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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.
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