Regents cannot justify UI hire

To the editor:

The Iowa Board of Regents are trying to legitimize their selection of J. Bruce Harreld as the University of Iowa president, but they can’t.

Harreld met with Katie Mulholland and Milt Dakovich, members of the presidential search committee, and non-members Mary Andringa and Larry McKibben, neither of whom had any official role in the recruitment process.

McKibben claimed “he did more talking than Harreld,” who asked questions about the job which he and Andringa answered “in detail.” Regents President Bruce Rastetter admitted he arranged both meetings so that Harreld could “learn more about the position and what would be expected.” Andringa “strongly encouraged” Harreld to apply.

The regents’ attempts to justify prior connections to Harreld can’t conceal he needed basic instruction in what a university president does as well as their assurances before applying. The other candidates — two provosts and a college president — didn’t.

Choosing Harreld over them was illogical, but it was also willful, defying recommendations from the UI community. Mulholland has declared that “shared governance is really different from shared decision-making.” Not true. “Governance” comprises “the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem.” The regents engineered the hiring of Harreld from beginning to end. They claim they disinterestedly followed due process, but they’re not fooling anyone. Their own words reveal the truth.

Phil Beck

Iowa City

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