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Des Moines Register Readers' Comments

Erin Jordan, "U of I Finalist Withdraws from Presidential Search"

Des Moines Register Online

December 7, 2006

Erin Jordan, "U of I Finalist Withdraws from Presidential Search"

[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.]

This shouldn't be that hard.....
Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:50 am

Two of the last three U. of I President's have left for Ivy League schools and the third left for one of the top 5 public universities in the country. The President of the University of Iowa oversees a top 10 medical school, a 1st tier law school, and a top 30 MBA program.

In other words, it is a pretty darn good job and there are likely plenty of qualified, interested candidates out there. How hard is it to go identify that list, start whittling it down, and make a decision?

The fact is it is not hard, until you start jacking around with making sure you get enough minority candidates or female candidates or whatever other criteria you want to put in there that have NOTHING to do with how good a President someone will be.

So you get a reset, go put together a list of 10, make it public, whittle it to 5, interview the 5 on campus, and get it done.


University of Iowa finalist withdraws from presidential
Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:27 pm

The predictable concern of the U of I community reflects the good old sibling rivalry between the Regent schools as they desperately seek the approval of their parents, 'the legislature' in the form of a 'bigger allowance' than their sisters get. Concern with Gartner is that he lives in middle sisters' home town, ISU, and he recently selected middle sisters' Provost as baby sisters, new president (UNI).

The concern being that Gartner will somehow cheat big sister out of their traditional spot of getting the biggest allowance.

The Regents universities are full of talented and ambitious people seeking to further their academic missions. Money is a critical component that must go along with knowlege and mission inorder to see their dreams come true. Money has been very tight for a decade now and each school is desperate to keep their dreams alive.

If they can successfully turn Gartner into the 'Boogie Man' they can chase him out or weaken him sufficiently, which will presumably allay their fears.

Hopefully the U of I won't harm its own reputation while they seek to ruin Gartners.


Reader Comment
Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:23 pm

Higher education needs to get off its high horse. Gartner's prima donna persona needs tempering. Vilsack couldn't manage a hotdog stand. Meanwhile the taxpayers and students get the short end, once again.


Reader Comment
Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:35 pm

Why would any qualified candidate take a position having seen the heavy-handed, arrogant and egotistical behavior of the Regents? Whoever would agree to take the job will be micro-managed in every move they make. How could the person who takes the job ever expect to obtain the respect from the Academic community? The Regents have already driven away a president that was the best thing that has happened to the UI in decades. They will now keep any possible qualified candidate a long way from the UI if they have any integrity. Twisted Evil


Reader Comment
Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:11 pm

kwilson6065, now the University of Iowa and the iowa taxpayer is the rape victim. However, Gartner wouldn't publish their names because he is the rapist. Charge the search fees to Gartner.


University of Iowa finalist withdraws from presidential
Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:48 pm

When Michael Gartner was running the Ames Daily Tribune, his papers published the names of rape victims. My how things have changed. If he were a newspaper publisher today I am sure he'd list the names of the U of I finalists. I hope someone has the guts to publicly name the U of I finalists and get this stupid mess over with. Give Iowa taxpayers input on the selection process. Evil or Very Mad


U of I Presidency (or lack thereof...)
Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:36 pm

"Waterboard the Board............." Shocked

U of I finalist withdraws from presidential search

Erin Jordan

Des Moines Register

December 7, 2006

Iowa City, Ia. — A job offer — contingent on an on-campus interview — was extended to one of the finalists for the University of Iowa presidency but the candidate declined, a spokesman for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said today.

Also today, faculty, staff and student leaders said they will pursue a no-confidence vote of the regents. They say the regents have used heavy-handed leadership and secrecy throughout the presidential search.

“It’s disappointing the candidate they selected said no and it’s disappointing they only chose one candidate,” said Peter McElligott, president of the U of I Student Government. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery.”

The rejection by the finalist appears to have ended the 10-month presidential search, which had been in question since Nov. 17.

Vilsack called the top candidate Wednesday afternoon to try to convince him to reconsider, Vilsack Spokesman Matt Paul said. The finalist, who has not been named publicly, indicated he was withdrawing from the U of I search for personal reasons that may have included a job offer elsewhere, Paul said.

“There was a strong indication that might have been the situation,” he told The Des Moines Register.

Regents President Michael Gartner announced in a news release this morning that the search would be relaunched.

“A new search process will be discussed and developed by the Regents in consultation with all the University of Iowa stakeholders, donors, faculty and staff, deans, administrators, and Iowa City area community leaders,” Gartner wrote.

The regents met Monday in a 90-minute closed-session conference call to reevaluate four finalists, who included U of I Provost Michael Hogan, two provosts from other large universities and a president of a mid-sized institution.

“After a thorough discussion of the candidates’ qualifications and strengths, the Regents agreed to re-contact one of the candidates from the four finalists,” Gartner wrote. “It was decided that a personal visit to this candidate be made. The candidate declined further consideration in the process.”

Gary Steinke, the board’s executive director, traveled to visit the top finalist on Tuesday to talk about the U of I presidency, Regent Bob Downer said.

“It was not specifically an offer, but it was certainly very close to that,” Downer said.

The finalist called Wednesday to withdraw his name from consideration, Downer said.

Vilsack followed up with a 15-20 minute phone call in which he outlined the search process and the role the U of I plays in the state, Paul said. The finalist’s concerns about the position did not seem to relate to the search itself, he said.

"The concerns did not seem to center on the situation surrounding the search," Paul said.

The presidential search has been a swirl of controversy since Nov. 17 when the regents voted 6-2 to decline the four finalists. Faculty, staff and students were prepared to take votes of no-confidence in the regents until Vilsack intervened late last month.

The regents made no plans during their Monday meeting to consider other finalists, Downer said, because none of the other three had enough support from the board.

Hogan, who was also a finalist for the University of Delaware presidency, said last week he was still interested in the U of I’s top job. It is reasonable to assume Hogan was not the regents’ pick, said Sheldon Kurtz, U of I Faculty Senate chairman.

“That would be a fair assessment,” Kurtz said, although he said he did not know who the regents selected.

“This is not an unexpected result,” Kurtz added. “I would be surprised that an individual would want to be president of this university given the current board leadership.”