A little over a week ago the Iowa Board of Regents pushed back hard against growing evidence that there was impropriety in the hiring of J. Bruce Harreld to be the next president of the University of Iowa. In doing so the regents summarily demonstrated that the hire was in fact the definition of impropriety.
On the question of shared governance, one quote from Regent Katie Mulholland crystallized the degree to which the board believed it was obligated to take the opinions of the faculty and staff at Iowa into account.
“In my role as a regent, we honor the shared governance of the university faculty and staff,” Mulholland said. “But shared governance is really different from shared decision-making.”
Now, on first reading that may seem coherent, but as we’ll see it’s actually the kind of bureaucratic doublespeak that long-time administrators use to avoid lying to your face. Because of course lying is uncomfortable and messy and leads to hurt feelings, while doublespeak conceals duplicity and thwarts accountability.