Sept. 13 was my first Board of Regents meeting. I had high expectations.
I hoped Regents would take seriously the nontenure track faculty’s request that the University of Iowa resume conversations about basic workplace issues such as pay, benefits and growing workloads. Faculty made a compelling case during the public comment section (in which UI President Harreld never even looked up). Despite this, Regents patted themselves and Harreld on the back. It was shocking and clear they didn’t care about what had been said.
When the nontenure track faculty, left with few alternatives, disrupted the meeting with an extended public comment session, Regents took a “recess,” shunning and disrespecting a delegation that represents 54 percent of faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest on campus. Regents are blind to the fact that leadership has created a labor crisis across the university.
As taxpayers, we need to be aware of how the university is spending its money when there are faculty members making near poverty wages. What would happen if that 54 percent followed the Regents’ lead and walked out? The university needs to get its priorities straight. The magic of the university is the teaching and learning that takes place there.
This November, we need to vote for candidates that support public universities. Without qualified faculty, we’ll be left with nothing but a bunch of new, costly buildings.