Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Iowa Rain Forest ("Earthpark") Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Blog, FromDC2Iowa

Our Quick Take on Last Week's News Stories: Regents

Iowa City Press-Citizen

December 24, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, 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 Iowa City Press-Citizen.]

In a short telephonic meeting Monday, the Iowa state Board of Regents announced that College of Dentistry Dean David Johnsen -- the longest serving dean at the University of Iowa -- will lead a new, smaller committee to look for a new UI president. Although participants on warring sides of this year's $200,000-plus failed search process praised Johnsen's qualifications, the manner in which Johnsen was chosen gave little hope that the search process would be more open than in the past. Most of the conversations concerning the search leadership took place over e-mail exchanges in the days before the meeting. Although experts say that such e-mail conversations do not break the letter of Iowa's Open Meeting Laws, they do break the spirit. If the Board of Regents wants to improve its reputation for secrecy and distrust -- the Press-Citizen, for example, filed suit against the regents Thursday challenging the legality of the board's week-long rolling meeting -- it needs to have its discussions out in the open as much as possible.