Note: The Iowa Board of Regents' process used in the search for, and ultimate selection of, a new president for the University of Iowa has been highly controversial throughout. For the details, with links to hundreds of documents, news stories, and opinion pieces, visit this: repository of links from September 2-October 31, 2015 (which also includes links to additional blog posts).
The continuation of that coverage, reporting on events and statements from President Bruce Harreld during his term, is first found in "UI President Harreld - Nov. 2015," for the month of November, starting with the anticipatory stories on November 1, followed by his first day on the job, November 2.
Equivalent material for December can be found -->HERE<--
This blog post, "UI President Harreld - Jan. 2016," is where the continuation of coverage will be found for the month of January, 2016. To the extent events warrant, the present plan is to continue to collect items in month-by-month blog posts during 2016, so long as the news and opinion coverage, and blog readers' interest, continues.
-- Nicholas Johnson, January 1, 2016
January 1-3, 2016
January 4-6, 2016
January 7-9, 2016
January 10-12, 2016
January 13-15, 2016
January 16-18, 2016
January 19-21, 2016
January 22-24, 2016
January 25-27, 2016
January 28-31, 2016
"Leaders speaking badly" makes President Harreld's "should be shot" remark look better by comparison. Ceylan Yeginsu, "Turkey Says Hitler Comment by President Erdogan Was 'Distorted,'" The New York Times (online), January 2, 2015, p. A4 ("Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted. . . . His comment also raised the issue of how the leader of one of the world’s most influential countries, an American ally and member of NATO, would mention Hitler in the context of his own tenure.")
Carol deProsse, "Harreld Statement a Sign of the Times," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 1, 2015, 3:48 p.m.; hard copy: Carol deProsse, "Harreld Statement a Sign of the Times," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 2, 2015, p. A9
Greg Timlin, "Harreld Critics Should Look in Mirror," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 1, 2015, 3:49 p.m.; hard copy: Greg Timlin, "Harreld Critics Should Look in Mirror," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 2, 2015, p. A9
Given the recent reports of cronyism and corruption in the Regents' and UI contracting, see, "Trouble in River City: Corruption Creep," December 13, 2015, it's long past time that all the details of this very questionable student housing deal be uncovered and made available to the public. How could something like this have happened? "Editorial: Profiteering Landlords Make UI Housing Less Affordable," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online) [a Des Moines Register editorial], January 1, 2015, 9:27 p.m. ("With apartment-occupancy rates of 95 percent or so, there’s already plenty of built-in incentive for private developers to build more apartments in Iowa City. If the university is going to give these developers the use of publicly owned land, there should be a very direct benefit to the public, such as the creation of student housing that is genuinely affordable. . . . This is an issue that deserves not only the attention of the Iowa Board of Regents, but also the Iowa Legislature. . . . The school itself needs to move forward with proposals to form a student-housing task force.")
Josh O'Leary, "Top 10 Iowa City Area News Stories of 2015," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 2, 2015, 1:01 a.m.; hard copy: Josh O'Leary, "Top 10 Iowa City Area News Stories of 2015; From the Passing of Reins at UI, to the Rose Bowl, There's Been No Shortage of News," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 4, 2015, p. A3 ("1. Mason Resigns; Harreld Hired. Sally Mason, who announced her retirement plans in January, weathered her share of controversy in eight years as UI's president. But her successor, Colorado business executive Bruce Harreld, found himself embroiled in controversy even before taking the reins as the university's 21st president.
The Iowa Board of Regents selected Harreld, a former IBM executive, from four finalists Sept. 4. The hiring prompted an outcry from many UI faculty members, graduate students and others contesting the hiring of a president whose background was largely rooted in the business world.
Numerous protests have taken place at regents meetings and at the president's office in the months since. And a report from the American Association of University Professors in November added fuel to the fire, declaring that the regents' hiring process was 'tainted from the start.'")
Leonard Cassuto, "What Will Doctoral Education Look Like in 2025? Predictions and Hopes for the Future of Ph.D. Training," The Chronicle of Higher Education (online), January 3, 2016 ("We’ve been . . . waiting and hoping to recover that lost time of plenty [post-WWII through 1970s]. But the scales have fallen from our eyes in recent years, so it’s a good time to think about what the future might really hold for graduate school. . . . Today graduate school is gripped in a vise. One jaw of that vise is the ever-tightening academic job market, and the other jaw is the increasing corporatization of the academy. . . . The faculty no longer sets the values of the institution. Instead, university leaders now see themselves as agents for the board of trustees, and at public institutions, the legislature. The naming of the businessman Bruce Harreld as president of the University of Iowa is good recent example of that shift. . . . Here’s the greatest cause for hope: The conversations about changing graduate school are finally happening. The problems I’ve described here have been with us for a long while, but for years we weren’t ready to face them. Yes, things have gotten worse — especially since the recession of 2008 — but we haven’t collapsed yet. Let’s fix our house before it falls over.")
Here's a link to another blog collection of items involving today's challenges for higher education: Michael Meranze and Christopher Newfield, "Remaking the University"
Issues for Harreld: AIB campus; plus, issue of excessive use of and pay for consultants: Vanessa Miller, "Regents to Pay Firm Up to $91,000 for 'Needs Assessment' for Degrees in Des Moines Area," The Gazette (online), January 5, 2016, 9:34 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regents Study Des Moines Outlook; Consultants Hired Months After AIB Agreed to Donate its Campus There to the UI," The Gazette, January 6, 2016, p. A3
Gerhild Krapf, "Return Higher Education to People of Iowa," Des Moines Register (online), January 6, 2016, 1:28 p.m.; hard copy: Gerhild Krapf, "Restore Institutions of Higher Education," The Gazette, January 7, 2016, p. A5 ("Touted “shared governance” requires that the Regents have necessary expertise and integrity, requisite humility and respect for the expertise of the faculty, with whom they share governance. Neither is true. . . . The cause of higher tuition is not inefficiency, but diversion of public funds from education to corporate pet projects. . . . It is high time that our hijacked institutions of higher education be appropriately funded and restored to the people of the state of Iowa, whom they are intended to serve.")
Tough critique of Harreld: R. Jon Roberts, "Harreld Should Abide by Own Standards," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 7, 2016, 3:40 p.m.; hard copy: R. Jon Roberts, "Harreld Should Abide by Own Standards," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 8, 2016, p. A5
If Harreld is to tell the tale of IBM's "turnaround," someone should make sure, for the sake of the students as well as the historical record, that it's factually accurate regarding: (1) how much of it was accomplished before he was even at IBM?; (2) how much was done by others?; and (3) how his contribution (whatever that was) fit in with other time periods and the contributions of others (see, "UI President Harreld - Nov. 2015," Section: November 4-6, 2015; Items: "Harreld and the IBM "turnaround," Items 2, 3 and 4 (e.g., IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, Jr.'s book about the turnaround, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance, makes no mention of Harreld; other authors explain why). Vanessa Miller, "UI President to Participate in Business Course Dissecting IBM Turnaround; Harreld Said He Loves Teaching, Interacting with Students," The Gazette, January 7, 2016, 9:31 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: New UI President to Teach Business Students About IBM; Harreld Helped Lead Company's Turnaround," The Gazette, January 8, 2016, p. A3
More on President Harreld's remarks. Those who find the details in Jeff Charis-Carlson's story of interest may also find the following of help in thinking through the issues they raise: “Quick Draw Harreld and Why Language Matters,” and “Nicholas Johnson, "Was It Something I Said? General Semantics, the Outspoken Seven, and the Unacceptable Remark," Institute for General Semantics, New York City, October 30, 2010. Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Harreld Will Continue to Answer Critics Via Email," Iowa City Press-Citizen/Des Moines Register (online), January 8, 2016, 5:03 p.m. ("The new president of the University of Iowa says he will continue to respond to his critics via email despite some respondents later releasing the caustic electronic conversations to the media.")
UI President Harreld told UI Athletics Director Barta that he'd leave the winning to Barta, and personally focus on the program's performance with regard to academics and integrity. So, how does Harreld come out on this matter of integrity: Donald H. Yee, "College Sports Exploits Unpaid Black Athletes. But They Could Force a Change. Disproportionately Black Football and Basketball Players Are Making Disproportionately White Administrators and Coaches Rich," The Washington Post (online), January 8, 2016 ("But after a year when Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country, and at the end of a season when the football team at the University of Missouri helped force the resignation of the school’s top two administrators over how the campus handled race-related incidents, we need to stop ignoring the racial implications of the NCAA’s hypocrisy. . . . The bargain the NCAA makes with football and basketball players is fairly simple: You play games, entertain fans and make us money, and we’ll give you a scholarship, experience, training and exposure you need to make it to the pros.")
There are many purposes of these collections of stories and opinions during President Bruce Harreld's tenure as UI's president -- an historical record of an interesting and important period in the evolution of the University of Iowa, a time-saving report that can be checked daily by those who wish to follow these events more closely, a presentation of the views of both Harreld's critics and defenders. But an additional purpose is to pose, both for President Harreld and those following his progress, issues in higher education generally as well as locally that he would do well to study, and ultimately develop personal views about -- utilizing his own moral compass -- well before they crash in upon him and the "crisis communication" early responders have to be called to the scene. Below are three more examples:
Are there limits to the virtues of total transparency by a large institution and its leaders? Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Harreld Will Continue to Respond to Critics Via Email; Reply Process to Remain, Despite Exchanges Being Released Publicly Online," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 11, 2015, p. A1
Are there circumstances under which the firing of an employee is warranted because some of us, or all of us, find his or her communication (speech, writing -- or sculpture) offensive? Vanessa Miller, "Florida Professor Fired After Sandy Hook Conspiracies Remembered as 'Thoughtful' Student at Iowa; UI Leaders: 'We Are Not Anxious to Claim Him,'" The Gazette, January 10, 2016, 2:26 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Fired Conspiracy Theorist Got Ph.D. at UI; 'We Are Not Anxious to Claim' Florida Professor Whose Belief that Sandy Hook Was Fake Drew National Attention," The Gazette, January 11, 2016, p. A6
Today's academic research involving human beings ("human subjects research" -- as distinguished from those which only involves, say, fruit flies or mice, which have different standards) is governed by federal and institutional standards enforced by institutional review boards, or IRBs, that must first approve the study. Sometimes these standards and their enforcement involve basic human rights about which virtually all of us would agree; at other times they look a little silly. Guess wrong, or deliberately violate the standards, and an institution can have a major public relations problem -- among other things, like law suits. It's not totally clear from this story what's going on at ISU, but it's another potential issue for the UI for him to inform himself about. Arthur Harrington, "Banana Study Involving Iowa State Raises Questions About Human Testing; Study Will Involve ISU Students Eating Bananas Designed to Raise Vitamin A Levels," The Gazette (online), January 10, 2016, 8:24 p.m.; hard copy: Arthur Harrington, "Research: Study Prompts Concerns Over Human Testing at ISU; Banana Project Aims to Boost Vitamin A Levels Among Africans," The Gazette/Ames Tribune, January 11, 2016, p. A9
Mark Barrett, "Ditchwalk Says: J. Bruce Harreld and the Crisis in Higher Education," January 10, 2016, 11:37 p.m. (6600 words about UI President Harreld's appointment, performance, and issues that will leave you, as presidential candidate Governor Adlai Stevenson said after losing the election, "Too hurt to laugh, and too old to cry.")
"A Fair Shake for Faculty; Harreld Committed to Raising Educators' Pay," UI Office of Strategic Communication, Iowa Now (online), January 12, 2016
What follows are the two local stories about the Regents' latest reliance on "consultants." Bear in mind, (a) this is a job the Regents (and its universities' presidents) need to do themselves: the Google-searching research, the individual reflection and evolution of positions, the consensus-producing discussion; it's not a job to be contracted out to distant strangers. (b) To the extent the Regents want to involve others in this process, they have access to the remarkable academic and research resources of the UI and ISU administrators and faculty, two of the nation's top public research universities, individuals certainly as, and most likely far more, qualified to undertake the task than any available consultants. The questions posed do not require mastery of rocket science -- and even if they did, we have those resources as well among our people.
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents to Spend $71K on Strategic Plan; Regents Also Approve $91,000 for Educational Assessment of the Des Moines Metropolitan Area," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 11, 2016, 12:36 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents to Spend $71K on Strategic Plan; It Will Reflect the Unique History of the Iowa Schools," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 12, 2016, p. A4
Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Board of Regents to Pay $71,000 for New Strategic Plan; Process to Involve 'Open Meeting' With Community at Large," The Gazette (online), January 11, 2016, 2:58 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regents to Pay $71,256 for Evaluation of System; Consultant Will Help Develop 5-Year Plan," The Gazette, January 12, 2016, p. A7 ("Regents will be asked to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the state's higher education system and suggest their vision for the future . . ..")
UI President Harreld told UI Athletics Director Barta that he'd leave the winning to Barta, and personally focus on the program's academics and integrity. ["UI President Harreld - Nov. 2015," Nov. 7-9, Item 4 ("Harreld said, 'I told Gary [Barta] the winning is yours; I’m all about the integrity and the academics.'")] So, how does Harreld come out on these issues regarding the UI athletic program's integrity?
Occasionally there is a cluster of news that, together, tells a story more powerful than any one item alone. This is such a time. The Regents are asking the Legislature for $20M for UI, ISU and UNI combined (of which a mere $4M is for UI); Governor Branstad is requesting $8M; sympathetic legislators predict it will be hard to get even that.
Meanwhile, the UI's football coaching staff -- all of whom are more than handsomely rewarded with high salaries (at $4M Coach Ferentz is Iowa's highest paid public employee) -- will be paid as bonuses an amount equaling near one-half of the additional amount requested from the Legislature for the operation of the entire University of Iowa!
Bear in mind three things.
(1) None of these coaches, during the entire football season, performed even one thrown or caught pass, first-and-ten gain, kicked extra point, sack, block or tackle -- let alone touchdown. Of course, they provided coaching and mentoring to the players on and off the field -- just as every other UI faculty member does for the students in his or her field. But only coaches believe this entitles them to all of the cash flow thereafter generated by their students.
Coaches are like the plantation owners who used to sit on their porches sipping mint juleps, enjoying their bonuses when the price of cotton went up, watching the crop being grown and picked by slaves who received no salary to speak of (beyond board and room) -- and certainly no bonuses -- for their physically demanding labor.
(2) Under the NCAA and UI rules, those who actually went on the playing field, risking life-long injuries including concussions (talk about "I feel your pain"), those who actually achieved the team's winning season -- the players -- did not even receive salaries (beyond tuition, board and room), let alone bonuses for their accomplishment.
(3) Is it wise to risk even the appearance of a conflict of interest for a coach weighing (a) the potential risk to an injured, star player's health by encouraging him to return to the game, and (b) the potential million-dollar bonuses that will almost certainly be lost if he does not do so? Admittedly, Coach Ferentz is a class act, but isn't $4M a year enough to live relatively well in Iowa City? Are additional multi-million-dollar bonuses required to provide the necessary incentive for someone to do their job? Are they offered to faculty elsewhere in the University?
The four stories that follow include the Legislative budget struggle, a repeat of the Washington Post story about the economic exploitation of college football players, an Iowa player injured by coach-required excessive training who has settled his lawsuit, and an itemization of the coaches' bonuses.
Vanessa Miller, "Funding Proposal for Regents Well Below Request; Board Wanted $20 Million More for UI, ISU, UNI," The Gazette, January 12, 2016, 7:45 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Governor's Pitch is Far Less Than Board of Regents Wants," The Gazette, January 13, 2016, p. A7
Donald H. Yee, "College Sports Exploits Unpaid Black Athletes. But They Could Force a Change. Disproportionately Black Football and Basketball Players Are Making Disproportionately White Administrators and Coaches Rich," The Washington Post (online), January 8, 2016 ("But after a year when Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country, and at the end of a season when the football team at the University of Missouri helped force the resignation of the school’s top two administrators over how the campus handled race-related incidents, we need to stop ignoring the racial implications of the NCAA’s hypocrisy. . . . The bargain the NCAA makes with football and basketball players is fairly simple: You play games, entertain fans and make us money, and we’ll give you a scholarship, experience, training and exposure you need to make it to the pros.")
Andrew Mytelka, "U. of Iowa Settles With Athlete Who Was Hospitalized After Workout," The Chronicle of Higher Education (online), January 11, 2016 ("The University of Iowa has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle a personal-injury lawsuit filed by a former football player who spent a week in the hospital after a mandatory, high-stress workout . . . hospitalized with exertional rhabdomyolysis, in which excessive muscular strain makes muscle tissue deteriorate, dumping proteins into the bloodstream and potentially causing kidney damage. [He] accused the football staff of 'developing and implementing a dangerous, improper training program' . . .. The staff regarded the workout as a test of both stamina and toughness . . . to tell which players 'wanted to be on the team' . . . one of several in recent years in which competitive pressures and college athletes’ safety have come into conflict.")
Scott Dochterman, "Bonuses for Ferentz, Staff Exceed $2 Million," The Gazette (online), January 12, 2016, 3:07 p.m.; hard copy: Scott Dochterman, "Iowa Football: Bonuses Exceed $2 Million," The Gazette, January 13, 2016, p. B1
"A Fair Shake for Faculty; Harreld Committed to Raising Educators' Pay," UI Office of Strategic Communication, Iowa Now (online), January 12, 2016
Now here are three more stories, and topics, for President Harreld to think through in coming to his own understanding and personal position:
The planned diversity of student enrollment; what's appropriate, justified -- and legal -- and what's not; Harvard Board of Overseers considering free Harvard educations, funded by endowment earnings. What would be the appropriate analog for the UI? Stephanie Saul, "How Some Would Level the Playing Field: Free Harvard Degrees," The New York Times, January 15, 2016, p. A1 ("[A] slate of candidates running for the Board of Overseers at Harvard . . . say Harvard makes so much money from its $37.6 billion endowment that it should stop charging tuition to undergraduates. But they have tied the notion to another, equally provocative question: Does Harvard shortchange Asian-Americans in admissions?")
The NCAA president speaks out on an issue at the UI: are athletes in high-revenue sports, women coaches, and possible coaches, treated equally and fairly? The related issues surrounding coaches' pay are discussed immediately above. Does President Harreld intend to get involved in these issues, or leave them to AD Barta and the coaches? Jim Vertuno, "Emmert Applauds Student-Athlete Activism," Associated Press, January 14, 2016, 8:18 p.m.; hard copy: Jim Vertuno, "Emmert Applauds Activism Among Student-Athletes," Associated Press/Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 16, 2015, p. B5 ("NCAA President Mark Emmert applauded student-athlete campus activism and said Thursday he's disappointed that member schools aren't hiring more women and minorities as coaches. . . . 'If you look at FBS football, there's not any growth in African-Americans getting coordinator positions. That's the feeder into head coaching jobs . . .. Why are women not being attracted into coaching positions as they once were?' Emmert's speech also pushed universities to address 'fairness' for college athletes, from how much time they spend on their sport compared to academics to making sure they are advancing toward their degrees. NCAA surveys show that 75 percent of Division I basketball players think they will someday have a professional career. A vast majority won't, Emmert said.")
The so called "Town-Gown" conflicts are not limited to Iowa City and the UI; they have been forever with us across the country. The UI is Iowa City's 800 pound guerrilla. Because of the decision to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the old Kinnick Stadium (rather than building a more adequate facility three or four miles down the road, with plenty of parking, Hawkeye football games end up dumping 70,000 visitors into a neighborhood designed for 200-300 souls. Binge drinking students taking over downtown on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights tends to drive away many potential customers. Neighborhoods that used to house families have been bought up by the University, or others, and turned into student housing -- with the expected consequences of noise and far more automobiles looking for parking. What's President Harreld's position on situations like this one? Vanessa Miller, "New University of Iowa Frat House Hinges on City Parking Waiver; Parking Scarcity 'Has Long Been a Major Concern,'" The Gazette (online), January 14, 2016, 6:08 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Plan for New UI Frat House Prompts Parking Concerns; Neighbors Skeptical of Project Requiring City to Waive Its Rules," The Gazette, January 15, 2015, p. A3 ("Iowa City staff have concerns about such a [parking] waiver. 'The scarcity of on-street parking in the area has long been a major concern for neighborhood residents, and as the university grows its population of undergraduate students, the competition for on-street parking is likely to become more intense,' according to a staff recommendation to the board. 'There is also concern about disturbances that have been created by other fraternities in the immediate neighborhood,” the staff recommendation states. “The adjacent fraternity to the south has been expelled from its house by its own national organization due to behavioral issues.'”)
Presumably President Harreld would like to keep the University of Iowa competitive with regard to graduate students working as teaching assistants, as well a tenured faculty and entering students. The University of Missouri has done a study he might want to review. Megan Favignano, "Graduate Student Benefits Mixed at Other Universities," Columbia Daily Tribune January 17, 2016, 12:00 a.m. ("Two University of Missouri task forces have spent this school year researching graduate student health insurance options . . . and other benefits. . . . Universities offer a range of options when it comes to child care. . . . At the University of Iowa Graduate College, which is of comparable size to MU, student stipend levels are negotiated between the University of Iowa and the graduate employee union and outlined in a contract.")
Stephen Gruber-Miller, "UI Classes Begin: What You May Have Missed Over Winter Break," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 17, 2016, 1:43 p.m.; hard copy: Stephen Gruber-Miller, "UI Classes Begin: What You May Have Missed," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 18, 2016, p. A1 ("More Harreld Controversy. UI's 21st president, Bruce Harreld, is still making headlines after his controversial hiring last year.")
Another of UI's treasures, seldom mentioned let alone promoted: "UI's Museum of Natural History Ranks No. 11," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 19, 2016, 4:33 p.m. ("The UI Museum of Natural History ranked No. 11 on a list of “The 30 Most Amazing Higher Ed Natural History Museums” compiled recently by the website www.bestcollegereviews.org. Founded in 1858 by an act of the Iowa Legislature, the UI museum boasts of being the oldest university museum west of the Mississippi River. Located in Macbride Hall, the Natural History Museum complements the Old Capitol Museum on the university's historic Pentacrest area.")
Bruce Harreld, "Building Momentum This Spring; President Harreld Shares Details About Upcoming Town Hall, Leadership Positions," Iowa Now, January 19, 2016 ("I am looking forward to the continued development of our shared direction and how, together, we will build momentum. As you may know, we started this listening process through our shared governance structure after Thanksgiving break. In order to continue this communication and collaborative planning, we are having a town hall meeting Feb. 23 in C20 Pomerantz Center from 4 to 6 p.m.")
Vanessa Miller, "Spring Outlook Looks Busy for Iowa's Universities; Politics, Construction, Tuition Debate On Tap," The Gazette (online), January 19, 2016, 4:45 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Students Return for Busy Spring Semester; Iowa's Public Universities Saw Some 80,000 Students Return to Campus Tuesday for a Spring Semester Promising to be More Expensive for Some, More Technologically Accessible for Others and Packed with Politics for All. Here Are Some of the Things Expected to Affect iowa's Campuses This Spring," The Gazette, January 20, 2016, p. A2 ("New UI President. With not even one full semester under his belt, new UI President Bruce Harreld launched the spring semester Tuesday with a message outlining plans to continue a 'communication and collaborative planning' process.")
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI to Remove 'Interim' from Lehnertz's Senior VP Title; UI Eliminates VP for Strategic Communication Position," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 19, 2016, 3:43 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI to Remove 'Interim' from Lehnertz's Senior VP Title," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 20, 2016, p. A3
Vanessa Miller, "UI President Removes Interim Titles, Welcomes Back Students; 'This is Truly an Exciting Time," The Gazette, January 19, 2016, 2:15 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: UI President Removes Interim Titles, Welcomes Back Students; Harreld Asks Regents to Approve New CFO and Vice President," The Gazette, January 20, 2016, p. A2
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Failed to Open Letter from Freedom of Information Council," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 19, 2016, 12:58 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Fails to Open Record Request; Letter Dated Dec. 30 Raises Concerns Over the University's Refusal to Release Documents," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 20, 2016, p. A1 ("University of Iowa officials say they weren't intentionally ignoring a letter from the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. It's just that no one had gotten around to opening the letter until last weekend. . . . FOI Council Executive Director Randy Evans raised concerns about UI's refusal to release documents related to work done for the university by a company owned by former Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn. The letter came in response to an Associated Press article concerning how Strawn’s company had received contracts worth about $320,000 without competitive bids. AP reported that UI was keeping some of the documents secret . . ..")
It's a start? Vanessa Miller, "Regents Committee Set to Meet on Safety, Security; Discussion Will Look at Infectious Disease, Active Shooter Scenarios, Mandatory Reporters," The Gazette (online), January 20, 2016, 5:06 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Regents Committee Plans 2nd Meeting on Safety, Security; Discussion Will Look at Infectious Disease, Active Shooter Scenarios, Mandatory Reporters," The Gazette, January 21, 2016, p. A6 ("Committee members . . . are slated to discuss an updated purpose statement and receive information . . .. [G]roup members did not receive any supporting documents in advance of Thursday’s meeting, according to board spokesman Josh Lehman.")
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Plans to Create a Bias Response Team This Semester," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 20, 2016, 8:34 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Plans to Create a Bias Response Team; Official: Group Should be in Place by the End of the Current Semester," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 21, 2016, p. A1
Paying for the bass drum in the Regents' big brass brand. Vanessa Miller, "Regents Seek Firm to Create New Website; 'The Site Will Focus on Improving Access,'" The Gazette (online), January 19, 2016, 11:22 a.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regents Willing to Pay for Redesign of Website; Site Will Focus on Improving Access to Board Information," The Gazette, January 21, 2016, p. A6 ("[T]he board in 2014 launched an efficiency review in hopes of finding places on each campus to consolidate and save. The board has spent about $5.4 million on consulting fees and expenses related to that efficiency project, and the bill is expected to grow to at least $5.8 million. . . . Iowa’s Board of Regents is looking to pay a firm to design and implement a new official website that will improve access to board information. [Board of Regents' spokesperson Josh Lehman told The Gazette on Monday the board hasn’t updated its website in eight or nine years, and no specific concerns or complaints prompted its decision to create a new site. 'We just wanted a fresh look and fresh design,' he said.")
Ryan Foley, "Investigator Sees Possibility of Bias in Iowa Coach's Firing," Associated Press, January 21, 2016, 3:36 p.m.; hard copy: "Field Hockey: Investigator: Bias May Have Played Role in Coach's Firing," Associated Press/Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 22, 2016, p. B1 ("A former Iowa women's field hockey coach has a 'reasonable possibility' of proving that gender or anti-gay discrimination played a role in her firing, an Iowa Civil Rights Commission investigator has found.")
Cindy Garcia, "Freedom of Information Letter to Harreld Unanswered," The Daily Iowan, January 21, 2016; hard copy: Cindy Garcia, "UI Info Request Delayed," The Daily Iowan, January 21, 2015, p. A1 ("'I will be charitable; I have no reason to doubt what the University said was the reason, but I would say if the president's staff is going half a month without opening the mail, they have bigger issues than we're aware of,' [Iowa Freedom of Information Council Director, Randy] Evans said.")
Savannah Guyer, "UI Lays Out Diversity Plans," The Daily Iowan (online), January 21, 2016; hard copy: Savannah Guyer, "UI Lays Out Future Diversity Plans," The Daily Iowan, January 21, 2016, p. A1 ("[UI Associate Vice President Georgina] Dodge announced that a . . . Diversity and Inclusion [required course] would begin in the summer of 2017 . . .. Success at Iowa . . . and International at Iowa . . . would collaborate for this year’s Orientation . . .. Dodge also touted the Center for Diversity and Enrichment’s multipurpose room in the University Capitol Center and said it will be having a grand opening on Thursday.")
Kaylyn Kluck, "Required Diversity Course in the Works," The Daily Iowan, January 21, 2016; hard copy: Kaylyn Kluck, "Required Diversity Course in the Works," The Daily Iowan, January 21, 2016, p. A5 ("The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences recently announced incoming students will have to fulfill a new diversity and inclusion course requirement. The curriculum update is supposed to replace the old Values, Society, and Diversity requirement by 2017. The decision comes at a time when issues of diversity, whether on university campuses or in the Oscars, make headlines nationwide. Iowa is one of many colleges across the nation seeking out new ways to create a more diversity-friendly atmosphere.")
Free Speech on Campus. A recurring challenge for all college and university presidents, including the UI's Bruce Harreld, is balancing the values behind the First Amendment (and for public institutions its Constitutional requirements, and the reinforcement provided by "tenure") with a school's desire for civil, collegial relations, and respect for all who make up its diverse community. This includes sesitivity in the president's use of language.
A little over a year ago these issues arose on the UI campus regarding a statute displayed on the campus that some saw as a KKK threat to African-Americans, others saw as an appeal to reason, and the artist saw as simply art. "Threats and Sensibilities: Residents Kim, Lynton and Mason," December 20, 2014.
A year later, President Harreld "put his foot in it with the current debate surrounding whether he said teachers 'should be shot,' or whether he said he 'should be shot." "Quick Draw Harreld and Why Language Matters," December 17, 2015 (with links to news articles at the time).
There have been in the past, are now, and will continue to be many more controversies involving the standards applied to on-campus speech and other expression.
A current story involves another former business person serving as a university president -- one who apparently prefers first drowning students like bunnies before shooting them. ("His biography says that he founded or co-founded four businesses and worked at various times for Bain & Co., JP Capital Partners and Cornerstone Management Group.") Scott Jaschik, "Are At-Risk Students Bunnies to Be Drowned? President's Plan to Weed Out Some Students Soon After They Arrive -- and His Alleged Metaphor for the Plan -- Set Off Furor at Mount St. Mary's U.," Inside Higher Ed (online), January 20, 2016 ("Is a valid strategy to improve a college's retention rate to encourage students at risk of dropping out to do so in the first few weeks, so they won't be counted in the total numbers reported to the U.S. Education Department and others? . . . [St. Mary's U. President Simon] Newman told some faculty members they needed to change the way they think of struggling students. He reportedly said, 'This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies . . . put a Glock to their heads.'”)
No one would contend that insulting language, or "hate speech," is "nice" or socially acceptable. But it does not follow that anything and everything done to reduce or punish it constitutes an unmittigated blessing. Does President Harreld hold a view on this new UI program? Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Free Speech Advocates Raise Concerns About UI Bias Team," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 22, 2016, 11:16 a.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Bias Team Raises Free Speech Concerns; It Would Address Complaints of Racial or Other Bias," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 23, 2016, p. A1 ("The executive director of a national free speech advocacy group says there is 'reason to be wary' of the University of Iowa’s plans to move forward with a bias assessment response team . . .. Robert L. Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said via email Thursday. 'I think there is also real reason to be wary of giving any agency of the government, including UI, the ability to record every instance of unpopular speech in a giant database. . . . A campus culture that encourages students to report to the authorities about officially disfavored speech, rather than instances of real harassment or threats, is gravely at odds with the idea of a university as a place for the unfettered exchange of ideas,' Shibley said.”)
Here's a case in which university officials at UI's sister university, ISU in Ames, sought to silence student speech -- not because it was hateful, but because it might create some political problems for the schools' administrators. They found out the U.S. Constitution denied state schools that power, and in the process brought negative public relations upon themselves. It's one more free speech context for President Harreld to think through. Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Court Orders ISU to Allow T-shirts with Marijuana Leaf," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 22, 2016, 5:21 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Court Orders ISU to Allow T-shirts with Marijuana Leaf; Ruling: ISU Engaged in Unconstitutional Viewpoint Discrimination," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 23, 2016, p. A3 ("the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa permanently barred ISU . . . 'from further prohibiting plaintiffs from producing licensed apparel on the basis that their designs include the image of a similar cannabis leaf.' . . . The suit is part of the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, overseen by the national organization Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Because university officials blocked the design 'due to the messages they expressed' in an effort to 'maintain favor with Iowa political figures,' the court found that ISU engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.")
And for a twist that should get President Harreld's attention (sort of like the contrast between fining a Wall Street bank millions of dollars and putting its CEO in a federal prison) see, Vanessa Miller, "Court Backs Iowa State University Students in Marijuana T-shirt Case; ISU Administrators, President Steven Leath, Could Be Held Personally Liable," The Gazette (online), January 25, 2016, 4:39 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Court Backs Students Over Pot T-shirt; Officials Said Design with ISU Logos and Marijuana Leaves Violated Trademark," The Gazette, January 26, 2016, p. A7 ("According to the court order, ISU administrators acknowledged the policy revisions resulted from external criticism, including from those with political prominence. . . . The judge . . . did deny the lawsuit’s defendants 'qualified immunity,' which means they could be held personally liable for violating student rights.")
Vanessa Miller, "E-mails: Some Hoped University of Iowa President's 'Shooting' Comments Would Drive Him Out; 'He Picked the Wrong Thing to Say at Precisely the Right Moment,'" The Gazette (online), January 22, 2016, 9:43 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Some Hoped Harreld's Comments Would Oust Him; Emails Show UI Employees Called President Names and Urged Publicity," The Gazette, January 23, 2016, p. A1 ("Lisa Gardinier, the Latin American & Iberian Studies librarian, has said Harreld told the group that any instructor who goes into a class unprepared 'should be shot.' . . . Harreld has previously said his remark was incorrectly described by Gardinier. 'I never said "teachers should be shot" . . .. I referenced my own experience and commented, "I have learned the hard way that if I go into a classroom without a teaching plan, I should be shot."’”)
More UI Football Issues UI President Harreld has said he'll focus on the integrity and academics of UI's athletic programs and leave the winning to AD Gary Barta. (See Jan. 13-15, above, first item.) Well, this morning's [Jan. 27] news brings a couple of additional integrity issues.
CTE strikes home. What are the ethical/integrity issues involved in a university using unpaid students to fuel a multi-million-dollar commercial engine if it may result in students' lifetime disabilities from physical injuries or even death from mental injuries? Andy Hamilton, "Former Hawkeye Tyler Sash found to have CTE," Associated Press/Des Moines Register/Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 26, 2016, 9:55 p.m.; hard copy: "Ex-Iowa Player Sash Had CTE," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 27, 2016, p. A1 ("Chris Nowinski of the . . . Concussion Legacy Foundation confirmed the diagnosis of [Tyler Sash's] chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE . . .. CTE . . . is directly linked to repeated brain trauma. It is associated with symptoms such as memory loss, impaired judgment, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. . . . [T]he severity of CTE in Sash’s brain was similar to the level found in the brain of . . . Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at age 43. . . . [L]inebacker A.J. Edds . . . told The Register . . . 'when you start looking back and connecting the dots, some of the symptoms and signs were there. . . . It tells you about the state and the standing of what football is continuing to do to guys, not just physically but mentally as well.”)
Teams endorsing Trump. "University of Iowa Football Team Endorses Donald Trump," screamed the URL of the news story. The text reports that, with football players and wrestlers at his side on stage at the UI Field House, "'They endorsed Trump,' the real estate mogul announced to the crowd." I hasten to add that there are no backstory facts known to me. Did the team take a vote? Did the players inform the coaches? Did the coaches encourage, approve, or acquiesce in the endorsement? Did the approval go higher up in the UI's administration -- already accused of Republican favoritism in other contexts? Did the Trump campaign contact the players, or did the players reach out to the campaign? I don't know any of that. But the problem created by, at least the appearance of an endorsement, exits regardless of the answers to those questions.
This is not the time or space for a doctoral dissertation on the subject, but let me also make clear that I see little to no problem with, say, student members of the University of Iowa College Republicans working with the Trump campaign. Indeed, the platform might have been designed with any number of student supporters (identified as such) sharing the stage behind Trump -- as other candidates have sometimes done in the Field House. Indeed, I'd see no problem with one or two athletes being a part of that group. Similarly, I'd not think it a problem if President Harreld, and a smattering of VPs and Deans were a part of a 1000 person audience -- whereas it would seem problematical for them to have played the role the football team did.
Consider: When Herky appeared at Republican Senator Joni Ernst's "Roast & Ride" event in Boone, the UI was quick to disavow the mascot's endorsement of the senator. Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Cy, Herky Remain Politically Neutral, Schools Say," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), June 12, 2015, 12:17 p.m. ("University officials are reasserting the political neutrality of Herky the Hawk and Cy the Cardinal after both mascots appeared at a Republican political rally last week.")
Alex Swoyer, "University of Iowa Football Players Endorse Donald Trump: ‘What a Team!,’" Breitbart News (online), January 26, 2016 ("GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was endorsed by several players from the University of Iowa Hawkeye football team on Tuesday night at his rally in Iowa City, Iowa. . . . 'They endorsed Trump,' the real estate mogul announced to the crowd.")
The absence of links to UI and higher education news and opinion pieces (including my own) during these last four days of January has not been for want of content. Maintaining a repository of the journalistic history of the administration of UI's President Bruce Harreld (along with news of other challenges to higher education generally with implications for the University of Iowa) is a bountiful source of material. The unfolding story remains compelling.
By way of explanation for readers not residing in Iowa, this break in reporting is a function of the fact that the focus of Iowa news and Iowa citizens' efforts during the last week of January through the night of February 1, 2016, has been on "The Iowa Caucus." However, none of the links to relevant material during this political interlude has been ignored or lost. They will be reported here, and commented upon in due time.