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Regent resignation finally accepted

Tensions over UI presidential search led to departure

Diane Heldt

The Gazette
January 25, 2007

[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.]

  More than a month after announcing he would step down, state Regent Tom Bedell’s resignation finally became official Wednesday when Gov. Chet Culver accepted it. The governor likely will name Bedell’s replacement before announcing his picks for three other seats that open in spring on the ninemember board, Culver spokesman Brad Anderson said.

  ‘‘The governor is talking to people and int e r v i e w i n g folks to make sure this replacement happens soon so we can get someone in place and move forward,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘He considers this one of the most important appointments he’ll make.’’

  Bedell announced his resignation Dec. 14, when Tom Vilsack was still governor. But Bedell said he wanted the resignation to take effect after Culver took office so the new governor could make the appointment.

  The regents met via telephone Tuesday to complete a University of Iowa presidential search committee, and Bedell’s name was called during the roll. Bedell did not participate in that meeting but did take part in two other meetings held after he announced his resignation.

  Regents officials said Wednesday they included Bedell on Tuesday because they were waiting to hear from Culver’s office about his acceptance of the resignation.

  Bedell, a Spirit Lake businessman, resigned amid turmoil between the board and UI faculty, staff and student leaders over the presidential search. Bedell said he hoped his resignation would clear the way for Culver to set an education agenda and make a mark on the board through new appointments. The terms of three other regents — Amir Arbisser of Davenport, Mary Ellen Becker of Oskaloosa and Teresa Wahlert of Waukee — expire in spring. Culver said he will forward his selections to the Senate by March 15 for confirmation.