Protestors interrupt Iowa Board of Regents meeting

Protest over firm hired to audit Iowa's public universities

UPDATE: A group of protestors this morning interrupted the Iowa Board of Regents meeting by repeatedly shouting, “Ditch Deloitte, stop the audit," in reference to a regent-commissioned study to find efficiencies at Iowa's public universities.

The Iowa Board of Regents last month announced it was hiring – at an initial cost of $2.5 million – the global consulting firm Deloitte LLP to help save resources at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

Deloitte was among 10 companies that submitted proposals for the job after the Board of Regents announced plans to find efficiencies through an “efficiency and transformation review study.” The goal is to identify ways to maximize resources, find new efficiencies and seek collaborations between the three campuses.

With the help of Deloitte, the regent-appointed committee will look at the universities as separate entities and as one operating system.

Deloitte, in its previous work, has produced a return on investment of six to 10 times what they charge for their services. That could mean $25 million in new efficiencies, although Board of Regent President Bruce Rastetter said the board isn't predicting how much money in efficiencies they'll save.

Rastetter told reporters following Wednesday's protest that he was surprised and didn't know there was opposition to the audit or the consultant.

"The information has all been received very positively," he said.

But, he said, Deloitte and its consultants will be on the college campuses to meet with stakeholders and various interested groups. And, Rastetter said, there will be opportunities for members of the public to ask questions and express concerns at forums on the various campuses.

UI President Sally Mason also said she hasn't previously received complaints about the study or the chosen consultant, but she welcomes the discussion and invites members of the campus community to be a part of the discussion."We have very active students here," she said.