This past Wednesday and Thursday several important events took place in the ever-unfolding nightmare that is the election of J. Bruce Harreld to be the next president of the University of Iowa. Those events centered on and around the Iowa Board of Regents, which, in early September, reported a unanimous vote in Harreld’s favor, despite the fact that Harreld was manifestly unqualified for the position.
In previous posts we have looked at various dynamics involved in the search process, and we have documented the administrative fraud that occurred in the search committee itself. We have also pointed out, however, that the entire search process is not separate from the Iowa Board of Regents, but a function of the board, and as such any malfeasance is ultimately the board’s responsibility.
In this post we will look at the final vote by the nine-member Board of Regents, which took place after the conclusion of the search. In doing so it’s important to keep the following facts in mind. First, the board is not obligated to call a search. It can simply elect someone by whatever criteria it deems important. Second, if the board decides to initiate a search at taxpayer expense, for whatever reason, there is an implicit expectation that the search will be conducted fairly, so all candidates have an equal opportunity to present themselves throughout the search process. Third, in this search, when the committee concluded its business it sent four finalists to the board for a final vote. No other body, and no individuals other than the nine members on the Board of Regents at that time, had a say in who would be elected.