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Bitter Dispute Over Botched Search Continues to Divide U. of Iowa -- and Iowa

The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog

December 14, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Chronicle of Higher Education, 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 Chronicle of Higher Education.]

Two more University of Iowa groups have voted no confidence in the Board of Regents over its management of the search for a new president. The Staff Council, which represents about 5,200 staff members, approved a no-confidence measure on Wednesday by a vote of 38 to 1, with two abstentions. In a statement, the council’s president, Mary Greer, said, “Secrecy, micromanagement, and authoritarianism demonstrate the leadership’s lack of respect for the university community and the public.”

The Graduate Student Senate also passed such a measure on Wednesday, with its undergraduate counterpart expected to follow suit today. On Tuesday the Faculty Senate became the first campus group to do so, with its president, Sheldon F. Kurtz, outlining a list of grievances.

The fallout from the botched presidential search — intended to replace David J. Skorton, who left last summer to become president of Cornell University — has resonated across the campus and the state of Iowa. On the campus, staff members have commented in Internet forums posted on the Staff Council’s Web site. Elsewhere, newspapers like the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the Des Moines Register, and The Daily Iowan, have sponsored forums and posted letters from citizens who support and oppose the regents’ actions. An Iowa-focused blog called From DC 2 Iowa has provided one of the most comprehensive analyses of the controversy.