After several sexual-misconduct allegations against UI donor Steve Wynn, the state Board of Regents voted to remove his name from the University of Iowa Wynn Institute for Vision Research.
The regents made the decision with no discussion during their Feb. 22 meeting.
In 2013, the UI agreed to name the institute after Wynn in recognition of his $25 million gift commitment to the institute.
The Wall Street Journal reported dozens of employees have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Wynn, the cofounder of Wynn Resorts and former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, that spanned decades.
In a 2015 agreement with Wynn, the naming recognition would be subject to applicable board policies and approvals of the regents and UI as well as subsequent reconsideration by either of these entities.
“Only in extraordinary circumstances, UI and/or the Board may reconsider the naming if the prior approved naming may be damaging to the reputation of the Board or UI, or contradictory to applicable law or to the policies, procedures, or strategic objectives of the Board of UI,” the agreement provided in regents’ documents stated.
According to a January statement from the UI, the institute supports 29 faculty members across eight departments and four colleges who work to develop treatments for all forms of genetic blindness.
Institute Director Edwin Stone said in a statement on Jan. 31 he supports the UI’s decision to rename the institute.
“Physicians and scientists at the University of Iowa have worked to develop affordable tests and treatments for patients with inherited eye diseases for more than 30 years, and we will continue to work toward the eradication of heritable blindness with every fiber of our beings until this very important mission is achieved,” Stone said.
— Emily Wangen