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UI 'no confidence' vote endorsed

State faculty group supports statement against regent leaders

Diane Heldt

The Gazette

December 21, 2006

[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.]

  IOWA CITY — An organization of Iowa college and university professors joined University of Iowa faculty in voicing no confidence in state regents leaders Wednesday.

  The Iowa Conference of the American Association of University Professors executive board issued the statement of support for the ‘‘no confidence’’ votes overwhelmingly passed by the UI Faculty Senate and the UI chapter of the AAUP last week.

  The executive board, with about 11 members, represents professors from Iowa colleges and universities with AAUP chapters, including the UI, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, Cornell College, Wartburg College and Luther College. About 1,200 Iowa professors are members of the professional organization.

  The executive board has monitored the UI presidential search and shared governance issues between the state Board of Regents and UI faculty, said UNI finance Professor A. Frank Thompson, president of the Iowa AAUP Conference.

  ‘‘All members of the AAUP feel very strongly about the principles and standards of shared governance,’’ he said. ‘‘We felt with the difficulties the UI faculty have been encountering, not just with respect to the presidential search but over an extended period of time, there was a need to address it.’’

  The group also requests that college and university governing boards in Iowa have one or more elected faculty as members.

  ‘‘The Board of Regents has already established, through the addition of a student, that there is a need for broader representation,’’ Thompson said. ‘‘Part of the issue might best be solved by having faculty at the table.’’

  UI faculty, staff and student groups passed ‘‘ no confidence’’ resolutions last week after a months-long, often tumultuous search for a successor to David Skorton ended without a hire. Skorton left the UI in June for the Cornell University presidency.

  The regents voted 6-2 on Nov. 17 to reject four recommended candidates and restart the process. Regents President Michael Gartner of Des Moines and Regents President Pro Tem Teresa Wahlert of Waukee have said they will not resign.

  The regents this week unanimously selected UI College of Dentistry Dean David Johnsen to lead a new search committee, which Gartner hopes will be named by early January.