Harreld's hiring lacked transparency

To the editor:

A recent Gazette column advises a “wait and see” stance on judging new University of Iowa president J. Bruce Harreld (“Character will decide UI fate,” Sept. 5). Good advice, but what we have already seen is profoundly disturbing. The selection was made in the face of opposition from UI students and faculty, and with disapproval from similar groups at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The suddenly increased funding request uniquely for UI smacks of a sop to placate the opposition. And finally, it is revealed that the successful candidate had already visited the UI campus in July.

In sum, this pattern suggests that the regents knew all along who their man would be, and gives the appearance of “railroading.” Even if this not the case, appearances matter, especially in the absence of transparency. As a college academic of more than 50 years who has participated in various selection committees, I am much concerned that we have some explanations.

I wish the new president luck. Without the backing of his constituencies, he is going to need it.

James B. Larkin

Cedar Rapids

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