Among the questions I asked in the previous post, regarding the recent hire of J. Bruce Harreld to be the new president of the University of Iowa, was whether there was a level playing field for all candidates. Apparently not:
The businessman picked as the next University of Iowa president had visited campus two months earlier at the invitation of the presidential search committee chair.
The university confirmed Monday that Bruce Harreld visited University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on July 8.
A spokeswoman says Harreld spoke to about 40 people at the invitation of university vice president Jean Robillard, who was leading the 21-member committee searching for the next school president. Harreld wasn’t paid.
Harreld’s visit, first reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, raises more questions about whether he was given special treatment during the search. Critics say Harreld was unqualified but the Iowa Board of Regents hired him anyway.
It’s not clear whether Robillard was asked to extend an invitation by someone, but I’m sure we’ll get an answer once everyone gets their stories straight. You know, like the Governor did the other day when he said he supported Harreld 100%, but also added that he had absolutely nothing to do with the hire. Even though Harreld was also the only candidate who spoke to the governor personally.
Branstad’s spokesman denies the governor had input into the decision, but he acknowledges that Branstad called Harreld, which he didn’t do with other candidates. It happened, said Centers, after Harreld asked Regents President Bruce Rastetter about Branstad’s “support for the university.” Rastetter is close with Branstad.
Support for the university indeed.
— Mark Barrett