Letters to the Editor

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The regents’ disgraceful decision

     Bruce Harreld’s résumé and on-campus performance disqualify him not only from being UI

president but also from being a candidate. The fact that he slipped through suggests the regents did not take the presidential-search process seriously, an affront to the University of Iowa, the state, academia in general, the business world in general, the other candidates, and Harreld himself.

   How could the regents NOT catch the fact that the main credential posted on Harreld’s résumé was a fiction? I’m no expert in reviewing presidential candidates, but one Google search and one call to Colorado was all it took to confirm Harreld had padded his résumé, a fatal mistake. And it should also have been obvious that Harreld is not among the best non-academics out there. The question is not “Is he an academician?” but rather “Is he an exceptional non-academician?” i.e., the caliber of those currently serving at other public research universities (e.g., Adm. William McRaven, chancellor, University of Texas).

    The regents seemed to not have a clue about what important attributes and credentials separate someone like McRaven from someone like Harreld. And until the regents sort that out, trying to identify an excellent non-academic president will continue to be a fool’s errand. Sitting near Sandy and Susan Boyd Monday night, I was again reminded what true leaders are, especially Iowa leaders. To have begun my career with President Boyd and ending it with a presidential candidate who padded his résumé, who brings nothing special much less spectacular in his business experience, who fails to discuss in detail his work as an administrator and teacher, who is willing to sacrifice the University of Iowa’s budget on the alter of regent fiat, who doesn’t understand the president’s job is to defend the university against all comers and constantly promote this wonderful place.

   In spite of quantifiable evidence to the contrary, he and the regents seem to think the investment-return of online, distant-learning, community-college degrees trump the degrees of the university. The return on every state dollar spent at Iowa is huge, dwarfing the returns of Iowa State and UNI. Online and distant learning are not the next new things. They’ve been around for decades, reaching as far Iowa Western Community on the banks of the Missouri River. Of course, the university could offer training certificates instead of degrees: no muss, no fuss, just a check, and all’s done. To train is not to educate; the former from Latin, meaning to give commands, salesperson with customer; the latter from Latin, meaning to embody fields of knowledge, teacher with student, one at a time.

Paul Diehl

UI Associate Professor Emeritus of English

Jason Lewis for School Board

Jason Lewis will make an excellent member of the Iowa City School Board. With the need to solve the contentious issues facing the Iowa City schools, the board needs someone who has educational experience, a clear grasp, and a broad view of the issues, as well as being an excellent communicator. Lewis is such a person. As a past president of Twain Elementary PTO, a member of the Magnet Schools Task Force, a foster parent, and a humanities teacher at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, he has the professional and real-world experience to be a strong, fair voice dealing with a broad range of students and student needs. The Iowa City Federation of Labor and the *Cedar Rapids Gazette* have recognized these qualities and have strongly endorsed Mr. Lewis. Jason Lewis will be an excellent member of the Iowa City School Board.

Bruce Brown MD

Emeritus Professor

UI College of Medicine