Until Thursday of last week I did not know what to think about acting University of Iowa President Jean Robillard. Was he a kindly old doctor manipulated by ruthless Regents President Bruce Rastetter, or a co-conspirator in the fraudulent selection and election of J. Bruce Harreld to be the next president of the University of Iowa? Unfortunately, based on Robillard’s comments on that day the answer seems to be co-conspirator, if not worse.
Predictably, Robillard, Rastetter, Governor Terry Branstad and Harreld himself are doing their best to move on, hoping that the facts of the fraud they perpetrated on the university and the people of Iowa will simply be forgotten. That’s the way corrupt bureaucrats roll, and unless a smoking gun turns up they often get away with their abuses. If there’s no pool of blood, no open wound, no sign of a struggle, then almost any crime can be called progress, while those who cry foul are dismissed as settling for the status quo, being afraid of change, or choosing to fail.
Oddly enough, however, as you’ve probably noticed in your own life, one of the things that bureaucrats are extremely good at is avoiding accountability. I’m not sure if that’s an innate capacity that leads some people to become bureaucrats, or if it’s a skill that’s learned on the job, but if you don’t have that ability you usually end up in another line of work, while the people who cost you your job gets promoted. If you end up in conflict with a bureaucrat you may think you have them dead to rights, but no matter what you do they dodge this way and that until you falter in the courage of your convictions, and then you’re finished. Combine a dodgy disposition with even a moderately complex bureaucracy and it may actually be impossible to figure out who did what, let alone pin anything on anyone.
Fortunately, although the people who hijacked the office of president at the University of Iowa are certainly very dodgy, they’re not lost in the bowels of a massive corporation like GM, Toyota or VW. No. Instead, they’re standing right out in the open on the autumnal grasslands of Iowa, where there’s nowhere to hide, except perhaps in the wintry blades of the governor’s mustache.
The Openness Dodge
The latest attempt at obfuscating the truth about the Harreld hire, which was floated by Robillard last Thursday, and supported by timely quotes from others, is that the search process wasn’t corrupt, it was just misunderstood by the university faculty, staff, and interested stakeholders. Because, you know, everyone can’t be expected to understand the administrative complexities of such a large-scale search process. While that argument is disingenuous, understanding why Robillard attempted to change the subject in that way provides a useful vector to the truth.
Robillard was responding to an audience question concerning what, in hindsight, he would have changed about the search process to avoid the recent backlash on campus.
“The problem is that you have searches that are supposed to be open, and searches that are supposed to be closed, and we were between that,” continued Robillard, who chaired the search committee that recommended Harreld as a finalist.
Okay, so…no. The problem with the hire of J. Bruce Harreld is not that the search was vaguely positioned between an open search and a closed search. It’s also not that Robillard’s comments on Thursday directly contradict his earlier disingenuous comments about the openness of the election. The problem is that the search itself was improper whether it was open, closed, or half-open or two-thirds closed. What should have been a fair search process, regardless of its openness, was unfair, and the two people who intentionally administered that unfair search were Regents President Bruce Rastetter and acting University of Iowa President Jean Robillard.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Wait — weren’t there any unbiased knowledgeable observers who were fortuitously able to confirm what Robillard said?’ Well, yes there were, and you’re right to check me on that.
Regarding the partially open and partially closed nature of the search, Bob Downer, a former regent from Iowa City who left the board months before the Sept. 3 vote, said that “there is truth” in Robillard’s analysis.
“The public perception of how the search was going to be conducted and the way that it was actually conducted were not totally in sync,” Downer said.
No matter what you’ve heard about the search process that led to the hiring of J. Bruce Harreld, I’m guessing there was never a moment when you thought to yourself, ‘Gee, I wish the process was a little more open, or a little more closed, or just a bit more in sync with how I thought the search was going to be conducted.’ Instead, what you thought, what you expected, was that no matter how the search was administered, the search itself would be fair . Given some of the people involved you may have wondered if it would be, but there was never a moment where you were concerned about process and not concerned about fairness.
Your expectation of administrated fairness was justified because the search for the next president of the University of Iowa was not a beauty contest or an athletic competition or a business venture. It was, instead, an orderly governmental process at a public institution which is governed by rules and laws designed to ensure fairness in all aspects. The regents did have the right to simply appoint someone if they wanted to, but once they decided to conduct a search involving other interested stakeholders they were obligated to conduct a fair search.
So no, there is no truth in what former-regent Bob Downer said, meaning we can add his personal credibility to the ever-growing scrap heap surrounding this election. Public perception of the selection process also had no bearing on the selection process, and it particularly had no bearing on whether the selection process was fair. Was the public — and particularly the University of Iowa community — confused after the election, and are they still confused? Yes and yes, but solely as a result of the fraud perpetrated by Rastetter and Robillard, including the dodges they continue to proffer to distract people from the central question of fairness.
No one reading this post, or on the Board of Regents or at the University of Iowa, or in state government, would support an election that was open or closed or something in between, but not fair. Which is of course why Robillard and Rastetter are eager to talk about how the election of J. Bruce Harreld was somewhere between open and closed, and not all all interested in talking about whether the election was fair. Because just as you can have completely closed elections which are fair, you can have wide-open or semi-open elections which are corrupt, as the fraudulent election of J. Bruce Harreld attests.
People are also confused about the election because the two individuals who should have ensured a fair election, regardless of how open it was, administered an unfair election. No matter what your political leanings, you would think the one thing all Iowans would agree on — including Robillard and Rastetter, and all of the regents, and even the governor — is that the selection and election of a university president should be fair, but apparently that’s not the case. Yes, all of those individuals would pledge fealty to fairness in public, but as we’ve already discussed you can’t trust what any of those people say, even when the matter is as sacred to Iowans as the subject of education. You can only understand what their words mean by watching what they do, and by their actions none of those people — not Robillard, not Rastetter, not the other regents, and not Branstad himself — wanted a fair selection process.
People remain confused because the individuals who administered this unfair election — meaning principally Robillard and Rastetter — have done everything they can to obfuscate their malfeasance, to change the subject, and to transfer the stink to someone else by any dodge possible. By seeing through that dodginess, however, we can now finally comprehend what we’re looking for, and that’s proof that the selection process was administered fairly. Even if, incredibly, fairness was and is of no interest to Regents President Bruce Rastetter, acting Iowa President Jean Robillard, the rest of the Iowa Board of Regents, and Governor Terry Branstad, we can embrace fairness as our truth. That, in turn, will allow us to look for signs that fairness was not enforced by the two men who were not only expected to ensure fairness because of their preeminence in the search process, but obligated to do so by their positions in state government.
The Aggressive Recruitment Dodge
If you’ve been following the Harreld hire at all, you have repeatedly heard from Robillard and Rastetter that the search committee — which they were both on — was determined to be aggressive in recruiting candidates. And obviously there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I can’t think of an antonym for ‘aggressive’ in that context that anyone would want a search committee to be: apathetic, complaisant, dull, easy-going, idle, impotent, inactive, lethargic, laid-back, meek, shy, slow, timid, weak.
The search committee needed to be aggressive about recruitment in order to have the best pool of candidates to choose from. But. While aggression is certainly to be preferred over timidity, it should be equally obvious that there are limits about how aggressive a recruiter can be in trying to find the best candidate for any job. And that’s particularly true in the public sector, where there is an expectation that job searches will meet tests of equal opportunity and fairness as a matter of course.
Because acting Iowa President Robillard has either become the point-person for, or is being set up to take the fall for, the Harreld hire, he specifically spoke to those concerns last Thursday.
Robillard — who led the search committee — addressed those concerns Thursday, saying the group was charged with aggressively recruiting candidates.
“To recruit candidates, you have to talk with them,” he said. “Some of these people had never come to Iowa City. Are you to say you cannot come to Iowa City?”
Well, that’s a lot to process, isn’t it? As with Regent Katie Mulholland’s quote about shared governance, it seems like those sentences go together, but is that true?
No, it’s not true — though given the pressure Robillard must be feeling these days it’s understandable that he might not be particularly coherent. Then again, since he brought that pressure on himself by defrauding the people of Iowa, we can quit worrying about whether his brain is melting and get on with unpacking his perplexing defense of aggressive recruitment in general, and of the aggressive recruitment of J. Bruce Harreld in particular.
Here’s Robillard’s first sentence:
To recruit candidates, you have to talk with them,” he said.
Not much to argue about here, obviously. Yes, to recruit candidates you have to talk to them. Here’s Robillard’s second sentence:
“Some of these people had never come to Iowa City.”
Again, not much to dispute, because of course there are people who have not been to Iowa City. Among all of the people that the search committee contacted it’s reasonable to assume that some of those individuals belong to that group, so again, what Robillard is saying is pretty much a statement of fact.
However…in coupling the first and second sentences together, we note a bit of distortion implied by the good doctor’s verbiage.
“To recruit candidates, you have to talk with them,” he said. “Some of these people had never come to Iowa City.”
Taken in sum those two sentences create an interesting inference. They seem to imply that in order for the search committee to talk with candidates those candidates had to travel to Iowa City, but of course that’s not true. Not only could semaphore flags have been used in a relay, or the Pony Express, but there are all kinds of modern methods of direct, real-time communication over long distances, including the telephone and video chat. So what are those two sentences doing back-to-back?
In the context of aggressive recruitment they imply that face-to-face meetings confer additional benefits over the rote, remote communication of information, and again I think we’d all agree on that. There really is value — often intangible, but still real — in meeting people in person. Being in the same room and spending time with someone allows you to get to know them in a way that can’t be replicated by technological means. You can still be deceived, of course, but you probably also have a better chance of detecting deception during a face-to-face meeting, so the premise still holds. (Were I a cynic I might suggest that meeting in person has other advantages, including leaving no record of what was said, but again, I am no cynic.)
Now here’s the third sentence from Robillard’s quote, which we will visit in context because it clearly does spring from the previous sentence:
“To recruit candidates, you have to talk with them,” he said. “Some of these people had never come to Iowa City. Are you to say you cannot come to Iowa City?”
Now, I don’t now about you, but personally that question seems completely absurd and more than a little patronizing. No, of course you would never tell anyone that they could not come to Iowa City, and particularly not if you were aggressively recruiting them as a candidate. In the context of this particularly selection process, however, we can also conclude that Robillard’s third sentence specifically applies to J. Bruce Harreld, who — at least as of July 8th, 2015 — had apparently never been to Iowa City when he arrived, at the invitation of Robillard himself, to speak to a small UIHC gathering which included, among others, Robillard, Rastetter, and two other members of the search committee in Christina Bohannan and Sarah Gardial.
While embarrassing, the real problem with Robillard’s question — like the Openness Dodge — is that it’s not intended to clarify the question of aggressive recruitment, but to obscure the question of fairness. Is there anything wrong with aggressively recruiting candidates? Well, what do we mean by aggressively? Do we mean cash payments under the table? Arranging for escorts when candidates are in town?
Although aggressive recruitment sounds great, and it’s obviously better than lethargic recruitment, there are limits to how aggressive a recruiter can be. There’s nothing illegal or even wrong about inviting someone to visit Iowa City, or the university, or even to speak on campus, which is of course exactly the point Robillard hoped to make. Not only was Robillard asserting that aggressive recruitment was a good idea generally, but he was congratulating himself for his own first-class aggressive recruitment when Harreld visited the campus on July 8th.
Once again, however, the question of Harreld’s aggressive recruitment has nothing to do with whether that recruitment was fair. Yes, every effort should have been made to showcase the job and the school and the town, and to respond to inquiries from individuals who were interested in the position, provided that each response was also fair. If recruiters wanted to butter up candidates, or sell the high points of Iowa City or the university or the job while leaving out negatives, like, say, February, that’s fine. But whatever the recruiters said, and more importantly, whatever they did, their recruitment of individual candidates had to be fairly administered.
The Due Diligence Dodge
On one hand, both Robillard and Rastetter claim that whatever happened during the Harreld hire, it was all good because they were just being aggressive recruiters. On the other hand, both Robillard and Rastetter claim that whatever happened during the Harreld hire, it was all good because Harreld was just being meticulous about due diligence. Since both hands agree, and recruiters and candidates comprise the entire spectrum of actors in any hiring saga, how can they be wrong? How can their assertions not be de facto proof that the J. Bruce Harreld hire was legit?
Well, on closer inspection we discover the same problems with protestations of due diligence that we had with aggressive recruiting. For example, who would ever suggest that a candidate be anything other than meticulous in performing due diligence? More importantly, from the point of view of the search committee, would Iowa even want a sloppy or lazy candidate to become president? (Heck no!)
Too, while due diligence is important, what are the limits in facilitating due diligence? What is it that candidates are and are not allowed to learn or experience during the selection process, and how do they find out about those limits? If a candidate has a specific request, how does that request get vetted by the search committee? Who makes those decisions, and how are they arrived at fairly?
While I don’t know the intricacies of hiring people into high-level positions in state government, it seems to me that if the athletes who are recruited by the state’s universities are covered by a wide range of regulations designed to ensure fairness, and if the coaches who recruit those athletes are covered by those same regulations, then there are probably established rules — and perhaps even laws — regarding what’s okay and not okay when meeting requests from prospective hires at those schools. Yet even those laws and regulations may only address the limits of such processes, not the gray areas that inevitably arise in the middle of a complex selection process, such as the one administered by Robillard and Rastetter.
Which once again brings us back to that infantile question hanging at the end of Robillard’s contorted defense of the Harreld hire:
“To recruit candidates, you have to talk with them,” he said. “Some of these people had never come to Iowa City. Are you to say you cannot come to Iowa City?”
As I hope you now see, that question is not simply an extension of the aggressive-recruitment dodge, it leads right into the due-diligence dodge. It’s an obfuscation two-fer, and is once again intended to obscure the real question, which is the question of fairness. In particular, it leads away from whether Robillard himself, as the head of the search committee and the acting president of the University of Iowa, and Bruce Rastetter, as the president of the regents, were fair in their aggressive recruitment of J. Bruce Harreld, and in the due diligence they allowed Harreld to conduct. (To Robillard’s credit, his question also masterfully obscures the fact that it was Robillard who invited Harreld to speak on July 8th, and instead makes that visit seem like something Harreld goaded out of Robillard while pursuing due diligence.)
Of course the search committee wanted candidates to be eager to visit Iowa City, to meet people in the university community, and to see the campus. But those visits needed to take place in the context of a fairly administered process of aggressive recruitment and due diligence. It would be unacceptable, say, for some aggressive recruiters to give some candidates access to key decision makers under the guise of due diligence, while other candidates were not granted that same access. Which brings us to the dodgiest dodge in the Robillard-Rastetter election-fixing handbook, which they have been using not only to explain why J. Bruce Harreld did receive preferential treatment, but why they had to give it to him. Had to!
The Candidate Mindset Dodge
Again, if you’ve been following the story of the Harreld hire, one thing that has been drilled into your brain is that Harreld was undecided about applying for the position until the last possible moment. It’s not clear why he was undecided, but everywhere you turn you find Robillard and Rastetter talking about how Iowa’s fate hung in the balance while this special person pondered his options. Would the university be so lucky as to land the man who single-handedly saved IBM from catastrophic bankruptcy? Or, as Regent Mary Andringa so eloquently put it, would Harreld “give us in Iowa a chance to tap into [his] great skill set, experience, and passion for excellence through strategic change by being open to the presidency of the U of I”?
As you can see, the dynamic appeal of J. Bruce Harreld was so great that even regents who were not actually on the search committee felt compelled to weigh in with aggressive recruitment. Yet despite such slathering Harreld remained unconvinced — and thus in need of additional slathering. And more due diligence. And at times, a heaping helping of both. Be open to Iowa, J. Bruce! Please be open!
According to the narrative established by Robillard and Rastetter, it was precisely because Harreld was such a first-class catch, yet still undecided about his interest in the position, that Robillard was obligated to invite Harreld to speak to the small gathering at UIHC on July 8th, and to give Harreld’s wife a tour of the campus while her husband’s presentation was taking place, and to introduce him to Regents President Bruce Rastetter, and U. of I. Faculty Senate President Christina Bohannan, and Sarah Gardial, dean of the Tippie College of Business, as well as all the other people in the room that day. And really, what else could Robillard do? If he hadn’t expressed aggressive interest in Harreld, and hadn’t offered (Aggressive Recruitment Dodge) or agreed (Due Diligence Dodge) to let him speak, and to host that lunch, and to give Harreld’s wife a tour, he could have blown the deal. And everyone knows you never blow the deal. Don’t blow the deal, Jean! Do blow it!
And yet, despite being afforded the opportunity to present his ideas, and having lunch with Rastetter, Robillard, Bohannan and Gardial, who were all doing their best to be aggressive recruiters while Harrled was aggressively pursuing his own due diligence, Harreld himself was still not convinced. Panic! Panic in the streets!
Thankfully, on July 30th Regents President Rastetter finally took recruitment matters into his own aggressive hands. Not only did Rastetter personally arrange for aggressive due-diligence meetings between Harreld and four other regents, but he made space for those critical meetings at his own place of business in Ames.
According to emails obtained by The Gazette on Thursday and a statement from Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter, Harreld participated in several meetings in Ames on July 30 “as part of the recruiting process for the position of president at the University of Iowa.”
One involved regent President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland and regent Milt Dakovich, and a second involved regents Mary Andringa and Larry McKibben. Harreld requested the meetings, and although Rastetter didn’t attend any of the gatherings, he did help coordinate them.
“I considered Mr. Harreld’s requests for these additional meetings on July 30 not only appropriate, but due diligence on his part,” Rastetter said in the statement. “He wanted to gather as many facts as he could about the position.”
Take that, doubting cynics! How could anyone be more aggressively recruiteristic and due-diligetastic than Rastetter was on that day! Not only did he selflessly devote time and energy to making it all happen, he also called up Iowa State University President Steven Leath to respectfully ask if Rastetter could please pass Leath’s contact info to Harreld. Not only did Leath agree, but purely of his own volition Leath decided to host a dinner for Harreld! Aggressive recruitment score!
Honestly, it’s no wonder that Rastetter and Robillard are flabbergasted when people complain about their selfless devotion to the task of landing not only a great candidate, but the candidate who actually won. Sure, Harreld had zero experience in academic administration, and had only ever taught a few business courses, and during the previous five years he was a struggling freelance business consultant, and if they had looked at his resume they would have discovered multiple abuses that would have disqualified him on the spot, but still — when Harreld was balking at applying for the job, nobody can say that Robillard and Rastetter did not go to the mat for the University of Iowa and the great state of Iowa. (I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it. Or maybe it’s a rash.)
So how can all that hustle and gusto possibly be a dodge? Because in terms of the fairness of the selection process it literally doesn’t matter what Harreld was thinking. Maybe he was interested in the job and keeping his cards close to his vest. Maybe he wanted to gauge how interested Robillard and Rastetter were in him as a candidate, or how much leverage he had. Maybe he and his wife just wanted to get out of the house, or they were in it for the free meal when he spoke at UIHC. Who knows? You might as well ask why Rastetter and Robillard were hot for a guy who had to be cajoled and pampered when they could have been spending time with candidates who were eager. Or qualified.
In any case, nothing about Harreld’s mindset — including the moment when he finally transitioned from considering the position to formally committing — has anything to do with whether his selection or election was fair or foul. The reason we know that to a certainty is that Harreld himself had no capacity to determine the fairness of the election. No matter how corrupt he wanted to be or was, even if he was a co-conspirator in his own hire he could only avail himself of opportunities that were offered. Even if he made outrageous demands under the pretext of doing due diligence he could only take what was given, meaning we can finally stop worrying about what J. Bruce Harreld thought and devote ourselves exclusively to the two men who gave him preferential treatment under the disingenuous pretext that his mindset mattered.
Dodging the Dodges
So what have we learned? We’ve learned that whether the selection process was open or closed has nothing to do with whether the selection process was fair, so we don’t ever have to talk about the openness of the selection process again. Moreover, any time Robillard, Rastetter, Branstad or Harreld brings up the issue of openness, we’ll know they’re doing so to obscure the fact that the selection process was not fair. (That is in fact a lesson we already learned with regard to the Shared Governance Dodge, which we also recently dispensed with. Now, any time you hear a regent talking about shared governance, you know that regent is lying.)
We’ve also learned that any time Robillard, Rastetter or anyone else talks about aggressive recruiting or meeting requests for due diligence or the mindset of a candidate, none of that has any bearing on whether the selection process was fairly administered. It’s the administration of any search that is not only critical to the question of fairness, but which determines the limits of aggressive recruitment and the degree to which due diligence can be accommodated.
Fortunately, because Robillard and Rastetter are both seasoned administrators, and are both backed by seasoned staffs which are used to making hires and conducting searches despite suffocating guidelines and entangling regulations, we can rest assured that the only way a search process overseen by those two distinguished gentlemen would ever be unfair would be if they intentionally subverted the search process themselves. And what are the odds that two loyal servants of the state, let alone paragons of higher education, would ever do something that low?
Obviously very remote. Which is good, because even if it did happen, it would be tough to prove, let alone to bring criminal charges. First, you’d have to show how they did it. Second, you’d have to show how proof could be amassed. And third, you’d have to show that someone was actually defrauded by their actions.
Still…facts are stubborn things, and if you figured out how to see past the dodges erected in the aftermath of such a crime, you might be able to see how that crime was committed. Which might allow the press to uncover proof by asking exactly the right questions instead of being distracted by misleading issues like the openness of the search process, or aggressive recruiting, or due diligence, or the mindset of the candidates. At which point the fraud would be obvious, and the appropriate law enforcement entities could initiate appropriate criminal investigations.
So. How do you steal an election?
— Mark Barrett
Rastetter as the most powerful person in Iowa, after making millions in hog confinement, Ag-business, and ethanol obviously wants to control the state educational system; Re: his 500,000 loan from ISU, his Tanzanian scam, his appropriating ISU researchers for his farm. And he wants U Iowa money transferred over to ISU (as Harreld admitted he would; why would he admit that unless it was part of the backroom deal). So Rastetter has his man now as president, and he has the chops (political and business allies) to ignore all the little people attempting to thwart him. He is tight with Kochs (as is his friend Nick Ryan, heck they put like 20 million out there in ads AGAINST Obama) and Republican candidates for POTUS.
Branstad is Branstand, Governor For Life (kinda like the President for Life Duvalier); he can ride out any storm.
However the president pro tem of the BOR (Katie Mulholland) responded to the AAUP inquiry with quite a snotty and snobby letter: “your letter fails to identify with any level of specificity the issues or scope of your investigation.” Good lord! What a snoot full. Where does she get any chops to scold the AAUP? Mulholland is the former superintendent of Linn Mar. Flipping off the AAUP is not like brushing aside the parent of a kid who got his shirt ripped at recess, OK? She donated a few hundred to Branstad to get her BOR appt and not $180,000 like Rastetter? Is she not aware of the size of this organization and some of the power? I bet Univ of Illinois isn’t all that happy about AAUP censuring them after an investigation. Stonewalling that organization is unwise overall, and likely looks like there is something to hide. Insulting them like a sniveling lil 8th grader is likely to piss off an organization that is working nationally on shared governance.
Both Robillard and Mulholland point to some lawsuit which is a total canard. Maybe they don’t talk to the press specifically about ‘closed meetings’ but this is a preliminary AAUP investigation that would likely be confidential at first. All this really looks like a cover-up.
Does the Univ of Iowa sign agreements with the AAUP about shared governance? Do they agree to particulars in presidential searches? I would suggest Mulhalland and Robillard likely don’t know. and maybe don’t care. Restetter has presidential candidates on speed dial but these two don’t. They need to be careful.
Robbillard is lord over the UIHC. He makes a cool million a year and his word comes down from the mountain. That seems to distort a person’s self worth; Robillard is constantly spanked and scolded in court because judges don’t give a damn if your white coat is longer and bigger than anyone elses.
Do these people not think of what would happen if the Iowa Attorney General looks into them (which they know, sadly, isn’t going to happen)? Maybe they don’t think of accreditation issues. Does the U of Iowa sign agreements to conduct searches a particular way? Did they violate that? Does it risk accreditation problems?
Also consider the implications of an institution highly dependent on federal funds and grants. Functions (including hiring) have to meet federal standards of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Equal Opportunity. Re:
“Each contracting agency in the Executive Branch of government must include the equal opportunity clause in each of its nonexempt government contracts. The equal opportunity clause requires that the contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic individuals are considered minorities for purposes of the Executive Order. This clause makes equal employment opportunity and affirmative action integral elements of a contractor’s agreement with the government. Failure to comply with the non-discrimination or affirmative action provisions is a violation of the contract. ”
I am sure there are other fed executive orders that require contractors with the Feds to maintain fair and reasonable searches. Would Robillard and Mullholland be snooty to a federal attorney investigating the search? Would they snub the Civil Right Commission? Dept of Education?
Robillard wants his name on that new children’s hospital and I suspect he goes with the BOR flow to ensure that. Now he is caught with the white coat down, and attempting to avoid or cover up issues.
The BOR and the Acting President should welcome inquiries about the presidential search process. They should be able to prove that the search was fair and open, and respected federal requirements for contractors and national research universities. They should appear open with nothing to hide — Damage Control 101.
It is one thing to ignore and bully students, faculty and maybe alumni, but it is another issue entirely to attempt to bully national organizations. In doing so, they are inviting federal oversight, it seems to me. Wonder if this a road the Pres and the Pres protem BOR think about? They aint got the chops to fend off investigations of fraud forever.
I think what happend is that Branstad was in power for so long that he just couldn’t get over Iowa City and the U. of I. not bowing to his will. I don’t know if the school and town got stuck in his crotchety craw or if he didn’t have anything else left to despoil, but they sure worked for it — what with having to pack the regents with cronies over a three years span.
I think Mulholland is in way over her head. I also think Rastetter put her up to responding to the AAUP because if those same words had come out of his mouth they would have looked ten times worse. And yet it’s really the same result. Until somebody comes along that can make them comply, they’re going to stonewall.
As for Robillard, I didn’t know anything about him until the Harreld hire was announced, and I didn’t know what to think about him until last week. Now, I think there’s nobody with their neck out farther. As I said in the other comment, if he’s not already talking to a criminal defense attorney he’s making a big mistake.
It’s been about a month since Harreld was elected, and there’s about a month to go before he even takes office, and as of right now the best that can be said about the hire is that nothing illegal has been proven. There’s not much lower you can go than that and still have your job.
“Fortunately, because Robillard and Rastetter are both seasoned administrators, and are both backed by seasoned staffs which are used to making hires and conducting searches despite suffocating guidelines and entangling regulations, we can rest assured that the only way a search process overseen by those two distinguished gentlemen would ever be unfair would be if they intentionally subverted the search process themselves. And what are the odds that two loyal servants of the state, let alone paragons of higher education, would ever do something that low?”
Interesting comment. One would expect that both R and R know the rules and abide by them. However it striking how often that with power comes arrogance. Did the CEO of Volkswagon know the rules? Well of course. Robillard in particular and the U of Iowa in general is often involved in legal actions. And often they are swatted for noncompliance with the law. This very very frequent occurrence makes you wonder if the administration is obtuse, or obstreperous or arrogant.
The ‘graph you quoted goes the heart of the real crime that they committed. I’m not sure how deep the corruption runs in the U. of I. administration ranks, but everyone who works at the highest levels should be documenting any conversations they’ve had with Robillard or Rastetter about the Harreld hire. The Office of the General Counsel should also be locking up emails and hard drives related to the search, so there’s no possibility that somebody gets nervous and starts erasing data.
As for Robillard and Rastetter themselves, they should each have contacted a criminal defense attorney by now, unless they really are consumed by arrogance. The DMR editorial that the search was ‘flawed’ means the next rung down is illegality. And each of them faces threats on three fronts.
1) Someone may figure out how to ask the right questions, and if they don’t have the right answers they’re screwed.
2) One of them might crack under the strain (Robillard) or just decide they don’t want to do any time (Rastetter), which means either one could sell the other out at any time.
3) Someone with law enforcement authority at the federal level may call them up just to chat, and if it can later be shown that they lied about anything that’s a federal crime even if they did nothing else.