55 — A member of the committee asks for input from the search firm representatives about how searches are being conducted during the pandemic. That in turn kicks off a larger conversation with those reps about issues that the committee broached while discussing the semifinalist questions. In the current context, that interaction brings into focus the value of having a search firm to guide and inform committee members who do not conduct complex national searches on a regular basis.
To be sure, not all search firms are equal, and there is good reason to believe search firms are overused in academia for ass-covering reasons, and that many schools could conduct lesser searches themselves at significant cost savings. Having said that, I do believe the firm that is facilitating the current search (AGB Search) is doing a good job, and their comments to the committee in this meeting provided both important guardrails and procedural insight into how best to meet the committee’s stated objectives. While the representatives are willing to conduct the search as the committee sees fit, on more than one occasion they have also encouraged the committee to use its power and authority over the process to be decisive in assessing and winnowing candidates.
1:14:57 — At this point the conversation turns to an update of the committee timeline for the remaining phases of the search. (The updated schedule is displayed on-screen, and zoomed in on for ease of reading, at the 1:15:32 mark.)
1:18:19 — While detailing the updated schedule, one of the co-chairs notes that time has been set aside in mid-April for on-campus interviews with four finalists, which may be reduced to three if there are only three qualified candidates nominated by the committee. What is notable is that the original charge from the Board of Regents was to present “an unranked list of three to five candidates….” As a practical matter it is unlikely that there will be five co-equal finalists among eight or so semifinalists who are interviewed, but it is interesting that the committee has formalized the unlikeness of that outcome.
1:18:45 — While detailing the dates of the finalist visits, it is noted that the fourth (or third) finalist is scheduled to appear on April 22nd and 23rd, which are a Thursday and Friday. Because the deadline for campus feedback is only four days later, however, that means the fourth candidate will not only have the smallest window for generating responses, but two of those four days will comprise a weekend. While that could be to the detriment of the last finalist, it should be remembered that J. Bruce Harreld’s on-campus visit was scheduled last during the corrupt 2015 search, at which point the board rushed to appoint him less that forty-eight hours later. And of course the search committee and board conspired in that sequencing to limit the ability of the UI community to express how completely unacceptable Harreld was as a candidate. (Despite the fact that the architects of the corrupt 2015 search attempted to pass Harreld along as a finalist in lighting fashion, his massive shortcomings were indeed confirmed by campus feedback, which the corrupt Board of Regents promptly ignored.)
1:26:02 — At this point one of the committee members, who incidentally served on the 2015 presidential search committee, brought up the “perception that the order of the [finalist] candidates coming in reflects the order of preference” of the search committee. Fortunately, here we can sidestep debates about perceptions and simply point to the historical record. In the 2015 presidential search at Iowa, J. Bruce Harreld was revealed last among four candidates, and was subsequently appointed. In the 2016 presidential search at the University of Northern Iowa, Mark Nook was revealed last among three candidates, and was subsequently appointed. And during the 2017 presidential search at Iowa State University, Wendy Wintersteen was revealed fourth among four original candidates (one eventually dropped out), and was subsequently appointed.
While the motives driving the timing of those last-candidate reveals vary, the end result was the same. As such it is impossible to believe that the agenda of the Iowa Board of Regents — which ruthlessly controlled all three of those searches — did not play a part in the order of those finalist visits. In the case of Harreld, he was consistently allowed to go last precisely to hide the monstrous administrative perversion that the search committee and board were committing. At UNI the search seems to have been fair, and importantly the one internal finalist went second rather than last. At Iowa State that was not the case, however, where internal candidate Wintersteen went last, almost certainly because revealing her candidacy any earlier would have given away the board’s intent.
Unfortunately, in the comments during the meeting there seemed to be general agreement that campus visits were really only decided based on availability, which was an extraordinarily passive response from a committee that has otherwise been forthright in its expectations both of its own members and of prospective candidates. Explicitly, anyone who is interesting in being the president of the University of Iowa should damn well agree to show up when the university asks them to, not when they think it’s convenient. Speaking of which, in 2015 J. Bruce Harreld was literally working for himself and had no employer to answer to. Likewise, Wendy Wintersteen was already working at Iowa State, so I’m pretty sure she could have been available for any slot. Only Mark Nook was working at another university when he applied for the UNI job, but even there I’m confident he would have gone first or second among the finalists if he had been asked. (Because the latter two searches were conducted by AGB Search, we will assume they are not innocents regarding administrative duplicity in the scheduling of finalist visits.)
The UI Presidential Search Committee should reject the idea that candidate availability will determine the order of appearance for finalists. There are multiple reasons for that, but included is the possibility that one or more members of the committee or the board could simply tell a favored finalist to insist that they can only take the fourth slot in the current schedule. Even if that didn’t guarantee them the job it would give them the considerable advantage of knowing who the competition is, know what the other candidates said, and judging reaction to those candidates both in the press and in private conversations — which could include members of the committee or the board. If a candidate wants the job they should look at the updated schedule and commit to showing up on any of the finalist dates. If they can’t do that then they’re either a narcissist or trying to manipulate the process for themselves, and in either case the UI community just had five years of that.
If the committee wants to be procedurally fair it should announce that it will determine the order of finalist visits by random chance. If the committee wants to be administrative fair, however, it should commit to scheduling any internal candidates first precisely to give external candidates a chance to reconsider or re-frame their candidacy in light of that information. (Had Wendy Wintersteen gone first during the 2017 search, it is likely that two of the other three candidates would have dropped out immediately.) Pointedly, if the current committee does nominate an internal candidate, and that candidate appears last, and that candidate is appointed, I can think of at least one person who is going to believe the entire search process was just another Board of Regents scam.
1:39:00 — One of the AGB representatives asks how candidate spouses will be handled during campus visits, and in the main the ensuing committee conversation made sense. Note, however, that one of the giveaways to the done-deal search in 2015 — which was only disclosed after the fact — was that unbeknownst to the majority of that search committee, J. Bruce Harreld’s wife was given a personal tour of the campus while he was giving a presentation to bigwigs at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Which is to say that this committee not only needs to formalize the process by which candidate spouses and partners are welcomed, they need to prevent efforts to give any spouses special treatment.
1:49:10 — At the tail end of the meeting a member of the committee passes along a community concern that the position description contains the same kind of loophole that enabled J. Bruce Harreld to be appointed by a small cabal of crony co-conspirators. As a factual matter that is true, because the position description does not say, for example, that a Ph.D is required. In the following discussion and responses it seemed abundantly clear, however, that this committee is not at all interesting in hiring a non-traditional candidate to preside over the university. It is not wrong for anyone to be concerned about the outcome of this search given the staggering and comprehensive bureaucratic betrayals that took place in 2015, but based on the comments and the individuals who spoke to that concern I believe it is unlikely that a similar perversion will take place. It would just be better if it were impossible.
1:54:44 — A final point is brought up for clarification, which is the role of the search committee in determining the outcome of the search. Here I thought the response of one of the co-chairs was particularly helpful in explaining that the goal of the committee is to put forward only those candidates the committee believes are equally qualified to preside over the University of Iowa, at which point the board will select from among those candidates. By implication, if there are candidates the committee believes are not qualified or lesser qualified, then those candidates should be weeded out at the committee level, and not passed along to the board simply for symbolic or political reasons. Because of course that’s how you end up with a carpetbagging dilettante in the president’s office, instead of a qualified academic administrator. (I encourage you to view the co-chair’s response in full.)
03/03/21 — The next virtual meeting of the University of Iowa presidential search committee will take place on Friday, March 5th, at 9 a.m.. Per the agenda the focus of Friday’s meeting will be on a “discussion of potential questions for semifinalists”. (Shortly before the meeting, a link to the livestream will be posted here.)
While it makes sense to develop a slate of questions to ask each of the eight-to-ten semifinalists for the Iowa presidency, note that this phase of the search was originally scheduled to begin two weeks later, on March 22nd. Although the initial search timeline was and still is described as a “draft”, and developing these questions sooner rather than later shouldn’t present a problem, it is interesting that this phase of the search has been advanced. Having said that, developing questions now — before the committee begins looking at and winnowing applications, which is currently scheduled to commence in mid-March — seems like an effective way to focus the committee on common concerns and interests, which will in turn then inform the selection of semifinalists.
In any event, in the spirit of Friday’s meeting — and informed by five and a half years closely observing administrative abuses of power at the University of Iowa and Iowa Board of Regents — here are the questions I would ask….
Ten Questions for Candidates for President of the University of Iowa
* If you are appointed, do you intend to move into the presidential residence on the University of Iowa campus on a permanent, year-around basis?
* What experience do you have working with elected officials at the local, state and national level?
* What experience do you have meeting with and responding to local, state and national media?
* Are you prepared to be the cultural leader of the school, not merely presiding over an administration, but setting an example for the entire campus by holding yourself to the highest standards?
* In addition to conducting regular interviews with the Daily Iowan, will you agree to hold regular town halls with the University of Iowa community?
* How will you improve and increase funding for student mental health services at the University of Iowa?
* If you are appointed you will be an employee of the Iowa Board of Regents. How will you balance obligations to your employer with responsibilities to the University of Iowa community, when those interests conflict?
* Have you had any contact of any kind with any members of the search committee, any members of the Iowa Board of Regents who are not on the search committee, any former members of the Iowa Board of Regents, or any members of the professional staff at the Iowa Board of Regents, and if so, what was the nature and extent of that contact?
* Have you had any contact with J. Bruce Harreld, and if so what was the nature and extent of that contact?
* If you are appointed, will you authorize the release of any documents and records you submitted during the search process, any nominations or communications to the committee and/or search firm on your behalf, and any transcripts or videos of interviews you participated in during the search?
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
02/28/21 — The Iowa Board of Regents held its first full meeting of the year last Wednesday, and as a result an avalanche of reporting spilled forth. The central and pointed theme of that meeting was Professions of Free Speech, which sounds downright patriotic. As detailed in prior updates, however, that star-spangled occasion was spurred not by genuine concern for that cherished right, but by disingenuous attacks from Republican radicals in the Iowa legislature, who incidentally have to power to lay waste to the state schools. To show appropriate deference to the right-wing nuts who hold the keys to the state coffers, the institutional heads of the regent universities devoted the majority of their presentations — and the board the majority of its meeting time — to making clear that they won’t cross the militant Iowa GOP.
Because illegitimate University of Iowa president J. Bruce Harreld remains one of the board’s institutional heads, pending appointment of his successor, he was recognized at the 3:19:02 mark and dutifully stumbled through predictably banal prepared remarks. Because Harreld is also a self-aggrandizing and inveterate liar, one otherwise innocuous passage deserves a closer look. From the 3:21:39 mark of Harreld’s presentation:
What I’ve always enjoyed prior to the pandemic were the marches, the demonstrations and public dialogue that was commonplace and encouraged within our community. These demonstrations and engagements ranged from political debate to issues with no political ideology…or — um…and often included students, faculty, staff and the general public.
As reported more than five years ago by KWWL’s Kristin Rogers, on 11/03/15, here is J. Bruce Harreld expressing unconditional support for free speech on his second day in office, after months of UI protests following his corrupt appointment:
A recent Board of Regents meeting was protested following the announcement of Bruce Harreld as University President.
Many people believe Harreld is not qualified for the job and the process to hire him was flawed.
“I think we’ve gotten a little over the edge here, I mean everyone has a right to express themselves, I have no problems with that. On the other hand I just want to make sure the citizens of Iowa know that here at the University of Iowa we’re a lot more professional that that, we can do better and they should ask more from us,” Harreld said.
In 2018, J. Bruce Harreld was so thrilled with protests on campus that he not only refused to meet with the protestors, he actually made up a lie about “tampering” to avoid doing his job. Only after his own executive staff pointed out that Harreld could legally meet with the protestors did he agree to do so, and even then only in the basement of the campus Department of Public Safety, with armed officers on the premises. [ Read more ]
This past Friday, December 4th, from 9 a.m. until shortly after 11 a.m., the University of Iowa Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting, which was conducted in a virtual setting due to the coronavirus pandemic. (You can see a replay of that meeting here.) The meeting was important not only because it symbolically marked the beginning of the end of illegitimate president J. Bruce Harreld’s reign of administrative incompetence and malevolence, but because the substance of the meeting reaffirmed that implicit symbolism. Despite Harreld’s efforts over the past two months to insinuate himself into the search process following announcement of his retirement, which is contingent on the appointment of his successor, the members of the committee and others who spoke on Friday’s seem to have moved on. Indeed, over two-plus hours I heard only one passing reference to the rigged 2015 search that led to Harreld’s corrupt appointment, and zero mentions of J. Bruce Harreld by name.
To be sure, this does not mean Harreld has been neutralized as a threat to the committee. As detailed in the previous post about the search, the Board of Regents has still not disclosed whether Harreld will have a post-presidential role at the school and/or at the board, and that uncertainty alone may deter the best candidates from applying for the position. As noted in multiple prior posts, I also believe the simplest explanation for the board’s uncharacteristic willingness to empower the UI faculty to lead this search is that the board has already identified, and expects to appoint, an in-house candidate from the school, thus reducing the national search to shared-governance theater. All we have to do to find out is wait and see what the regents ultimately decide, but what cannot be denied at this early stage is that — apart from the conspicuous uncertainty about Harreld’s future — everyone seems to be doing what they should be doing to facilitate the recruitment of exemplary external candidates. It was just one meeting, and there is plenty of time for the wheels to come off, but after two hours of introductions and discussion the UI community and the committee itself should feel good about the prospects for a fair, open and inclusive search. [ Read more ]
To say that the recently implemented presidential search at the University of Iowa is going well would be both an understatement and insufficient. It is an understatement because the Iowa Board of Regents not only seems determined to honor the letter of the 2018 agreement that was hammered out with the UI Faculty Senate in the protracted aftermath of the rigged 2015 presidential search — which resulted in the illegitimate appointment of J. Bruce Harreld — but also the spirit of that agreement. While the board obviously has a vested interest in ensuring that a competent and qualified individual is chosen to replace Harreld, and by statute only the regents can ultimately make that decision, the winnowing of applicants to a small slate of acceptable candidates is also a matter of self-determination for the UI community, which is now ably represented by a majority of the twenty-one committee members who are charged with that responsibility.
Indeed, in contemplating the initiation of the search, the composition of the committee, and the pace of the process so far, all signs are so uniformly encouraging that it is tempting to conclude that this search — unlike the 2015 search — cannot be corrupted. Unfortunately, while the 2015 search committee was subverted from the inside by a small cabal of co-conspirators, it is also possible for bad actors to negatively influence the current search from the outside. In fact, as noted in recent updates, we have already identified at least one individual extraneous to the current committee who, over the past two months, has repeatedly attempted to impose his will on the ongoing search, and of course that individual is none other than J. Bruce Harreld himself.
Making Harreld’s recurrent attempts to influence the search process all the more remarkable, when Harreld’s resignation was announced on October 1st, contingent on the appointment of his successor, the president of the Board of Regents issued an uncommonly blunt statement — which, as far as I can tell, has no precedent at the board. From Rylee Wilson at the Daily Iowan on 10/02/20:
Richards specified that although Harreld will remain president during the search process, he will not have input as to who is chosen as his replacement.
“I’ve had that discussion with him and he will not participate in any manner in the selection of the new president,” Richards said.
Despite Richards’ conspicuous and explicit prohibition, that has not prevented Harreld from repeatedly shooting his mouth off about the current search, including during the nine-minute board meeting at which Harreld’s letter of resignation was formally accepted. Between Harreld’s open-ended retirement date — as opposed to a date certain, which his predecessor, Sally Mason, specified when she announced her own departure — and his repeated comments about how the search should be conducted, as well as broadcasting his desire to hang around indefinitely as a mentor to the new president, everything Harreld has done over the past two months has increased uncertainty about the context in which the search is taking place. As we will see shortly, however, this impudence should also come as no surprise because Harreld has multiple overlapping motivations for influencing the outcome of the search, including the fact that Harreld’s own bastardized presidency resulted from an arrogant and elitist administrative mindset that is not only hostile to the academic tradition of shared governance, but which explicitly rejects fundamental precepts of equal opportunity. [ Read more ]
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
01/16/21 — Last Thursday, the UI Presidential Search Committee announced that its next meeting will be held this coming Wednesday, January 20th. Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the meeting will, “include next steps in the search process, the presidential search website, and discussion of potential questions for semifinalists”. While there has been no official word that advertising for the Iowa presidency was placed as scheduled, on Friday (yesterday) the final text of the position description was added to the regent and university search websites, and that text also appeared as an advertisement on the Chronicle of Higher Education website.
More details on the UI presidential search from the Gazette’s Vanessa Miller: Mount Mercy and University of Iowa following similar presidential search timelines.
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
11/19/20 — One of the lesser-known traditions at Iowa’s regent universities involves waiting until the day after a regent meeting to drop news that might otherwise occasion comment or notice from the assembled dignitaries and press. Today’s relatively benign example of that venerable practice is the announcement that Amy Kristof-Brown has been appointed dean of the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. One of three finalists for the position, Kristof-Brown was already serving as the interim dean, and as such there should be no transition period involved — and in the current context that is enough of a benefit to recommend the choice.
As noted in a recent update, what Tippie — and the entire UI campus — needs right now is stability. There is no perfect candidate who would have taken the UI College of Business to the academic stratosphere, but there are plenty of good people working there who need support, particularly during the chaos and uncertainty occasioned by the pandemic. As a side benefit, this appointment also relieves the campus of concerns that would inevitably have arisen if the university had appointed Harreld’s old Harvard bro to the post — so we got that goin’ for us too, which is nice.
More from Claire Benson at the Daily Iowan: Amy Kristof-Brown named new dean of University of Iowa Tippie College of Business; and from Vanessa Miller at the Gazette: University of Iowa names interim to business dean post after national search.
A little over five years ago the corrupt Iowa Board of Regents concluded a rigged search, at a cost to the state of more than $300K, and appointed a complicit J. Bruce Harreld as president of the University of Iowa. A little over ten days ago Harreld announced that he would be retiring from that purloined position, pending the hire of his successor. One week ago the board formally accepted Harreld’s retirement letter and immediately set in motion the next six-figure, state-funded search process by which that individual will be chosen.
Along with initiating the vetting process by which an executive search firm will be hired to facilitate the recruitment of Harreld’s replacement, the board also began the internal process by which the presidential search committee will be constituted and charged with that statutory responsibility. In that context, understandably dubious members of the UI community are already pointing to a 2018 agreement between the UI Faculty Senate and several representatives of the Board of Regents, which purports to establish hard guidelines by which future searches will be conducted at the University of Iowa. (That agreement was negotiated to facilitate removal of UI from a list of sanctioned institutions maintained by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which conducted an investigation and issued a report following the corrupt 2015 presidential search at Iowa.)
The 2018 agreement between the UI Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents is titled, Summary of Best Practice for Faculty Engagement in a UI Presidential Search. It is a robust and thorough document, and if you have not read it I encourage you to do so, not only because it is also a useful repository of information about prior presidential searches at Iowa, but because I will be referencing that information in this post. Whether you read the document or not, the most important thing you must remember is that it has no statutory enforcement mechanism. It is, at best, an aspirational document that was forged with a governmental body that previously showed no compunction about wasting $300K in state funds, merely to give the appearance of legitimacy to a search process that was corrupted from the very start. Having said that, the 2018 agreement is still of considerable value and benefit, because it will tell us, precisely, when the board once again decides to abandon it’s commitment to a fair search process, and reverts to cheating, lying and bullying the UI community into selecting the candidate the board wants. [ Read more ]
10/24/20 — Following up on the discrimination lawsuit that will inevitably be filed against the University of Iowa by eight former football players, which we dealt with at length in the update just below, this article by Chad Emmert at Hawk Central is a good rundown of the fix UI is in: Threatened lawsuit poses pivotal moment for University of Iowa football, experts say, with no pain-free way out.
If the university agrees to a settlement, it would be viewed by the public as an admission of guilt and would likely spur similar lawsuits from former players, said two legal experts who reviewed documents about the potential case at the Register’s request. But allowing the matter to go to trial would potentially put Ferentz and his program under a cloud of doubt for months, making it difficult to recruit Black athletes and leading to depositions and cross-examinations of him and his coaching staff that could prove embarrassing.
Either path the university takes must include a further commitment to real change in the way Black athletes are treated, the experts said, or the reputations of Ferentz, Barta and any others involved will be damaged permanently.
After five years of mutual dereliction, disregard and ass kissing by illegitimate UI president J. Bruce Harreld and UI Athletic Director Gary Barta, the university as an institution is suddenly weaving concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into every aspect of its messaging, including outright lying. For example, over the past year there have been multiple attempts to claim that diversity is one of the core concerns of the current UI Strategic Plan, when it is objectively not. From an Iowa Now article on 06/25/20, written by the UI Office of Strategic Lying:
As one of the four pillars of the University of Iowa’s strategic plan, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a critical element of the future of the university. The UI has been taking steps within and beyond the 2019-2021 Excellence through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, but more immediate action is needed.
As regular readers know, and as the following screenshot attests, there are three main pillars to the current UI Strategic Plan, and diversity is not one of them.
But hey — when you’re in a white-hot panic because you precipitated your own discrimination disaster in the same year that the Minneapolis police choked the life out of George Floyd, maybe you can be excused for trying to lie your way out of your troubles, right? Except…when you think about it, that’s pretty much how the University of Iowa got into this mess in the first place, so maybe it would be better to own up to these problems, clean house, then get on with the business of actually being a good governmental citizen instead of faking it. Unfortunately, as just noted, J. Bruce Harreld and AD Barta have a particularly incestuous administrative relationship, in which they express mutual respect for each other while never holding anyone accountable for anything. That includes, particularly, Harreld offering slavish support even after Barta cost the university $6.5M in a gender discrimination lawsuit, at the same time that Harreld was kicking the DEI administrator out of his cabinet and out of the president’s office. [ Read more ]
09/25/20 — The big news this week — at least so far — concerns the recent murder of four University of Iowa athletic programs by illegitimate UI president J. Bruce Harreld and Athletic Director Gary Barta. For two reasons, however, I will be tackling (hahaha) that complicated narrative this weekend. First, reporting is still coming in about events that transpired over the past few days, and I don’t want to jump the gun (ha). Second, I don’t want the following news to get lost in the mix, which would certainly happen if I dove (ha) into the deep end (hoho) of that sports story (I’ll stop now).
As I have mentioned in the past, one of my biggest concerns about the pandemic is that idiots in positions of leadership might take University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for granted, and in so doing swamp the biggest and best medical center in Iowa. Speaking of which, on Wednesday we got this report from the Gazette’s Vanessa Miller: Sicker patients now packing University of Iowa hospitals.
Because UIHC is accepting only the transfers it can handle, “many hospitals across the state are disappointed when we decline to take a transfer, and many have complained to me because they believe it is happening at a higher rate than it did before.
“That’s not the case,” Gunasekaran said. “It’s that we have sicker patients now than we did before.”
When asked why patient are sicker now, Gunasekaran surmised the answer might be twofold.
“One is that there is going to be a public health impact to delaying health care for three months,” he said. “I think a lot of chronic diseases didn’t get managed as well as they could, and they progressed to a different state.”
Secondly, many other hospitals don’t have the ability to handle the sicker patients.
It isn’t only intra-state transfers that are becoming a problem however. This in particular is a massive red flag for Johnson County:
“We’ve had two months of the worst left-without-being-seen rate in our emergency department since I’ve been here,” Gunasekaran told the regents. “I regret to tell you that in the month of August, 20 percent of patients left without being seen, which has never happened.”
Typically, on the worst day, that rate is between 7 and 10 percent.
As to why this is happening, there is no secret. Iowa’s governor prioritizes revenue generation on par with the literal lives of Iowans, and that means she is keeping cases, hospitalizations and deaths higher than they should be. As Iowa’s medical professionals have become better at keeping people alive, however, patients are no longer dying off at the same rate, thus clogging the state hospital system with patients that Governor Reynolds was killing outright only a few months ago. Unfortunately, because there is no chance that Demon Kim will change her money-grubbing ways, she may very well overwhelm UIHC just as the flu season picks up, and more COVID-19 cases are generated from decreased social distancing in the cold months. [ Read more ]
09/03/20 — Five years ago today the corrupt Iowa Board of Regents used a rigged, taxpayer funded search to appoint Jerre Stead’s little buddy as the illegitimate president of the University of Iowa, even though J. Bruce Harreld had no public sector or academic administrative experience, and was never the CEO of anything. Perhaps in celebration of that catastrophic milestone, Harreld posted an oddly cryptic message to the Iowa Now website, even as his failed COVID-19 plan disintegrates and cases soar across Iowa City and Johnson County.
However, we also react to new information as it comes in. We adapt. In that process, we are bound to make mistakes, but our only option is to act in good faith on the information available to us.
I don’t know why Harreld is putting out an ass-covering statement two weeks into the semester, and I don’t care. The University of Iowa doesn’t need another press release from the same man whose arrogance and ignorance led to the mess we’re in, yet asking people to absolve him of responsibility while the campus is on fire is entirely on-brand. Case counts will inevitably fall if only because there are no more students, faculty and staff to infect, but nothing will get better at the University of Iowa until J. Bruce Harreld is gone. [ Read more ]