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 ]