Regents Met Iowa President Before Official Interview

September 25, 2015

Emails between newly selected University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld and Iowa's Board of Regents reveal that Harreld met with multiple board members in July, weeks before candidates were formally interviewed by the 21-member presidential search committee.

Bruce Rastetter, president of the Board of Regents, confirmed in a statement that Harreld met with four board members on July 30 in Ames, Iowa. Harreld sent his résumé -- which has since been critiqued by faculty members for inaccuracy -- to regents in advance of their meeting. He also visited Iowa's health system on July 8. That day he gave a lecture to hospital administrators and had lunch with Rastetter and three search committee members.

"I especially appreciated your candor and perspective on the challenges and opportunities at UI," Harreld wrote to one regent after their July 30 meeting. "As we discussed, institutions only go up or down. It's clear many critical elements are in place to enable UI's next leader to take the institution to the next level."

That regent, Mary Andringa, wrote back to Harreld and encouraged him to apply for the presidency: "Crisis necessitates change -- it may be the big challenge that can energize you in the next five years!"

The revelation of these meetings further fuels concern among some faculty and staff at Iowa that Harreld's eventual selection was a done deal even before he and three other candidates were announced as finalists earlier this month. Harreld was selected as Iowa's next president, effective November, despite widespread faculty, student and staff opposition.

In his statement, Rastetter defended board members' meetings with Harreld. "The purpose of these meetings, which were at Mr. Harreld’s request, was for him to become more informed about the expectations the board had for the next president of the University of Iowa," he said.

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