You feel violated. You trusted in a process that proved corrupt and you trusted in people who proved corrupt. You know a wrong has been perpetrated but there’s no smoking gun — not even a broken pane of glass you can point to as tangible evidence of a crime. Instead, you’re left with a void, and you’re now trying to comprehend that void using your intellect, which has always sustained you. And that’s your first mistake.
When you’re victimized you may go through a period of dissociation or cognitive dissonance, where no matter how hard you try you can’t get your view of the world to match up with what happened. And that’s particularly true if you were betrayed in the process. If you’re a peace-loving sort and someone you know slaps you across the face, you may be stunned by that assault, not just physically but mentally. If you’re an honest person and someone you know takes money out of your wallet, then laughs in your face because it will be your word against theirs, you may be incredulous, but you may also find yourself numbly agreeing with their logic. If you’ve devoted your life to the search for truth and a small gang of thugs in blue blazers steals an election by corrupting key points in the electoral process, you may find yourself trying to rationalize that abuse simply because you can’t comprehend the audacity of the deceit.
If you are a good person all of those reactions are normal. Unfortunately, the bad people in the world will use your goodness against you to perpetrate crime after crime. Which brings us to the Board of Regents and their unanimous decision to hire J. Bruce Harreld as the next president of the University of Iowa.
You are now being told that the hiring process was open and transparent when you know it was not, that the perpetrators of that violation care about shared governance when they clearly do not, and that it’s time for everyone to pull together and help the newly elected, unqualified, carpetbagging dilettante who is about to be installed in office actually learn how to do the job he is now being paid $4,000,000 to do. Yet as a good person you may still be thinking there is some plausible justification for why a small group of fine, upstanding thugs behaved so reprehensibly.
What you are now being asked to do is to participate in the violation of trust that was perpetrated against you, and you are being asked to do that for two reasons. First, so you can no longer protest that abuse, and second so you will be complicit in the abuse yet to come. If you are on the faculty or staff, or are a student at the University of Iowa, what just happened is a violation of your trust and you should not forget that. The election of J. Bruce Harreld was not the result of a fair and open process of inclusion, but a bald abuse of power by Governor Terry Branstad, by the president of the Board of Regents, Bruce Rastetter, by the acting university president, Jean Robillard, and by the newly elected president himself, J. Bruce Harreld.