AP: Iowa Regents “Secretly Recruited” Bruce Harreld

BY MICHAEL DECESARE

One of the primary findings of the AAUP’s investigative report regarding the University of Iowa’s 2015 presidential search was that “the search was structured and engineered by the regents’ leadership from the outset to identify a figure from the business world congenial to its image of ‘transformative leadership.'”

An AP story out yesterday confirms this conclusion. It describes how the regents “secretly recruited” the eventual appointee, Bruce Harreld, through a series of private meetings held on July 30, 2015:

In depositions made public Monday, regents testified that they set up the meetings using private email accounts, held multiple gatherings to avoid having a board majority present at once, and never discussed the substance of the meetings with anyone afterward. [Board president Bruce] Rastetter testified the meetings were held at his private business in Ames rather than the board office . . .

Further, according to the story, “Rastetter said he decided that Harreld should meet with four of eight remaining regents, two at a time, ‘to specifically make sure we were in compliance’ with the open-meetings law.” A hearing is set for next week to determine whether Mr. Rastetter’s arrangements were meant to comply with Iowa’s Open Meetings Law or circumvent it.

Mr. Harreld formally applied for the position the day after the secret meetings. And “the rest of what followed,” as the AAUP report accurately put it, “was only an illusion of an open, honest search.”


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