I thought they would be a useful resource for those looking for a single source to follow the saga, as well as for those in future years wishing to do serious research, or merely inform themselves, about this important slice of UI's history. Response from readers indicates it has at least provided the former function.
Now as they say, "as a concession to the shortness of life," and a desire to get back to other writing, I am going to reclaim those daily hours of research for other tasks. As major UI stories worthy of individual blog essays come along they will, of course be blogged about from time to time. But for thorough research beyond February 29, 2016, I'm referring readers to the alternative of inserting well-crafted search terms in Google. -- N.J., February 29, 2016
February 1-29, 2016
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 administration, 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<--, and for January 2016 -->HERE<--.
This blog post, "UI President Harreld - Feb. 2016," is where the continuation of coverage will be found for the month of February, 2016.
-- Nicholas Johnson, February 1, 2016
February 1-3, 2016
February 4-6, 2016
February 7-9, 2016
February 10-12, 2016
February 13-15, 2016
February 16-18, 2016
February 19-21, 2016
February 22-24, 2016
Nicholas Johnson, "Commentary on President Harreld's First 'Town Hall' Meeting," Feb. 24, 2016
February 25-27, 2016
February 28-29, 2016
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Denies Request to Release Polling Data," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), January 29, 2016, 3:49 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Denies Request to Release Polling Data; Response Comes Nearly a Month After Concerns Are Raised Over Contract Without Competitive Bids," Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 30, 2016, p. A3 ("'The University of Iowa declines your request and restates that the report is of the type which shall be confidential as required by section 22.7(6),' Carroll Reasoner, UI's vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, wrote in a letter dated Friday [Jan. 29] and provided to the Press-Citizen. The response comes nearly one month after FOI Council Executive Director Randy Evans sent a letter raising concerns about UI's refusal to release documents related to polling data done for the university by a company owned by former Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn. Evans wrote the letter 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 under a section of Iowa’s open records law that allows for confidentiality for 'reports to governmental agencies which, if released, would give advantage to competitors and serve no public purpose.'")
The absence of additional 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.
Clearly today's [Feb. 5] top story is Ryan Foley's Des Moines Register revelations regarding the leaked results of the infamous Chris Perkins' polls and focus groups perceptions of the University of Iowa. "Pollster Warned University of Iowa of 'Party School Image,'" Associated Press/Des Moines Register (online), February 4, 2016, 4:35 p.m.; hard copy: Ryan Foley, "Republican Pollster Warned UI of 'Party School Image,'" Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 5, 2016, p. A1
This is yet one more phase of what has been a duplicitous disaster from start to finish that now rests with a flashing red light in the center of President Bruce Harreld's desk.
1. The roughly $25,000 contract was set at $24,900, thereby avoiding the competitive bidding required for contracts of $25,000 or more. As Ryan Foley reported at the time, "The University of Iowa has quietly awarded several no-bid contracts totaling $321,900 to a prominent GOP consultant . . .. [It looks] like a sweetheart deal among Republican insiders and a potential waste of money. The university sidestepped a policy that normally requires competitive bidding [on contracts of $25,000 or more; this contract was for $24,900] to ensure services are obtained at the lowest cost . . .. [S]ome of the money has gone for statewide opinion polling that the university is refusing to make public, saying doing so would 'serve no public purpose.'" See "UI President Harreld - Dec. 2015," Section December 7-9, 2015.
2. It was a part of the Republican insiders self-dealing that has surfaced in a number of other contexts. See the nine headings required to lay out the range of problems in "Trouble in River City: Corruption Creep," December 13, 2015.
3. UI administrators stonewalled the release of the results (in violation of Iowa law according to one expert), thereby creating increased ill will and suspicion among Iowa media and public -- a fundamental violation of basic crisis management principles. For a little guidance, see "Crisis Communications 101," February 14, 2011.
4. And today, with Ryan Foley's revelations, we discover that the results of the Perkins' survey are consistent with the common sense intuition of many critics of the University and City of Iowa City's tolerance of students' binge drinking; how the balance has been struck between students' welfare and increased tuition revenues, it turns out, is not only harmful to students' health and academic achievement, it is also so harmful to the University's reputation that it also poses an impediment to the increased enrollment it is designed to encourage. (In the past the UI Administration actually approved a ludicrous rationale for its joint contracts with alcohol manufacturers. See, e.g., "What is this about? The UI is going to do its damnedest to accelerate the consumption of alcohol by our students, and in the process Anheuser-Busch's profits. After all, that's why for-profit corporations advertise, especially with emotionally compelling logos for children, such as Joe Camel (to encourage smoking) or Herky (to encourage drinking). And the school is doing this to accomplish what? To raise money for its 'alcohol harm reduction plan'?" "A Busch in the Hand is Worth . . .," June 16, 2012.)
Here are some excerpts from Foley's report related to the last point:
A Republican pollster warned the University of Iowa a year ago that its public standing was suffering from an image as a heavy-drinking school where sexual assault was too common, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press that school officials have withheld from the public.One of the purposes of this repository of links to news and opinion pieces that collectively record the history of UI President Harreld's administration is to suggest to him, his supporters, and his critics, issues he might want to be thinking about. He can't be expected to have arrived in Jessup Hall with his mind fully informed and irrevocably made up regarding all of them. Nor would it be desirable if he had. A part of his challenge, as he himself has freely acknowledged, is building that base of knowledge and understanding.
Washington-based pollster Chris Perkins told university leaders that those perceptions meant the school was no longer considered safe by some parents and students, and had lost some credibility "as a serious academic institution." Perkins, who received the polling work under a controversial university no-bid contract with a GOP insider, recommended specific messages for a communications strategy to combat the image.
"Iowans believe that cleaning up the party school image at the University of Iowa will result in attracting more students, gaining more research grants and overall improving the education system," Perkins wrote in the 52-page report, which was prepared for university leaders following a statewide poll of 1,000 residents in December 2014.
Earlier that year, protests erupted when the university's then-president, Sally Mason, said sexual assault could never be completely eliminated because of "human nature." The issue had become an increasing public concern in 2013, when the school started releasing public warnings about reported rapes involving acquaintances. The Princeton Review also named the university the nation's no. 1 party school in 2013.
The university won't release documents detailing polls and focus groups conducted by Perkin's firm, Wilson Perkins Allen. The AP obtained the undated report from a university employee who requested anonymity because the school didn't authorize its disclosure.
The school has said that releasing the information would help rival schools and "serve no public purpose." But the secrecy has been pilloried by open government advocates, including Iowa Freedom of Information Council executive director Randy Evans, who suggested this week that the school was illegally trying to hide embarrassing information.
But "leadership" of any organization requires an answer to the question, "is there a 'there' there?" That is, does the leader have a moral compass, a pole star, by which he guides his inquiries, opinions, beliefs -- and public statements. So far, we have very little evidence of this with regard to the dozens of issues that have been laid out in this blog over the course of the last five months. I have praised his assertions regarding his determination to create and maintain integrity in UI's athletic program. Hopefully, he intends to show leadership with regard to integrity throughout the University. We could now use a little of that leadership, a little application of the platform of principles upon which he stands, with regard to this public relations (and substantive) disaster.
The UI's continued stonewalling regarding the poll results it paid for, first laid out in "UI President Harreld - Feb. 2016," February 4-6, 2016, will probably remain a hot issue until the University ultimately complies with the law. Ryan Foley, "Pollster Warned University of Iowa of 'Party School Image,'" Associated Press/Des Moines Register (online), February 4, 2016, 4:35 p.m.; hard copy: Ryan Foley, "Republican Pollster Warned UI of 'Party School Image,'" Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 5, 2016, p. A1 ("In his report, Perkins recommended that the university emphasize messages about 'working to crack down on underage drinking and drug problems' and 'prosecuting sexual assault and harassment criminals.' He said the party school image could hurt student recruitment, and warned that perceived high debt loads for graduates and financial aid shortages were other concerns.")
The Gazette has now editorialized on the subject. Editorial, "University of Iowa Should Release Matt Strawn Polling Documents," The Gazette (online), February 6, 2016, 6:00 a.m.; hard copy: Editorial, "University Should Release Strawn Polling Documents," The Gazette, February 6, 2016, p. A5 ("Sadly, the University of Iowa again is circling its wagons in the face of a call for transparency. This time, the university is refusing to release documents pertaining to opinion polls and focus groups conducted in 2013 and 2015 by a firm owned by former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. More than $320,000 worth of contracts were awarded to Strawn’s firm without competitive bidding, a process overseen by UI Vice President for External Relations Peter Matthes. Matthes worked for Republicans in the Iowa Senate while Strawn chaired the party. . . . 'The statute does not require that the report be released just because some member of the public might want to know what was in it,' Carroll J. Reasoner, [UI] vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, wrote in a response. . . . [Iowa Freedom of Information Council's Randy]Evans argues the statute was intended to shield reports from private entities regulated by government, such as business financial data, not reports paid for with public funds. We agree, and find Reasoner’s curt response to be sorely lacking.")
UIHC: The Sick Should Avoid Hospitals. Deaths from iatrogenic disease (conditions caused by hospitals and doctors) are now the nation's third leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer). There is no reason to think the UI's hospital would be an exception. Marshall Allen, "How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? National Public Radio/Pro Publica, September 24, 2013. It's yet one more issue for the president of a university with a research hospital to think about. Note the "crisis communications" difference between how President Harreld's office stoewalled while the UIHC went public (albeit, no doubt, motivated in part by a desire to minimize liability). Here's a current example at Iowa.
Josh O'Leary, "UIHC Warns 1,700 Surgery Patients of Infection Risk," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 5, 2016, 12:08 p.m.; hard copy: Josh O'Leary, "UIHC Warns 1,700 of Infection Risk; Patient Infected by a Device Used in Some Heart, Lung and Liver Surgeries," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 6, 2016, p. A3 ("The infection, which is treatable but can be fatal, has symptoms that include a fever lasting more than one week, pain, redness, heat, pus around a surgical incision, night sweats, joint pain, muscle pain, loss of energy and failure in infants to gain weight or grow.")
Vanessa Miller, "University of Iowa Warns Patients of Potentially Deadly Infection; One Patient Diagnosed with Surgery-Related Illness," The Gazette (online), February 5, 2016, 2:30 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Health Care: UI Alerts Patients to Unlikely but Dangerous Infection; Notices Come as U.S. Officials Warn of Devices Used in Major Operations," The Gazette, February 5, 2016, p. A1 ("The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October issued a warning . . .. [The UIHC] on Monday [Feb. 1] began sending letters to about 1,500 of its patients potentially subjected to the heater-cooler-related infections in the last four years . . ..")
Holly Hines, "Elusive Goat Captured by UI Police," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 9, 2016, 12:46 p.m. ("The goat escaped from his carrier at the Research Park Jan. 29 while officials were transferring him to a vehicle. The dispatcher said he could not answer any other questions about the goat's capture. . . . [T]he People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals last week argued that the university violated the Animal Welfare Act, saying in a letter to university officials that the goat spent days 'exposed to Coralville’s freezing temperatures, alone, frightened and confused, and very likely hungry and thirsty.' [The] group called for the university to relocate the goat to an accredited sanctuary.")
UI's Continued Stonewalling. See above, February 7-9, first item. Today [Feb. 10] the UI's award-winning student paper editorially joins The Gazette and others in condemning the University's refusal to reveal the polling results it paid for. Editorial, "Release Information on UI 'Party School' Report," LThe Daily Iowan (online), February 10, 2016; hard copy: Editorial, "Release Info on UI Report," The Daily Iowan, February 10, 2016, p. A4 ("Chris Perkins, who conducted social research for the University of Iowa, 'warned the university … a year ago that its public standing was suffering from an image as a heavy-drinking school in which sexual assault was too common . . .. [C]ollege campuses have been considered by some to be the notorious prowling ground of sexual predators . . .. The problem persists on the UI campus. On Monday [Feb. 8], two potential sexual assaults were anonymously reported. . . . But given the nature of Perkins’ formal warning to the university, and the university’s reputation as a top 'party school,' a university setting in which rape culture tends to thrive, UI officials could do more. Though, it seems the administration does not want to, as it may hurt admissions in the coming years. . . . [I]t it is lost to the Daily Iowan Editorial Board exactly how releasing information that could potentially be used to combat a problematic culture perpetuating a history of predation and manipulation serves 'no public purpose.'”)
How to Get Harreld's Goat. See above, February 7-9, third item. As further evidence that public concern regarding the treatment of animals is mainstream politics and journalism these days -- and therefore something research universities have to take into account with regard to their animal research -- The Gazette prominently displayed at the top of its editorial page today [Feb. 10] a column regarding another aspect of the issue (that thankfully, so far as we know, does not involve UI): "puppy mills." Ali Iserman, "Change Animal Welfare Law in Iowa," The Gazette (online), February 10, 2016, 9:52 a.m.; hard copy: Ali Iserman, "Change the Law to Protect Animals in Iowa," The Gazette, February 10, 2016, p. A6 ("Puppy mills are inhumane breeding facilities that produce puppies in large numbers. They are designed to maximize profits and commonly disregard the physical, social and emotional health of the dogs. The breeding dogs at puppy mills often live their entire lives in cramped, filthy cages. They are forced to breed repeatedly, producing litters of puppies that often have physical problems because of the poor conditions. These dogs rarely get the medical attention they need and often are killed once they stop producing puppies.")
More corporate types stumbling as higher ed leaders. Reported here earlier in UI President Harreld - Jan. 2016," January 1-31, 2016, January 25-27, 2016, "Free Speech on Campus" -- " [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.'” 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.
Now the Mount's faculty and students -- and their supporters from around the country -- are in rebellion mode for arbitrary firings of faculty without notice, due process, or cause, at Mount St. Mary's University of Maryland. The asserted grounds? A kind of Mafia-like "disloyalty."
The Mount's president, Simon Newman, "earned a master of business administration degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, in Palo Alto, California.Mr. Newman has almost 30 years of experience working as an executive with a strong background in private equity, strategy consulting, and operations. He is the former managing director of the private equity fund JP Capital Partners, as well as president and CEO of Cornerstone Management Group, founded in 1997. During his career he has started or co-founded four different businesses, completed more than $33 billion in transactions, and raised more than $3 billion in equity funding for ventures and bids he originated. He has led several business turnarounds and delivered more than $200 million in profit improvements. He started his career in consulting working with Bain & Co and LEK Consulting where he managed the media and entertainment practice working with clients such as Warner Bros., Disney, and Universal Studios. He has also worked at Canal + International, Liberty Media and the investment bank, Wasserstein & Perella." "President Simon Newman."
For a collection of the current ugly details see, Sarah Brown and Katherine Mangan, "Academic Freedom: Fallout at Mount St. Mary's Spreads as Scholars Protest Firings," The Chronicle of Higher Education (online), February 10, 2016.
Here's how the Iowa Board of Regents define "transparency," "public relations," and "shared governance." Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Set 2016 Schedule for Public Hearings," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 12, 2016, 5:32 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Set 2016 Schedule for Public Hearings; Most Video Comments Go Unacknowledged," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 15, 2016, p. A1 ("The Iowa Board of Regents has released the 2016 schedule for the public hearings to be held before each of its regular board meetings. Yet most the record-breaking number of people who offered video comment during November's public hearing at the University of Iowa say they have yet to hear anything back from the regents, even an acknowledgement that their comments were viewed.")
Issues: Is UI's program of proactive prevention of gun and related violence adequate, well-considered and balanced? Should the community have been informed earlier? Was the student accorded due process? Stephen Gruber-Miller, "UI Investigated Threat Referencing Gang Lu," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 11, 2016, 6:13 p.m.; hard copy: Stephen Gruber-Miller, "UI Investigated Threat Referencing Gang Lu," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 12, 2016, p. A1 ("University [of Iowa] spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said via email that UI's Threat Assessment Team . . . determined that there was no imminent risk . . .. [I]t seemed to concern comments . . . on the Chinese social media site Weibo . . . : 'I have been studying so hard this semester. If I fail the courses, I will lete (sic) the professors experience the fear of "lugang."' Lu was a UI physics and astronomy graduate student who killed five and paralyzed one in a 1991 campus shooting.")
And see, "Hangzhou student expelled from University of Iowa after joking about shooting his professors on Weibo," Shanghaiist.com, February 15, 2016 ("The university's response to Ni was undertaken without notifying the campus at large, a fact that [Mason] Clarke protested: 'I definitely think the university should put out a notification of this when it happens. I think that these things should not go under the radar, and people should be made aware.' . . . In January, a 19-year-old Chinese exchange student in Arizona was gunned down inside her car at an intersection after a minor fender-bender. Following the incident, numerous Chinese students in the US said they were thinking about buying a gun to protect themselves.")
UI President Harreld's pledge to insure the integrity of the athletics program has not yet been evidenced in any comments regarding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's assertion that the football team "endorsed" Trump (as the quarterback and 11 players stood by his side and presented him with a Hawkeye shirt), or the latest embarrassment: Ryan Foley, "Feds Open Broad Bias Probe Into UI Athletics," Associated Press/Des Moines Register (online), February 12, 2016, 7:04 p.m.; hard copy: Ryan Foley, "Hawkeye Athletes in Fed's Crosshairs; Gender Bias Alleged in 13 Areas; School Providing Info," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 13, 2016, p. A1 ("The University of Iowa is facing a wide-ranging federal civil rights investigation into allegations that its athletics department does not provide equal opportunities for female athletes . . .. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education is looking into gender bias allegations in 13 areas, including how the department counts participation levels, awards scholarships, schedules practices and games, and delivers services such as tutoring, medical attention, housing and dining. A team of investigators will visit the Iowa City campus in April . . ..")
The Washington Post makes this a national story: "Education/APNewsBreak: Feds Open Broad Bias Probe Into Iowa Athletics," Washington Post (online)/Associated Press, February 12, 2016.
Announced Wednesday, effective Monday?! Whoa!
The University of Iowa is combining its vice presidency for medical affairs and the dean of its medical school into a single position, which will be held by Jean Robillard, the former interim university president.Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Shuffles Health Care Leadership; Robillard Now Med School Dean," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 10, 2016, 3:45 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI to Combine Medical VP, Dean Positions Into a Single Post," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 11, 2016, p. A1.
The new leadership structure will be effective Monday [Feb. 15], university officials announced Wednesday [Feb. 10] . . . .
Robillard said the reorganization has been approved by UI President Bruce Harreld.
Changes this high in the administrative level at one of Iowa's public universities typically require approval from the Iowa Board of Regents, the nine-member board that oversees UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The board is next scheduled to meet Feb. 24-25 in Ames.
Regent officials confirmed Wednesday that the changes will be on the docket for the next meeting and said the board will give retroactive approval.
Issues: effectiveness of UI's anti-binge-drinking efforts; students violating law; athletic program's response to athletes' law violations: Stephen Gruber-Miller, "Reserve Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back . . . charged with OWI," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 15, 2016, 1:47 p.m.; hard copy: Stephen Gruber-Miller, "Hawkeye Defensive Back Charged with OWI," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 16, 2016, p. A7 (the UI's entering into a joint marketing agreement with Budweiser is but one illustration of the history of the UI's ambivalence on these issues: For background and commentry on the Anheuser-Busch deal, UI's alcohol programs, and numerous ignored proposals for improvement, see, among many more, e.g.: "UI Administrators 'Shocked' By School's Beer Ads," August 30, 2012; "'We're # 2!' . . . in Campus Drunks," August 21, 2012; "A Busch in the Hand is Worth . . .," June 16, 2012.
"Football Trash Talk; Iowa City: Where Great Minds Drink Alike," September 12, 2012. And see generally, "Football; FromDC2Iowa: Football-Related Blog Essays," April 30, 2015, and its section on Alcohol.
The name of the athlete has not been included in this blog because I see no reason to add to the athlete's searchable online record with a blog mention.)
For the record, Iowa's liquor control laws are in chapter 123 of the Iowa Code. "Legal age" is set at 21. Sec. 123.3 (19). Sec. 123.47 (1) forbids providing alcohol to anyone under 21. And Sec. 123.47 (2) forbids those under age to possess alcoholic beverages. The football player is 19 years old. Thus, it is highly likely that someone in addition to him also violated Iowa law. Does anybody care? Probably not.)
Faculty resignations: "The primary reasons cited by resigning faculty members at Iowa State were 'dissatisfaction with the departmental environment, lack of perceived advancement opportunities, and lack of perceived partner accommodation opportunities,' according to regent documents." So, is the UI really that much more an accommodating and pleasant higher ed environment, or are UI's profs just less candid? Vanessa Miller, "University of Iowa Resignations Surge 36 Percent; 90 Resignations Mark Most Among Iowa Universities Since at Least 2006," The Gazette (online), February 16, 2016, 7:05 p.m. ("The University of Iowa last year saw 90 faculty members resign, marking a 36 percent increase and qualifying as the most in one year at any of Iowa’s public universities since at least 2006. . . . That means the 185 UI employees who took advantage of an Early Retirement Incentive Program offered last year in hopes of cutting costs and improving efficiency came in addition to the 90 employees who resigned.")
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Sees Jump in Faculty Resignations," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 16, 2016, 1:31 p.m. ("'It is a jump from the last several years,' said Kevin Kregel, UI's associate provost for faculty. 'We are evaluating where the specific increases are coming from.' . . . Kregel also pointed out that the majority of last year’s resignations — 65 of the 90 — come from UI's Carver College of Medicine. . . . UI also has the highest number of resignations from minority faculty members among regents universities, with 25.”)
Issue: Ever-escalating pricing for college education; does rationale for free K-12 education apply to community colleges and research universities? If not, why not? If compromise, what is the proper division between benefit to society (share paid by the state) and benefit to the graduate (share paid by student)? Vanessa Miller, "Iowa's Regent Universities Look to Increase Room and Board Rates; University of Iowa Rates to Increase 2.9 Percent," The Gazette (online), February 16, 2016, 6:45 p.m.
Campus security, football and rape; this story is back in the news two months later. Danielle Paquette, "The Disturbing Truth About College Football and Rape," The Washington Post (online), December 29, 2015 ("[Texas A&M University economics professor Jason] Lindo . . . and his colleagues analyzed 22 years of FBI data to compare reports of rape to the law enforcement agencies serving students at Division 1 schools on game days to reports on non-game days, controlling for differences expected across different days of the week and times of the year. They found a strong link between football match-ups and an increase in college women, ages 17 to 24, reporting rape. Such reports increased on the days of home games by 41 percent, according to a new study, published Monday [Dec. 28, 2015]. They spiked 15 percent during away games. And after underdog teams unexpectedly beat higher-ranked opponents on campus, reported rapes on average surged a whopping 57 percent.")
Campus security and the open door policy. Vanessa Miller, "University of Iowa Asks for Student Help in Dorm Security; 'If You Don't Know the Person Behind You, Don't Open It,'" The Gazette (online), February 17, 2016, 5:44 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Dorm Intrusion Serves as Cautionary Tale; University of Iowa Students Becoming More Wary of Letting Others In and Leaving Rooms Unlocked," The Gazette, February 18, 2016, p. A1 ("UI officials on Wednesday said they hope students will learn something from the intrusion, which involved a 23-year-old non-student who police said stole a key to a Burge Hall restroom and videotaped a female student showering inside.")
Harreld rewards AD Barta with more than doubled wage notwithstanding lawsuits and federal investigation of athletic program's alleged Title IX violations -- from $400,000 starvation wage to $550,000 + $250,000 + $100,000 more in 2018, more than doubling his salary to $900,000 a year!! Marc Morehouse, "Iowa, Barta Agree to Extension; Despite Ongoing Courtroom Battles, Harreld Backs Hawkeyes Athletics Director," The Gazette (online), February 17, 2016, 6:14 p.m.; hard copy: Marc Morehouse, "University of Iowa: Iowa, Barta Agree to Extension; Despite Ongoing Courtroom Battles, Harreld Backs AD," The Gazette, February 18, 2016, p. B1 ("According to UI documents, Barta and UI President Bruce Harreld agreed to a five-year contract extension effective Jan. 1, 2016. Barta’s base salary will increase from $400,000 to $550,000 in July. The deal also guarantees $250,000 in annual deferred compensation. Both amounts increase by $50,000 in 2018. . . . [T]he news of a contract extension is up for your interpretation. There have been a lot of great accomplishments and a lot of lawyering up with Iowa athletics in the last year. 'Director Barta is a longtime member of the University of Iowa family and extending his contract was the right thing to do,' Harreld said in a statement Wednesday. 'He and the entire athletics department are committed to the success of our student-athletes both on the field of play and in the classroom.'” And with their OWI violations, he might have added; see Feb. 13-15, first item, above.) [Football and rape study, two items up.]
If it weren't so sad, outrageous, and infuriating, it would be hilarious. "Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Another Record Number at Regents Hearings; Commenters raise concerns about next week's town hall meeting with UI President Bruce Harreld," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 18, 2016, 5:14 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Hearing at UI Draws Record Number; Nearly All Express Frustration About Hearing System," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 19, 2016, p. A3 ("Nearly all of the 10 commenters expressed frustration about the regents' three-year-old hearing system in which members of the public are asked to gather at one of six sites around the state to offer up to five minutes worth of recorded commentary. 'This entire set up of so-called "public hearings," which are really one-way videotapes with no obligation on your ends to engage with our contributions, speaks volumes about'" the regents' disregard of Iowa's strong reputation for higher education, said Matthew Brown, an associate professor of English at UI.")
Vanessa Miller, "Speakers at University of Iowa Hearing Criticize 'Troubling' Regent Communication Process; 'Step Up or, in Fact, Step Down,'" The Gazette (online), February 18, 2016, 7:36 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Regents: UI Speakers Sound Off on Format for Public Hearings; Process of Submitting Recorded Comments to Regents Criticized," The Gazette, February 19, 2016, p. A2 ("Most of the 10 people who spoke Thursday during a Board of Regents public hearing at the University of Iowa did not address issues on the board’s meeting agenda for next week but instead criticized the board for its management 'failures' and the impersonal public hearing process it uses. 'It’s troubling that this is the extent of the dialogue that I get, is speaking into a webcam,' said UI graduate student and teaching assistant Hodna Nuernberg. 'I really would call on you the regents to step up or, in fact, step down and resign. Because I don’t think that this is a legitimate process.' . . . No one verifies board members watch the videos.")
David Pitt, "Iowa State Leaders Appeal Free Speech-Marijuana Logo Case," Associated Press/Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 18, 2016, 6:36 p.m.; hard copy: David Pitt, "ISU Appeals Free Speech-Marijuana Logo Case," Associated Press/Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 19, 2016, p. A6 ("Iowa State University administrators are appealing a federal judge's ruling that they violated the free speech rights of student members of a pro-marijuana group by barring them from using the university logos on T-shirts.")
Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: ISU Appeals to Keep Logo Off Marijuana Shirts; Administrators Hopeful that Ruling in Student Group's Favor Will be Reversed," The Gazette, February 20, 2016, p. A3
Shelton Stromquist, "Past Presidents Can Teach Us Lessons," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 16, 2016, 5:51 p.m.; hard copy: Shelton Stromquist, "Past Presidents Can Teach Us Lessons," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 17, 2016, p. A9 ("University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and alumni, and for that matter the citizens of Iowa generally, have been treated in recent months to vague and insubstantial comments by newly-appointed president Bruce Harreld and the Board of Regents about what the future might hold for the University of Iowa. . . . We need to be mindful of what lies at the core of what institutions like the University of Iowa have been and should be in the future, as [UI President James O.] Freedman reminded us, and not be distracted by a transitory siren song for change or the imperatives of marketplace values whose fashions and frills will come and go. And we must challenge the corporate-speak that masks an agenda for undoing a tradition of creative inquiry that universities must uphold, as President Freedman so well understood and so powerfully articulated.")
Erin Jordan provides a useful review and update on the U.S. Office of Civil Rights investigation of the UI's athletic programs and related matters in this morning's online Gazette: Erin Jordan, "Newstrack: Investigation of Gender Equity in University of Iowa Athletics Expands; Office of Civil Rights Site Visit Set for April," The Gazette (online), February 22, 2016, 7:00 a.m.
Vanessa Miller, "Report: Iowa Universities See Gains in Diverse Employment, But Still Have Work To Do; Regent Schools Still Lag Behind Peer Universities in Diversity Employment," The Gazette (online), February 22, 2016, 6:04 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Universities Gain in Job Diversity," The Gazette, February 23, 2016, p. A2 ("However, despite the three schools seeing improvement over the past decade, the universities lagged behind universities in their peer groups in nearly every category. When comparing full-time faculty for fall 2014, for example, UI reported 32.2 percent female and 18.5 percent minority compared with a peer group average of 33.4 percent female and 21.5 percent minority, according to the report.")
Savannah Guyer, "Community Gears Up for Harreld Town Hall," The Daily Iowan, February 23, 2016; hard copy: Savannah Guyer, "UI Gears Up for Harreld; University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld Will Hold His First Town Hall Today," The Daily Iowan, February 23, 2016, p. A1 ("Ruth Bryant, a spokeswoman for the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students [COGS], said what they believe will happen and what they hope will happen at the meeting are two different things. 'We’re hoping that we get to ask Bruce Harreld questions and that he responds to them openly and honestly . . . . What we believe will happen — because of the last-minute change to a town hall meeting— we think that he’ll try to filibuster the whole time or pass off questions to his colleagues in administration so he doesn’t have to be accountable.' . . . Richard Roberts, a retired UI adjunct associate psychology professor and practicing clinical neuropsychologist [said] 'Having a meeting from 4 to 6 on a Tuesday isn’t the most considerate idea. . . . It’s scheduled during a time when most people are rushing to get home and get their kids to daycare, and it’s in a remote location where there’s not a lot of family-friendly parking. . . . This is war, and it should be fought to be won.'")
KayLynn Harris, "Regents Leave Community Cold," The Daily Iowan (online), February 19, 2016; hard copy: KayLynn Harris, "Many Unhappy at Hearing," The Daily Iowan, February 19, 2016, p. A1 ("UI graduate student Hodna Nuernberg said . . . 'that was a transparency hearing, and they weren’t even there. . . . I know I’m just a graduate student, but I am a member of the UI community. I think that some acknowledgement and engagement is deserved.'”)
So today [Feb. 23] we'll find out how much "acknowledgement and engagement" is deserved (and received) at President Harreld's "campus town hall." Vanessa Miller, "Regents to Conduct Midyear Evaluations, Including of New UI President Harreld; New University of Iowa President To Be Reviewed Four Months Into Job," The Gazette (online), February 22, 2016, 5:57 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regents to Conduct Midyear Evaluations; UI Leader to be Reviewed Four Months Into Job," The Gazette, February 23, 2016, p. A2 ("The [President Harreld's] Tuesday [Feb. 23] afternoon town hall has been billed as an opportunity for the UI community to hear from university leaders, ask questions, and share ideas for improvement. Harreld’s critics have been calling for a public forum for months, and some have expressed concern that now Provost Barry Butler, Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz, and Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin also will be involved. . . . 'We are troubled by the addition of several people to the roster, which seems to suggest less time for direct communication,' according to the group [Iowans Defending Our Universities], which went on to demand at least three-fourths of the two-hour forum be dedicated to 'direct dialogue between President Harreld and the UI community.'”)
Town Hall Details: 4:00-6:00 p.m., February 23, 2016, Pomerantz Center C20 (on East Market Street, one block west of Clinton Street). [Source: UI Office of Strategic Communication, "UI Leaders to Host Town Hall Meeting; UI Community Encouraged to Attend, Participate in Discussion," Iowa Now (online), February 15, 2016, 1:31 p.m.]
Lee Hermiston, "University of Iowa Police: Hightower Recorded at Least Two Other Women; Incidents Occurred in Dorm Room Bathrooms on Feb. 12 and 13," The Gazette (online), February 23, 2016, 1:55 p.m.; hard copy: Lee Hermiston, "Public Safety: 2 More Recorded in Dorm Showers; Police Say Iowa City Man Secretly Compiled 7 Video Clips of Women After Entering UI's Burge Residence Hall," The Gazette, February 24, 2016, p. A3
Stephen Gruber-Miller, "Man Charged With Recording More Women in UI Dorms," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 23, 2016, 5:16 p.m.; hard copy: Stephen Gruber-Miller, "Man Charged With Recording More Women; Incidents Took Place After Suspect Trespassed in UI's Burge Hall, Stole Bathroom Keys," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 24, 2016, p. A7
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Room, Board Hike Proposed at UI, ISU, UNI," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 23, 2016, 4:56 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Room and Board Increase Planned for UI, ISU, UNI; Costs for Popular Rooms, Meal Plans Expected to Rise in 2016-17," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 24, 2016, p. A10
Cindy Garcia, "Harreld Town Hall Turns Tense," The Daily Iowan (online), February 24, 2016; hard copy: Cindy Garcia, "Harreld's First Town Hall Turns Testy," The Daily Iowan, February 24, 2016, A1
"U of Iowa President Criticized, Interrupted at Forum," Inside Higher Ed (online), February 24, 2016
Vanessa Miller, "Outbursts, Interruptions Dominate First Bruce Harreld Forum; Hundreds Turned Out to Town Hall Meeting, Coming in the Wake of New President's Contentious Hiring Last Year," February 23, 2016, 8:23 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Outbursts at UI Forum; New Leader Seeks Engagement on Issues as Some Detractors Wave Signs and Curse," The Gazette, February 24, 2016, p. A1
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Harreld's Critics Take Center Stage During Town Hall," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 24, 2016, 6:13 a.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Harreld's Critics Steal Show; Protesters Converge on Town Hall Meeting, Demand Answers," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 24, 2016, p. A1
Nicholas Johnson, "Commentary on President Harreld's First 'Town Hall' Meeting," Feb. 24, 2016
[Note: If you're interested in a word-by-word account of the event, here is an audio record of Hour One (4:00-5:00 p.m.) and Hour Two (5:00-6:00 p.m.).]
Background. He has to know about the legitimate complaints regarding the process (or lack thereof) used by the Regents in his selection, and he himself has acknowledged how unprepared he is for the position. (Yesterday he added something to the effect of how difficult it was for him during that process to "get information" -- presumably information about the job.) He has to know about the low morale of the UI community -- indeed, he acknowledged it. He has to know that many more than just his most outspoken critics really wanted an opportunity to have an open, question-and-answer exchange with him. He has to have known that the six month wait for this opportunity created a pent-up energy from supporters (if any there be; see below) and critics alike -- resignation, despair, frustration, anxiety, anger.
Frustrating choice of time and place. These hopes were dashed from start to finish. The gathering was held in a relatively inaccessible location, on a relatively inconvenient day and time (a Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.) -- a time when many need to leave the campus for a variety of reasons, and in a facility it was said was required by a class at 6:00, so that even if there were persons wishing to continue the discussion, that would not be possible.
Failure to inform audience. There was no opening announcement of what was coming. Harreld just started in on what the Press-Citizen's Jeff Charis-Carlson correctly characterized as a "data dump" (of which more below) that dragged on for 37 minutes. Even students in our Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing are taught that it's important to let patients know what procedures they are about to undergo and why. Doing so yesterday afternoon was even more necessary.
Failure to respond to audience. When the hostility mounted to the point that the crowd began chanting, "Questions! Questions! Questions!" Harreld simply tried to talk over the noise. I would have thought a part of Strategic Communications 101 would have been to quit at that point, and take questions.
Additional speakers. It was bad enough for Harreld to consume the first 37 minutes. Worse still, rather than demonstrate the courage, confidence, and competence to appear alone for an informal Q & A exchange with colleagues, he brought along three vice presidents -- who then also had presentations to make. The net result was that the first hour, from 4:00 until 5:00, was taken up with monologues from the front of the room -- by which time those used to leaving for the day at 5:00 were inconvenienced. Were these presentations necessary (they were not), scheduling them from 5:00 until 6:00 would have communicated a desire to give more people a chance to participate, or at least be present for, the Q & A.
Wrong subjects. Beyond a few opening words (including a revelation of what was planned for the next two hours) I believe for this occasion there should have been no speeches as such from Harreld, and certainly not from vice presidents. As one member of the audience, economist John Solow, stated, "I didn't really come here to hear about what's going on with the undergraduate student housing crisis."
What would have been helpful, but what was not addressed, was what John Solow described (quoting President Bush the elder) as "the vision thing" -- with the exception of Harreld's asking the audience to provide him with a vision. Solow suggested Harreld seemed to be talking about which cuts to make. Harreld demurred, saying he was just talking about prioritizing ("I wasn’t talking about cutting; I was talking about prioritizing"), and "spreading the peanut butter" differently. Some will get more, others will get less -- "but that's not 'cutting.'" OK.
Wrong presentation; wrong PowerPoint slides. (a) This was not the occasion for a presentation of least-worst scenarios. (b) If it were, it should not have been done in the form of a "data dump." (c) If it was to be a data dump presentation, it should have been done with better PowerPoint slides. I can't believe a presentation like the one he used would pass muster in a corporate boardroom or the White House. Hareld's screen would fill with dozens of numbers too small to read, but communicating very little, and too fast, even if a larger font had been used. The occasional use of graphics was equally confusing -- occasionally to Harreld himself. (d) It might have been marginally more effective if he had acknowledged the skepticism among many in the academy regarding the U.S. News's ranking procedures; see, e.g., "Random Thoughts on Law School Rankings.", and the limits of marketing-relevant data as the exclusive means of measuring the quality of an educational institution.
Seemingly no planning for handling questions. No instructions were provided the audience on how questions were to be processed. Some wishing to ask questions stood along the walls near the front, some in the middle of the hall, some gathered in groups, some raised their hands. Persons with microphones wandered the room. And of course some just shouted out their questions. No big deal; questions got asked. But since there are usually announcements, and some order, regarding this process, it seemed odd that there was none on this occasion.
Critics, but no supporters. Harreld's critics were outspoken -- sometimes to the extent that the audience tried to quiet them. But the critics were expected; after all, we've been hearing from them since the Regents announced their selection. What I found noteworthy was not so much the substantial amount of criticism, but the total absence of any support for Harreld or his positions. No one stood up to say, "I think we should give you a chance," or "I for one really think you are on the right track." Nobody -- not even any of the three vice presidents. [Note: I am not saying that no one in the room might have felt that way, or that there have been no letters to the editor in some Iowa newspapers to that effect, only that no one present was willing to stand and speak on his behalf on this occasion.]
For more detail regarding the spirit and incidents during the two hours, I refer you to this mornings' newspaper reports, linked immediately above (the content of which, therefore, I did not need to repeat here beyond what I did).
Note: Commentary regarding UI President Harreld's first Town Meeting, February 23, 2016, is immediately above.
President Harreld tries a different approach, after discovering that preaching UI's doom and gloom at the Town Meeting proved to be kind of a bummer. Bruce Harreld, "Quality Education Rooted in Our Rich History," IowaNow (online), February 24, 2016, 1:07 p.m. ("We must build our future at the University of Iowa on our heritage of strengths. That is particularly true for our mission of teaching and learning . . .. The University of Iowa has a long tradition of excellence and innovation in the classroom.")
One of the many disparate functions of these lengthy blog collections of links and commentary regarding stories about higher education (here at the UI, and more generally around the United States and other countries) is to highlight for UI's President Bruce Harreld some of the issues he might want to be thinking about preemptively. These are issues about which he would personally gain from study and thought before he's called upon to take a public position or action. They are issues about which he really needs to know his own heart and mind, his own moral compass -- not just the talking points prepared for him by some "strategic communications" adviser. He needs to be able to think, and talk, about them with the confidence that preparation can provide. As you see, I am not suggesting what he should think, least of all that he should adopt my own values and positions.
This morning [Feb. 25] presents three more: awareness of the facts, opinions and politics surrounding the "animal rights" movements as they impact on universities' research; the necessity, economics, and propriety, of hiring two to get one faculty addition ("faculty partners"); and the economics, popularity, ethics, effectiveness and other impacts of "online" education.
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Universities Working to Find Jobs for Faculty Partners," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 24, 2016, 5:57 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Faculty Partners May Get Job Help; If Approved, UI Would Take Lead On Consortium Linking Schools to Hospitals, Labs, More," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 25, 2016, p. A3
Vanessa Miller, "Online Education on the Rise at Iowa's Public Universities," The Gazette (onllne), February 24, 2016, 5:40 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Online Learning Spikes at Iowa's Public Universities," The Gazette, February 25, 2016, p. A3
Vanessa Miller, "USDA Cites University of Iowa Over Escaped Goat; 'Improper Handling Practices' Led to Goat's Escape, Officials Say," The Gazette (online), February 24, 2016, 1:56 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Animal Study: USDA Cites UI in Great Goat Escape," The Gazette, February 25, 2016, p. A2
Here's an application of another issue discussed before in this blog: how can a university best respond to the consequences of ever-increasing numbers of guns in America along with a simultaneous relaxation on who can have them, when and where -- including campuses and classrooms. Justin Wm. Moyer, "New Kind of Trigger Warning at Texas University Struggling with Campus-Cary law: 'DO NOT Confront a Student,'" The Washington Post (online), February 25, 2016 ("It was the kind of rhetoric that seemed out of place at an institution of higher learning. 'Be careful discussing sensitive topics.' 'Drop certain topics from your curriculum.' 'DO NOT confront a student.' . . . [T]he eye-raising bullet points advised faculty not to 'make provocative statements' or 'cute signs' about the new campus carry law, and to 'only meet "that student" in controlled circumstances.' They advised faculty not to ask students about their “CHL” [concealed-handgun-licensing status] — and not to 'go there' if they 'sense anger.' The bottom line: 'It’s in your interest and the University’s interest to be very guarded and careful about this issue.'”)
What if we thought of individual universities (and other educational institutions) like the NFL thinks about individual teams: a cooperative colaborative enterprise in which everyone gains? (See, "NFL: Just Another Rigged TV Show," January 2, 2015) Here's one example: Vanessa Miller, "Iowa State, University of Northern Iowa Partner on Dual Degree Program; Students Could Get UNI Physics Degree, ISU Engineering Degree in Five Years," The Gazette (online), February 25, 2016, 6:25 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: ISU, UNI, Unite on Dual Degree Program; Students Can Get Engineering, Physics Degrees in 5 Years," The Gazette, February 26, 2016, p. A2
Here's another collaborative innovation. Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Opens Early-Entry Academy for High Schoolers," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 25, 2016, 12:59 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Opens Early-Entry Academy for High Schoolers," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 26, 2016, p. A1
Basic governance principles are sometimes hard to apply to a state research university, despite talk of "shared governance," what with a governor, legislature, board of regents, president and other administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, and public. Consider this example of disagreement between Iowa Regents and UI administrators regarding the Regents' role in major administration shifts. Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents Approve University of Iowa Health Care Changes; Board President Challenges UIHC to Reduce Duration of Medical Education," The Gazette (online), February 25, 2016, 1:12 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Regents OK Changes in Top Ranks at UI Health; Robillard to Head Health System, Medical College," The Gazette, February 26, 2016, p. A2
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Approve Administration, UIHC Changes," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 25, 2016, 11:56 a.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Approve Administration, UIHC Changes; Former Dean Moved to New Associated Vice President Post," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 26, 2016, p. A4
Regents concerned about rising students' cost of UI board and room -- but offer few significant suggestions. Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Express Concern Over Room, Board Increase," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 25, 2016, 1:49 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Regents Express Copnmcern Over Price Increase; Rastetter Calls on Universities to Work Together," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 26, 2016, p. A4
At Harreld's Town Meeting (see above) he seemed to agree with a questioner who complained about the Regents' system of requiring public comments be videotaped and then never responded to. Harreld noted he had not used that approach with his Town Meeting, and would raise it with the Regents. These stories include the Regents' response. Vanessa Miller, "Regents President Rastetter Criticizes Behavior at University of Iowa Town Hall for Harreld; Rastetter Praises Harreld's Efforts," The Gazette (online), February 25, 2016, 5:00 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regents President Praises Harreld, Criticizes Behavior at UI Town Hall," The Gazette, February 26, 2016, p. A7
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Rastetter: Iowa City Critics Should Be More 'Professional,'" Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 26, 2016, 11:11 a.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Rastetter: Video Comments Better; Regents President Maintains Recorded Comments Encourage Professionalism," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 26, 2016, p. A1
There is so much wrong with Regent McKibben's position it's hard to know where to begin. His position even goes beyond the usual business ideology of "socialism for the rich, and free private enterprise for the poor." The UI, with its history of anti-union practices, is proposing to be guided by marketplace forces. McKibben is saying, "No, I forbid you to pay the going market wage; you must pay less than what the market dictates." He says he wants to avoid raising costs for students. But I rather suspect many student-employees, if asked, would say they'd rather have a market-driven poverty wage, with increases in board and room fees, than a below-market wage and increases in board and room. If he's really so concerned about the relationship between rising price of college education, as it is related to rising on-campus wages, why has he said nothing about the unilaterally granted increase in the athletic director's wage from $400,000 a year to $900,000 a year. That half-million increase could have gone a long way toward covering the $700,000 increase resulting from paying students what is still well below a "living wage." I could go on, but this is already too long. Vanessa Miller, "Regent Raises Concern Over University of Iowa Minimum Wage Increases; 'I Am Certainly Going to Oppose That,' Regent Larry McKibben Says," The Gazette (online), February 26, 2016, 8:41 p.m.; hard copy: Vanessa Miller, "Higher Education: Regent Opposes UI Minimum Wage Bump; Competitive Pay Puts Pressure on Room-and-Board Rates," The Gazette, February 27, 2016, p. A1
The Gazette is editorializing that the protesters at President Harreld's "Town Meeting" missed an opportunity to discuss with him UI's financial challenges. I agree that the future discussions on these subjects that he is proposing are a desirable and necessary thing to do. I strongly disagree that this "Town Hall" was an appropriate occasion on which to do it. See generally, Nicholas Johnson, "Commentary on President Harreld's First 'Town Hall' Meeting," Feb. 24, 2016. Editorial, "University of Iowa Demonstrators Missed an Opportunity," The Gazette (online), February 27, 2016, 7:00 a.m.; hard copy: Editorial, "Critical Questions Lost in the Shouting," The Gazette, February 27, 2016, p. A5
There are dozens of issues and incidents involving African-Americans and higher education in general, and at the University of Iowa in particular. Some have already been identified and commented upon in the blog entries from September 2015 through February 2016 in this series focusing on President Harreld and related matters. This particular lengthy piece by Hardy and Charis-Carlson is one I hope will be read and discussed by the UI community in general and President Harreld in particular. It was, of course, a major issue raised at both of his major public presentations (the public forum preceding his selection, and the "town meeting" February 23) on which he would do well to think through applying his own values and then speak to the UI community. Kevin Hardy and Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Iowa's Universities Tackle Racism Complaints," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 28, 2016, 8:45 p.m.; hard copy: Kevin Hardy and Jeff Charis-Carlson, "Black Iowa Still Unequal? Iowa's Universities Tackle Racism Complaints," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 29, 2016, p. A1
Some 'Follow-Up' to Stories Reported Earlier
Jeff Charis-Carlson and Kevin Hardy, "UI Housing and Dining to Up Wage Above County Minimum," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), February 29, 2016, 5:29 p.m.; hard copy: Jeff Charis-Carlson and Kevin Hardy, "UI Housing and Dining to Up Wage; To Attract More Student Employees, Hourly Pay Will be Above County Minimum," Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 1, 2016, p. A1
Katherine Mangan and Nick DeSantis, "Simon Newman Resigns as President of Mount St. Mary's," The Chronicle of Higher Education (online), March 1, 2016 ("Months after he incited a bitter backlash by comparing struggling students to bunnies that needed to be drowned, Simon P. Newman resigned late Monday, effective immediately, as president of Mount St. Mary’s University, in Maryland.")
Room for Debate: College Presidents With Business Ties; Should University Presidents Have to Come From Academia?" The New York Times (online), March 1, 2016 (a discussion among five experts with diverse backgrounds and perspectives)
Jeff Charis-Carlson, "UI Faculty Group Criticizes UIHC Change, Barta's Contract," Iowa City Press-Citizen (online), March 3, 2016, 6:16 p.m.
"Anatomy of a Missed Opportunity for Bruce Harreld," Bleeding Heartland, March 4, 2016