- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A national group of professors has unanimously voted to sanction the University of Iowa for the way the school hired its new president.

The century-old American Association of University Professors voted Saturday to sanction UI for “substantial non-compliance with standards of academic government” during the process that led to last year’s hiring of Bruce Harreld, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported (https://icp-c.com/1Y2DFC2 ).

The group’s investigating committee found in December that instead of fully involving faculty in the presidential search, the Iowa Board of Regents engineered a search to identify a figure from the business world. Once the regents identified such a person, the report said, “what followed was at best an illusion of an open, honest search.”

Thomas Vaughn, president of the UI Faculty Senate, issued a statement Saturday challenging the group’s sanction.

“A sanction against the university is both unfair and wholly unjustified,” Vaughn said. “The AAUP’s own report did not contain a single factual finding showing any wrongdoing by anyone at the university.”

UI faculty members were involved last year with the 21-member committee that proposed four finalists to succeed Sally Mason as president. But the committee was dismissed before the four finalists were brought to campus.

The regents unanimously selected Harreld on Sept. 3, despite a letter from UI faculty leaders saying that the vast majority of respondents found that the former IBM executive to be the least qualified finalist. Less than a week after Harreld’s hiring, the UI Faculty Senate issued a vote of no confidence in the board.

The sanction has no immediate punitive effect on the university. But members of the UI chapter of the professors’ group said other institutions sanctioned by the group have found it difficult to attract and retain high-quality faculty members.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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