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U of I faculty attitude is part of the problem

Diane S. Kolmer

Des Moines Register

December 14, 2006

Susan E. Voss, "Time to Hear Regents' Supporters"

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, 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 Des Moines Register.]

After reading the Dec. 8 article, "Top Choice To Be U of I President Withdraws," the University of Iowa faculty senate chairman said he is not sure anyone would want to be president of that school "given [Board of Regents] leadership."

I would argue that anyone thinking of coming to the University of Iowa would be hesitant to come due to the arrogance and disrespect of the faculty toward the Iowa Board of Regents - the very body that chooses the president and also requests state appropriations on behalf of its universities.

Iowa law does not deem the faculty senate as the body that hires and supervises its president. Despite the faculty's arrogant and heavy-handed methods, regents choose and supervise university presidents.

The faculty's wish to dismiss anyone who is not part of the collegiate doctoral crowd is emblematic of the ivory-tower arrogance that continues to divide university structures from its state citizens and the Iowa Legislature.

Perhaps all these presidents left the U of I due to faculty methods and their belief that they are the only people who should decide what is best for the university.

This includes bad-mouthing its administrators, defying legislative intent and authority and believing they are not accountable to Iowa taxpayers, much less their students.

- Diane S. Kolmer,
West Des Moines

Time to Hear Regents' Supporters

Susan E. Voss

It's time to hear from people who support the regents' search for a University of Iowa president.

I'm amazed that a group of professors were so ready to criticize a process that has taken time and been deliberative in nature. They don't seek a vote of no confidence for the hiring process for coaches who make multimillion-dollar salaries.

And they are upset about the amount of money spent on the search process. The president of a major university will be representing a large academic complex and raising millions of dollars, and they are upset over spending $200,000. You would think they would want the best person for a position that will have a major influence over the direction of the university for many years.

I was under the impression that the Iowa Board of Regents hires the president of the University of Iowa, not a group of university professors. Input is important, but the final decision is for the regents. That is the way the system is constructed.

As the Register continues to place this disagreement on the front page, it allows a minority of people to set the agenda.

If the critics truly wanted to make the process work and seek harmony, they would sit down together and find a solution outside of the sound bites they seek for headlines.

- Susan E. Voss,
Des Moines