Ruth Harkin wants Harkin Institute at Iowa State to research agriculture

Request creates dispute; ISU president says restriction prevents duplicate research

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Emails show Regent Ruth Harkin has fought for months to allow an Iowa State University institute honoring her husband, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, to research agriculture.

Iowa State released e-mails Monday detailing the dispute over research restrictions on the Harkin Institute of Public Policy. The Harkins say the university is suppressing academic freedom, while ISU President Steven Leath says the policy avoids duplication and protects the prominence of another ISU agriculture research center.

The dispute dates to July, when Leath told Ruth Harkin that a campus memo banned the institute from conducting agriculture research. Leath says he instructed the university's foundation to remove language about agriculture from a Harkin Institute brochure.

Ruth Harkin says the restriction doesn't make sense because agriculture has been the centerpiece of her husband's legislative agenda.

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