SEC supports vote of no-confidence in University of Iowa Board of Regents

By Marijo Enderle

The University of Iowa faculty senate’s vote of no confidence in its Board of Regents is gaining Big Ten support, and the Senate Executive Committee wants to join in.

The committee unanimously agreed Monday to send a resolution to the Academic Senate in support of Iowa’s faculty senate. Iowa’s faculty senate voted to issue a statement of no-confidence in its Board of Regents on Sept. 8.

The University of Iowa’s faculty senate issued a vote of no confidence in Iowa’s board CCfor hiring President Bruce HarreldCC against their faculty search committee’s recommendation. Senate 09.08.15_1.pdf

The faculty search committee’s discontent with Harreld stemmed from his lack of academic administrative experience. Harreld previously worked at IBM for 13 years and taught at Harvard Business School for six years and Northwestern University for one year.CC

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    The other three finalists for Iowa president included Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, Ohio State University Provost Joseph Steinmetz and Tulane University Provost Michael Bernstein.

    The University of Iowa Chapter of the American Association of University Professors published the results of an informal survey circulated among faculty, staff and students on Sept. 2, which asked whether the four finalists “were qualified to be President of the University of Iowa.”

    According to the survey, over 60 percent of respondents believed that Krislov, Steinmetz and Bernstein were qualified to be president.CC Less than five percent of respondents thought Harreld was qualified.CC pressurvey.0800.pdf

    The University of Iowa AAUP called the decision “deplorable” and said that the Board of Regents failed to act in Iowa’s “best interests,” according to a press release sent by Katherine Tachau, Iowa AAUP chapter presidentCC.

    “In retrospect, it is clear that the assurances of fairness and transparency in the hiring process given to us by the Regents, the chair of the search committee, the search firm, and the Faculty Senate leadership were untrue,” Tachau said.

    In a statement in response to the vote of no confidence, Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter

    ccsaid that, despite his lack of administrative experience, Harreld’s background in business gives him the leadership experience needed to improve the University.

    “We are disappointed that some of those stakeholders have decided to embrace the status quo of the past over opportunities for the future and focus their efforts on resistance to change instead of working together to make the University of Iowa even greater,” Rastetter said.

    If the Academic Senate agrees to sign onto the vote of no confidence in Iowa’s Board of Regents, it will become one of the last universities in the Big 10 to support the vote.

    “We’re the last one, I believe, of those who attended (the Committee on Institutional Cooperation),” said Gay Miller, SEC chairCC.

    She emphasized the importance of signing onto the vote in a timely manner.

    “It ignores the weight of [the vote] to call it a minor manner,” said Nicholas BurbulesCC, general university policy chair and professor in educational policy.

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    Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Senate Executive Committee passed a resolution stating the Academic Senate should support a vote of no confidence in Iowa’s faculty senate. The article should have stated the resolution supported Iowa’s faculty senate in its statement of no confidence regarding the school’s Board of Regents.