Last week the AAUP issued a blistering report criticizing the Iowa Board of Regents for its conduct of a presidential search that led to the hiring of businessman J. Bruce Harreld as President of the University of Iowa. The report acknowledged, however, that Harreld had pledged to respect shared governance and faculty rights and had responded positively to the report’s draft. Therefore, while the report portrays the search as, at bottom, nothing less than a crude exercise in naked power, it concludes: “We believe that it would better serve the interests of faculty and the university to take [President Harreld] at his word while also being vigilant and prepared to act to maintain academic integrity and shared governance.”
Time will tell whether, in the report’s words, the new president “will grow into the position and effectively defend the institution from the worst instincts of its present governing board.”
Unfortunately, this probably won’t help much:
The president of the University of Iowa, J. Bruce Harreld, has apologized to a campus librarian — and vocal critic of his hiring — for suggesting that professors unprepared to teach be shot. The Associated Press reports Mr. Harreld told Lisa Gardinier that he was sorry for an “unfortunate off-the-cuff remark” he made during a meeting of the Staff Council last week.
“Frankly, I have used the comment in many, many forums, and this is the first time anyone has objected to it,” Mr. Harreld wrote to Ms. Gardinier. “I apologize and appreciate your calling my attention to it.”
In their correspondence, which Ms. Gardinier shared with the AP, she told Mr. Harreld she appreciated his apology, although she described as “horrifying and unacceptable” the notion that a university president could make such a comment, even if intended flippantly, at a time when a series of mass shootings has heightened fears of campus violence.