The board that governs the three state-supported universities today approved a nine-member Transparency Task Force to address concerns raised about the release of information. Bruce Rastetter of Ames led the Board of Regents meeting in the absence of board president Craig Lang.
Rastetter told the board the task force is based on recent concerns Lang raised about the need to improve the transparency of the schools to increase the trust of Iowans. “He expressed that the time, that the time has come for the Regents to establish new transparency policies based around Iowa’s newly amended Sunshine Laws. To enable the universities to regain the trust of their constituents and to make sure all future operations are conducted in as much sunlight as possible,” Rastetter says.
President Lang said at the Board’s December meeting that he had concerns over how University of Iowa President Sally Mason handled transparency issues and how that impacted the public’s perception of the university. Rastetter, the board’s president pro-tem, says Lang has some specific goals for the task force.
“To develop recommendations for the Regents, with public input, on ways to create and maintain maximum transparency at the Regent institutions,” Rastetter says. “The task force shall consist of members of the Iowa legislature, the Regent institutions and others with expertise in this area.”
Regent Robert Downer of Iowa City, asked Rastetter about the overall scope of the task force. “It’s my understanding that this is going to be comprehensive as far as the Regent enterprise is concerned. That while the initial discussion primarily on the universities, that it’s going to also examine the special schools, the board itself, the board office and various policies for which we are responsible as an enterprise and not just an institutions,” Downer asked.
Rastetter confirmed that it is the intention that the task force cover all the entities that Downer mentioned.
The nine-member task force will consist of: one member of the Governor’s Iowa Public Information Board; one member appointed by the Speaker of the House, and one appointed by the Senate Majority Leader; one Regent to be appointed by the board president who will serve as the chairperson of the Task Force; one each from the three state universities to be appointed by the university president; the executive director of the Board of Regents; one member of the public.
Rastetter recommends the Task Force be approved at the March meeting of the board.