A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
04/25/20 — On Thursday of last week the Daily Iowan’s Rin Swann had an interesting story up about the search for yet another Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Iowa. There have been so many searches at UI since illegitimate president J. Bruce Harreld was hired that it’s hard to keep them all straight, but the AVP-DEI position is particularly notorious because of the TaJuan Wilson debacle earlier this year. (For more on all that, see here and here.)
Despite the fact that the new search is just now getting underway, Swann does an excellent job of framing the larger context and underscoring the stakes involved, starting with the headline: UI student urges next Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader to report to president. As regular readers know, not only did Harreld demote DEI from his cabinet and kick that position out of his office, but at the same time he invented an entirely new position for an ex-jock to handle startups on the UI campus — which Harreld then also made a dual report to his office. And yet from Swann’s report it sounds as if there may be a reassessment taking place about whether DEI is a cabinet-level position or not:
Donna Cramer, a representative from [search firm] Isaacson, Miller who hosted the student session, said the person who holds the position will report to the provost.
“… The person will most likely sit on the President’s Cabinet, so they will have a voice at the President’s Cabinet level,” Cramer said.
I don’t know what “most likely” means, but making that determination prior to advertising for the position will certainly have an impact on the quality of the applicants, as well as comity on the UI campus. Harreld has in fact been an entitled slug about DEI during his tenure, and in her reporting Swann rightly points out his administrative opportunism and hypocrisy:
The UI often turns to peer institutions when pitching its need for more state funding because some of those schools see better outcomes, such as higher graduation and retention rates — which Harreld has said is because those campuses, such as University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, receive more support per student.
Whereas on the issue of tuition, Harreld has advocated for its cost to be at or above the median of the peer group, he said in a September 2019 DI interview the UI felt comfortable straying from the peer group in this reporting structure because “context matters.”
Without performing an exhaustive historical analysis, I can state with high confidence that there has never been a more disreputable president at the University of Iowa, and Harreld’s cavalier belief that he can cherry-pick facts to suit whatever argument he is making at the moment underscores that certainty. No one who is honest talks like J. Bruce Harreld talks. [ Read more ]