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Iowa City Senator says it's time for new Regents

O. Kay Henderson


December 12, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by RADIOIOWA, 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 RADIOIOWA.]

A state senator from Iowa City says it's time for a clean sweep of the Board of Regents -- the nine-member panel that governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, disagrees with Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack's decision to keep the board in place.

"The presidential search process has been a complete failure. I think at this time we need new players on the field to move forward with getting the best president possible," Bolkcom says. "This is doing damage to the university and to the State of Iowa to be in the position that we're in."

The University of Iowa's last president announced last February that he would be leaving. A search committee formed by the Board of Regents disbanded without selecting a new president. Bolkcom says all nine members of the Board of Regents -- not just the two who were on that search committee -- need to resign.

"I think it does make sense to ask for the resignations of all members of the board and let our new governor who's going to inherit this set of issues decide who he wants to keep on the board and who he doesn't want to have on the board and move on," Bolkcom says. "It's pretty clear we need some new leadership on the Board of Regents."

According to Bolkcom, Regents president Michael Gartner -- a former newspaper and N-B-C television executive who now owns the Iowa Cubs, does not have the trust or support of the Iowa City community.

"And I'd say that's not only the campus community but the business community," Bolkcom says. "There's extremely broad concern...and something's gotta give." The University of Iowa Faculty Senate will take a vote of "no confidence" in the Board of Regents today.