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Information request for UI faculty crosses line
Jeff Murray

The Gazette

December 14, 2006

Randy Crawford, "Senior UI Faculty Are Ones to Set Standards of Behavior"

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

  The Dec. 9 article, ‘‘UI faculty skeptical of request,’’ describing the request mediated by the Regents to obtain information on professors Francois Abboud, Sheldon Kurtz and Katherine Tachau, provides evidence that the presidential search conflict has reached even more unacceptable, and now personal, levels. These professors not only have had distinguished university careers, but all three give enormous amounts of their personal time on nights, weekends and holidays to work for the benefit of the University of Iowa.

  It is particularly painful to me to see Abboud attacked.

  Much of the reason the University of Iowa is regarded as distinguished is based on the efforts and dedication of Abboud. He deserves much of the credit for making our College of Medicine, the Department of Internal Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Center major players on the world medical stage.

  Abboud has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for decades to foster the careers of students, faculty and staff. There is no one who is a more decent, kind and caring husband, father and physician or who has a more genuine love of Iowa. To suggest in even the smallest way, that he (or Kurtz or Tachau) might be overpaid or not working hard enough displays ignorance of their role in university and state life. We should honor these true servants of our state, not attempt to intimidate them or those to follow.

  The disingenuous suggestion that this request was routine is insulting and more evidence of how broken the presidential search process has become. It is time for a change.

  Jeff Murray Iowa City

Senior UI faculty are ones to set standards of behavior
Randy Crawford

The Gazette

December 14, 2006

   Anyone who has seen the inner workings of the University of Iowa, particularly at upper administrative levels of the College of Medicine, can all but laugh at the hypocrisy expressed by allegedly offended faculty as expressed in the Dec. 5 Gazette (‘‘Regents criticism increases"). The monkeys, it seems, aspire to run the zoo even more than they already do by claiming injury when they are on the receiving end of their own style of misconduct.

  ‘‘Dysfunctional . . . topdown management style . . .
  creates and feeds distrust at the University of Iowa . . .
  does not place importance on public board discussions and decisions . . .
  their modus operandi is to not have discussions . . .
  do not believe they’re operating the way the people of Iowa believe they need to be operating . . .
  question whether the discussion should be private . . .
  it’s a secretive atmosphere . . .
  we just don’t think it’s a good way to operate . . . ’’

  They’re all valid criticisms, of course, as sunshine and full exposure are good for any public institution operated with taxpayer’s dollars. Unfortunately, the same dysfunctional, top-down, untrustworthy and secretive tactics are used on a daily basis by some of the very faculty making these very critiques. Perhaps a solution to the problem can be found if the senior faculty could set a standard of openness and excellence in their own conduct for the Board of Regents or anyone else to follow. Until they do, the spectacle of the pot calling the kettle black merely makes apes out of all concerned and diminishes the status of Iowa’s universities.

  Similar antics induced Norman Borlaug to obtain his Ph.D. in Minnesota and win his Nobel Prize in Mexico.

  They also drove Theodore Schulz to abandon Iowa and win his Nobel Prize at the University of Chicago.

  Less faculty pettifoggery effort would free up money and manpower for fewer circuses and more achievements.

  Randy Crawford Coralville