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Regents to meet UI officials today

Danny Valentine

The Daily Iowan

December 1, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Daily Iowan, 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 Daily Iowan.]

At least four of the state Board of Regents will meet with UI deans and other officials today about the search for a new UI president, officials said on Thursday.

But the university leaders don't know what they're meeting about - and that makes them nervous.

"I'm kind of pissed off," UI Student Government President Peter McElligott said. "This does not seem to be what we agreed on."

The move didn't seem to be in the spirit of the Nov. 27 discussions with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, he said. That day, the governor met with UI faculty, staff, students, and at least one regent to moderate discussions between the two groups.

The meeting eased many faculty concerns that arose after a 6-2 regent vote on Nov. 17 to reject the four finalists forwarded by the committee and disband the UI presidential-search committee.

Regent President Michael Gartner, as well as Regents Amir Arbisser, Ruth Harkin, and Robert Downer, will attend the meeting. Also present will be a select number of UI deans and interim President Gary Fethke.

UI Faculty Senate President Sheldon Kurtz said he heard about the meeting in an anonymous e-mail.

Arbisser said the meeting was nothing unusual - rather a continuation of the regents' attempts to collect information about the presidential search.

This meeting will take place a few days before another regents' meeting - tentatively scheduled for sometime early next week - about the presidential search. Arbisser said that gathering will mark the first opportunity all board members have had to talk together since their Nov. 17 vote.

Next week's regents' meeting will at least initially be open to the public, Downer said. All meetings with five or more regents - a quorum - must be made public, but Arbisser said the meeting will likely go into executive session for discussion about the presidential search.

Arbisser, who proposed the measure to disband the search committee and reject the four candidates, said Thursday that the regents are "open to all possibilities" in the search for a president.

"Everything is on the table for discussion," he said.

Downer said he has seen some regents' positions change with regard to reconsidering the vote - although he could not say how many.