Shelton Stromquist - Remarks - October 21, 2015

I’m here today because I love the University of Iowa and what it has represented. I have been a member of this university community for 33 years.

In my time here, the university has embodied the highest principles of a public university. We had our differences over the years, but all were eminently qualified and deeply committed to the idea of public universities.
A distinguished tradition of teaching and research.
A national reputation of the highest order.
Education that is affordable and accessible.
An exemplary record of service to Iowans.
A loyal body of alumni and retirees.
We have had a succession of great university presidents who have served this institution as highly respected scholars and administrators. During my time:
Sandy Boyd
Jim Freedman
Hunter Rawlings
Mary Sue Coleman
David Skorton
These past presidents went on to lead other first-rate institutions—Chicago’s Field Museum, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, University of Michigan, the Smithsonian Institution. We all benefitted from what the University of Iowa had come to represent through our work and under their leadership.

We and all Iowans should be shocked and outraged at what this Board of Regents under Bruce Rastetter’s direction have done to shatter this tradition and with it Iowa’s national and international reputation.
They have corrupted the search for a new president by secretly preselecting a candidate.
They have ignored the views of students, faculty and staff who in good faith participated in evaluating the candidates.
They have violated fundamental principles of transparency and openness—principles that Iowans hold dear.
And they have appointed an individual unqualified for the presidency by any reasonable measure of experience or honesty.
But beyond a corrupt search for a new president, Governor Branstad and his political appointees to the Board are pursuing an agenda for what they call “greatness” that is part and parcel of the attack on public education at all levels, including K-12—drastic cuts in public funding, increases in tuition and fees, a shift to online, distance education, attacks on unionized public sector workers, and ultimately privatization. They needed a man to carry forward this agenda at UI—and they handpicked Bruce Harreld, a businessman with a falsified resume who needed a job.

The reputation of the University of Iowa has been deeply undermined by the actions of this Board. They should be ashamed of what they have done. They should apologize to the people of Iowa and THEY SHOULD RESIGN NOW.

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