Out-going Governor Tom Vilsack says this past Monday’s launch of a new search for a University of Iowa president should quell the controversy on the Iowa City, and Vilsack rejects the idea he’s handing over a headache to incoming Governor Chet Culver.
The Board of Regents has been under fire for spending over $200,000 on its first search and then rejecting all four of the finalists for the job. “The governors got nothing, really, to do with this. It’s about the search process,” Vilsack says. “The bottom line is you want a great president for a great university.”
The governor says the Regents took a “good step” on Monday when they named the Dean of the University of Iowa’s Dentistry School to head the second search for a campus leader. The U-of-I Faculty Senate and student government have both issued “no confidence” votes in the Board of Regents, and some have called for the president of the board to resign. Vilsack acknowledges a “few bumps in the road” but he says the ultimate answer will be finding the right person for the job.
He rejects the idea public confidence in the Board of Regents has waned. “This Board of Regents did a great job in picking a new president for the University of Northern Iowa,” Vilsack says. “…You can’t just judge on one decision. You have to look at the totality of decisions.”
Vilsack predicts someone will want “badly” to be the U-of-I president because “it’s a great university; it’s a great job.”
This past week, Governor-elect Chet Culver expressed his displeasure with the secrecy surrounding the Board of Regents’ first search for a U-of-I president and Culver said he’ll make “unprecedented changes” in the board once he takes office.