Published comments and links to news stories are made available on this blog as a service by the AAUP - UI chapter to provide context and enrich the discussion of core issues, including academic freedom, shared governance, professional values, and standards for higher education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the AAUP UI chapter or AAUP - National. Visitors may view and/or subscribe to official statements, press releases, and announcements on the chapter's main homepage (


October 27, 2015

AAUP Response to Harreld and Faculty Council

by Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

The University of Iowa chapter of the American Association of University Professors on Monday criticized recent statements from President-Elect J. Bruce Harreld, who vowed to honor the campus’ core values, and the UI Faculty Council, which expressed appreciation for Harreld’s support.

“Given the circumstances of Mr. Harreld’s hiring, we are unable to credit his recent statement to the campus to the extent the Faculty Council has done,” according to the AAUP statement, made public Monday. “Compromised academic values cannot be revalidated by a mere declaration of support.”

And, referencing the Board of Regents search process that AAUP officials call “fundamentally flawed,” Monday’s statement argues the Faculty Council has no authority to legitimize “the outcome of an autocratic process that disregarded the principles of academic integrity.”

Harreld was chosen Sept. 3 to start as the 21st UI president Nov. 2. The former IBM and Boston Market Company executive, who has no academic administrative experience, was among four finalists introduced to campus in late August and early September.

news story...

October 22, 2015

Regent Subhash Suhai addresses concerns over hiring process for University of Iowa president

Hear Regent Subhash Suhai address concerns over hiring process for University of Iowa president:

Iowa regent says he's ‘angry' about University of Iowa presidential search process

IOWA CITY — One day after hundreds of University of Iowa faculty, staff, students and community members packed the Board of Regents meeting waving signs and shouting “resign” at board members, Regent Subhash Sahai said certain aspects of the presidential search process made him “angry” and “mad.”
Sahai, who made his comments during the second day of a two-day board meeting on the UI campus, said he wanted to address the protesters and the concerns that have been raised around the board’s appointment of J. Bruce Harreld as the university’s 21st president.
Sahai stood by the selection but also said he didn’t know about previously-undisclosed meetings Harreld had with five other regents before the application deadline and was “sad about this revelation.”
His exact words to board staff were, “I am pissed,” he said Thursday.
“I am being strong in these words because I love this place,” Sahai said.

 news story...

Accidental Activists

By Colleen Flaherty

Hans Joerg Tiede is a professor of computer science at Illinois Wesleyan University, but he’s also an historian -- at least of the American Association of University Professors. Tiede, a member of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, has been telling the organization’s story at various events this year as it celebrates its centennial. He’s also penned its creation story in a new book out from Johns Hopkins University Press called University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors. The book chronicles the circumstances, events and personalities that led to the formation of the AAUP in 1915, and also takes on certain myths about its creation -- primarily the idea that it has always been an organization primarily dedicated to defending professors’ rights.

Tiede, who will begin a staff stint with the AAUP’s national office of tenure, academic freedom and governance in January, answered questions about the book and about how he thinks AAUP might evolve in the next 100 years to stay relevant.

Q: The AAUP today is synonymous with academic freedom. But you argue that the AAUP originally formed to advance the professionalization of the professoriate, similar to the role of the American Bar Association for lawyers. What exactly does that mean, and how did university governance structures in 1915 differ from what they look like today on many campuses, with faculty senates?

A: In 1915, trustees and regents regularly exercised much more direct control over day-to-day operations of the university than they do now. They often viewed professors as their employees, or “hired men,” to use a term of derision the founders of the AAUP employed, and treated them accordingly. The founders of the AAUP wanted to establish a role for the faculty in institutional governance that would make them the equals of the trustees rather than their subordinates. Academic freedom was an important part of changing the role of professors, since it directly related to their professional autonomy, but it was only one part in the overarching goal of the AAUP. A term that AAUP co-founder Arthur Lovejoy [a professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University] employed to describe his vision of the university was that of a “self-governing republic of scholars.” While he saw a role for trustees in oversight, he did not believe that they should have final authority over academic matters.

The rhetoric the founders of the AAUP employed to criticize the existing form of university governance mirrored the form in which Progressive Era reformers criticized the existing form of political order in the United States, which they thought should be modified to account for changes in modern society. The lay governing board was seen as an outdated, colonial-era invention, which are terms that were used by some political reformers to describe the U.S. Constitution. The AAUP was very much a product of Progressive Era thought, which is the reason for my choice of the title of the book: University Reform. The founders of the AAUP saw the association as a movement for a reform of the university that would bring greater power to the faculty.

Q: When did academic freedom emerge as a focus for the AAUP? And can you talk a little bit about the Edward Ross case?

full interview ...

Hundreds confront regents over new University of Iowa president

Petition: “Bruce Harreld is not fit to run the University of Iowa”

by Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

 About 500 protestors marched into the Board of Regents meeting on the University of Iowa campus Wednesday, holding signs and demanding that each member be dismissed, along with the president they hired to lead the institution – J. Bruce Harreld.

“Hey hey, ho ho, the Board of Regents has got to go,” the crowd chanted after initially filing silently into the meeting in the Iowa Memorial Union.

After surrounding the board, UI student representatives told the nine regents their demands and handed over the group’s petition, which has amassed more than 1,000 signatures.

“Bruce Harreld is not fit to run the University of Iowa and should be immediately dismissed from the presidency,” according to the petition, which also requests a new “more democratic method” of electing a president that takes into account faculty, student, and community member opinions.

After the students spoke, the crowd erupted in loud applause and then protesters began shouting, “resign, resign.” The board sat mostly quiet during the protest, although Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter halted the board’s discussion about its system-wide efficiency review to acknowledge the protestors and accept their petition.

After the meeting, Rastetter told reporters he has no plans to resign and doesn’t know of any other regents planning to step down. He also stressed that Harreld will start as the UI’s 21st president Nov. 2, and he believes the search process that landed Harreld was fair.

Rastetter said he has received “tons of positive reactions” to Harreld’s meetings with UI constituents.

“The board is moving forward,” he said.

After the protest, its organizer UI student Brad Pector, 21, said he feels the rally served its purpose.

“I wanted to disrupt a little bit and let them see how many people want them gone,” said Pector, an art and English major who started the online petition to oust Harreld and created a new coalition called “Iowans Defending Our Universities.”

Pector said he’s hopeful the turnout will sway the board and to expect more protests and rallies if it doesn’t.

“We’ll keep pressing the Iowa Board of Regents if they choose to do nothing,” he said.

read full article ...

October 19, 2015

"Iowans Defending Our Universities" planning to protest regents meeting in Iowa City

Concerned with the selection of a new University of Iowa president, a newly organized group is planning a protest before Wednesday's meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents in Iowa City.

Iowans Defending Our Universities is calling for a "Rally to Defend Our Universities" at 3 p.m. Wednesday outside the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. The Board of Regents — which oversees Iowa's three public universities — is scheduled to begin its meeting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the IMU's Main Lounge.

Speakers at the event will include a mix of students, faculty and community members, said Brad Pector, a senior art major at UI who helping to organize the protest. After the speeches, the protesters plan to peacefully enter the meeting for the open session.

The group launched a resource and information website:

October 15, 2015

AAUP Committee Endorses October 15 Graduate Employee Day of Action

The AAUP Committee on Graduate and Professional Students issued a statement in support of a graduate employee solidarity day of action that will take place on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at universities throughout the country. The AAUP stands firmly behind graduate employees as they stand up in defense of their right to form unions and bargain collectively with their employees. For more information about the day of action and the #WeAreWorkers social media campaign, visit Read the full statement of the AAUP Committee on Graduate and Professional Students below or download a .pdf file of the statement.

October 13, 2015

Statement of Solidarity with #WeAreWorkers

On Thursday, October 15, 2015 graduate employees at universities throughout the country are standing up in defense of their right to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee on Graduate and Professional Students stands firmly beside these graduate workers and endorses their solidarity day of action to declare in one voice that We Are Workers.

As an institution, the AAUP maintains a commitment to collective bargaining in the academy. The right to organize and form unions is crucial for fair working conditions and belongs to all who perform labor on our campuses. The AAUP promotes this right for graduate workers, at private and public universities, as evidenced in the AAUP Statement on Graduate Students (2000) and the Resolution on Graduate Employee Organizing Rights (2004).

Graduate workers occupy a unique and necessary role in universities. They provide an inexpensive source of essential teaching and research labor. Unfortunately, the right of graduate workers to collectively bargain with their university free from intimidation has been under attack, even as universities rely increasingly upon grad and adjunct labor to perform essential functions in their institutions. The AAUP firmly supports graduate employees in asserting their right to organize without suffering retaliation from faculty or administrators.

The Committee on Graduate and Professional Students reaffirms the message conveyed in the AAUP Resolution on Graduate Employee Organizing Rights (2004) that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in the Brown University UAW case (2004) was wrongly decided by a partisan Board and must be overturned. Graduate workers have organized a vibrant movement throughout the academy in their fight for recognition despite the challenging contemporary legal framework in which they find themselves. The Committee commends the growing number of graduate workers, adjunct instructors, and contract faculty across the country who are organizing for better working conditions.

On this #WeAreWorkers day of action, graduate workers are reclaiming their rights and standing up for principles long championed by the AAUP and the Committee on Graduate and Professional Students. We stand in solidarity with this action, with this movement, and with these graduate workers fighting for justice.

AAUP - National original statement

October 13, 2015

UI faculty members unhappy with Harreld get Nebraska boost

LINCOLN, Neb. — Faculty members unhappy with the Iowa Board of Regents' choice for president of the University of Iowa have gotten support from teachers in neighboring Nebraska.

Last month the board selected former IBM executive Bruce Harreld to replace retired UI President Sally Mason. The choice of Harreld has drawn criticism from students, faculty and other staffers who say Harreld is unqualified and benefited from special treatment during the selection process. The UI Faculty Senate has issued a vote of no confidence in the regents' leadership.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Faculty Senate last week approved a resolution of support for its Iowa counterpart, calling on the Iowa Board of Regents "to adhere to the principles of shared university governance and to ethical behavior and transparency."


SEC supports vote of no-confidence in University of Iowa Board of Regents

The University of Iowa faculty senate’s vote of no confidence in its Board of Regents is gaining Big Ten support, and the Senate Executive Committee wants to join in.

The committee unanimously agreed Monday to send a resolution to the Academic Senate stating that the senate should support a vote of no confidence in the University of Iowa’s faculty senate.

The University of Iowa’s faculty senate issued a vote of no confidence in Iowa’s Board of Regents on Sept. 8 for hiring President Bruce Harreld against their faculty search committee’s recommendation. Senate 09.08.15_1.pdf

The faculty search committee’s discontent with Harreld stemmed from his lack of academic administrative experience. Harreld previously worked at IBM for 13 years and taught at Harvard Business School for six years and Northwestern University for one year.


October 9, 2015

AAUP: Miami U making a big mistake

Putting three elected faculty on the search committee and swearing them to secrecy – they will be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement – does not represent an open process in which the input of all members of the university community is considered. It does not suggest that the board takes shared governance seriously. Faculty should be widely consulted and have input in all important decisions at the institution. They do the work that is central to the university’s core mission – instruction and research – and they know a lot about the qualifications and commitments a president should have.

The board’s decision does not reflect the norm in Ohio. Presidential searches conducted in the recent past at Bowling Green, Toledo and Akron have been open processes in which finalists were brought to campus and required to meet with faculty and students. There are no special circumstances that justify the Miami board’s secretive process. Transparency and honesty, especially at a public institution of higher education, should be of the utmost importance.

Shared Governance at Risk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

We are now beginning to see the effects of the recently passed budget bill in Wisconsin that eliminated the protections of tenure and shared governance from state statute for the University of Wisconsin. The bill specifically called for deleting a provision in law “specifying that the faculty of each institution be vested with responsibility for the immediate governance of such institution.” Despite claims by Chancellor Rebecca Blank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that the budget bill would not change shared governance, the Chancellor just presented a proposal to the Board of Regents to waive the non-resident admissions cap for UW-Madison without consulting the Faculty Senate.


On January 16th, Tom Ross, the president of the University of North Carolina, and John Fennebresque, the chair of its board of governors, held a press conference to announce that the board had asked for and received Ross’s resignation. With Ross sitting beside him, Fennebresque insisted, in effect, that he had been fired for no reason. Ross had been successful in every way, he told reporters: “exemplary” in his handling of recent athletic scandals, and a model of “work ethic” and “perfect integrity.” “There was no precipitating event,” Fennebresque, who looked by turns mournful and defensive during the twenty-minute exchange, said. “He’s been wonderful.”

In response to a series of questions, Fennebresque insisted that the decision was not about politics, at least not “to the best of my knowledge.” Few observers believed that there was not some political motivation. Ross, a former judge, once headed the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a major funder of progressive causes in North Carolina. Since Republicans, many of them affiliated with the Tea Party movement, took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010, the board of governors has become a Republican redoubt. Ross, in an answer to one question, did allude to the elephant in the room, observing, “There’s been a dramatic change in the state’s leadership, in policymakers.”

For several years, there have been indications that the state’s new leaders want to change the mission of public higher education in North Carolina. In 2013, the Republican governor, Pat McCrory, told William Bennett, a conservative talk-show host and former Secretary of Education, that the state shouldn’t “subsidize” courses in gender studies or Swahili (that is, offer them at public universities). The following year, he laid out his agenda in a speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Using the language of business schools, he urged his audience to “reform and adapt the U.N.C. brand to the ever-changing competitive environment of the twenty-first century” and to “[hone] in on skills and subjects employers need.” McCrory also had a warning for faculty members whose subjects could be understood as political: “Our universities should not be used to indoctrinate our students to become liberals or conservatives, but should teach a diversity of opinions which will allow our future leaders to decide for themselves.”

News Story...

October 8, 2015

Parents: Your Children Need Professors With Tenure

"Tenure doesn't guarantee that college teachers will be courageous. But it protects those who are."
By Cary Nelson

If you follow the news these days, you know that tenure is getting a bad rap. Fox News in particular will tell you that tenure shields radicals who are trying to indoctrinate your children to overthrow the government. In truth, it's hard to find any faculty member sending that message. No matter. It's a good scare tactic. But even the responsible press prefers editorials and op-ed essays claiming that tenure protects deadwood, preserves an aging professoriate, and costs too much money. Although each of those claims can be proved wrong, they have gained traction anyway.

The most recent federal statistics on the age of the faculty were released in 2004. They tell us that, at four-year colleges, the percentage of full-time faculty members aged 55 or older was 28 percent. How many were 65 or older? Only 7 percent. It doesn't appear that most faculty members are great-grandparents.

As for costs, universities typically spend only one-third of their budgets on faculty salaries. Despite more than 10 years of education after high school, most people standing in front of a college classroom earn less than $60,000 a year, considering that contingent faculty members, who are not eligible for tenure, make up two-thirds of the faculty work force. Most earn well less than $35,000. And most graduate students paid as teachers earn less than $20,000 a year.

October 7, 2015

National professor association to investigate UI presidential search

Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — The American Association of University Professors is sending two representatives from its national headquarters in Washington D.C. to Iowa City to launch an inquiry into the search that landed J. Bruce Harreld as the next University of Iowa president.

The inquiry could lead to a full-blown investigation around whether the state Board of Regents breached the association’s values related to shared governance and the selection of administrators.

“Their main interest is the search for the new president,” said Jordan E. Kurland, associate general secretary for the AAUP’s department of academic freedom, tenure, and governance. “They are not investigating the qualifications of Mr. Harreld for the job. He doesn’t have traditional qualifications, but that is not our purpose here.”

Although the AAUP is not a regulatory body, they can censure universities or governing bodies — harming their reputation nationally and potentially making it more difficult to recruit faculty and students. Kurland said an AAUP censure comes across as a national warning.


October 6, 2015

Hark, the Harreld angles come

Beau Elliot

In this life, you gotta know the angles first.

My junior-high geometry teacher said that. Or maybe it was my bookie. (Except I don’t have a bookie. Explains why I don’t gamble. Except when I sit down in a poker game with Phil grinning at me, all teeth like a shark, across the table. The University of Iowa has its Phil, I have mine; it’s a giving proposition either way.)

Ah, yes, angles. Some are acute, some are obtuse, just like real life. Just like picking a new president for the UI, which, apparently, is nothing like real life. But then, Carly Fiorina is nothing like real life, and she’s running for president. True life is elsewhere, Rimbaud wrote, and we humans keep proving it.

As many observers, including Ditchwalk, whoever that is, have pointed out, What businessman can’t remember that he never registered his company in Colorado? That his company was registered in Massachusetts? (“Was” is the word here; it appears his company is no longer registered in Massachusetts, either. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. So many angles in this life. No wonder it’s elsewhere.)

That businessman would be J. Bruce Harreld, who will soon become the president of this august institution. (Which will be a November institution when he takes office.)

If we were going to take a sailing jaunt from LA to Honolulu, I wouldn’t want Harreld to be the navigator. We would wind up in Anchorage, Alaska.

October 4, 2015

Editorial: Regents' hiring of UI president was flawed

The Register's Editorial

Bruce Harreld has a steep hill to climb in winning the trust and confidence of the University of Iowa faculty, staff and students. Unfortunately, the state Board of Regents has made the climb even steeper with a deeply flawed search process.

Board members have defended their handling of the presidential selection process, but only aggravate the wounds. Board President Bruce Rastetter issued a public statement suggesting faculty critics are just opposed to change, and Gov. Terry Branstad weighed in telling them to, in effect, get a grip.

But consider this from their perspective.

The regents skipped over several highly qualified candidates with sterling academic credentials and education administration chops in favor of a former corporate executive who has never held a full-time university faculty position and who concedes he will need on-the-job training.

The UI faculty’s low regard for Harreld’s candidacy was inflamed by the fact that he was invited by Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter to apply for the job and privately encouraged by Governor Branstad. Then there was the failure of the regents and the search firm to perform due diligence to catch a troubling misstatement on Harreld’s resume.
read editorial on DR...

Time for UI faculty to unionize, oppose Harreld

by Shelton Stromquist * 

The Iowa Board of Regents, its president Bruce Rastetter and acting University of Iowa President and chair of the search committee Jean Robillard, have corrupted the process by which the selection of the university’s next president was conducted. We now have a growing body of evidence, cited in reports in the Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register, the Chronicle of Higher Education and other respected media, that the presidential search was a charade in which the least qualified candidate among the finalists was pre-selected.

Bruce Harreld was appointed in spite of having falsified his resume, an act that would have led to his dismissal in almost any other employment circumstance.

October 3, 2015

Regents need remedial lesson on shared governance

by Frank Durham

In the Press-Citizen story of Sept. 26, "Regents defend early meeting with Harreld," Regent Katie Mulholland is quoted as saying, "In my role as a regent, we honor the shared governance of the faculty and staff. But shared governance is really different from shared decision-making."

No. In fact, it is not.

Shared governance is shared decision-making. Mulholland displays her ignorance of how the University of Iowa works. Or more nearly she is showing the meaning of the new normal she and her colleagues are pushing with Bruce Harreld's selection as president of the University of Iowa.

October 2, 2015

What's unacceptable about the status quo at UI?

Bruce Rastetter over the past few weeks has repeatedly said, "The status quo is unacceptable" at the University of Iowa.

But what does that mean?

The Board of Regents president, answering questions about the recent hiring of businessman Bruce Harreld as UI president, has explained that he doesn't have "a long laundry list" in mind.

Rastetter, instead, points to how Harreld has a long career focused on making large organizations – from Kraft Foods to the Boston Market restaurant chain to IBM – better. Those skills, he said, will be needed to lead UI through a time of unprecedented change in funding sources, educational competition and advances in distance learning technology.

But Rastetter's critics have been left seeking a more detailed list of what exactly is so unacceptable at UI that it would lead the regents to ignore campus input and hire a relatively unknown businessman to fix the problems.

"Please either provide a very strong, evidence-based rationale for your decision (which you have utterly failed to do as of yet) or, perhaps more appropriately, withdraw your offer to Harreld and select someone who has the faith and support of the majority of the faculty and students," UI neuroscience Ph.D. candidate Annie Tye wrote in a Sept. 5 email to the regents.

When pushed for specifics in interviews with state and national media, Rastetter has pointed to four "status quo" issues facing UI that he thinks could better be addressed by a former IBM vice president.

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