Two of the three men Republican Governor Terry Branstad has asked to serve on the board that governs the state universities may have difficulty winning confirmation in the Iowa Senate.
The Senate Education Committee has forwarded the nominations of Robert Cramer and Craig Lang to the full Senate for a vote, but Democrats on the committee did so without recommending that other Democrats in the Senate vote for the two men. Democrats like Senator Herman Quirmbach are wary of Cramer’s work on the board of The Family Leader, a conservative group that opposes same-sex marriage.
“I think we need to think a little bit more about his background and some of his positions and how well they fit with the requirements of serving on the Board of Regents,” Quirmbach told reporters this afternoon.
Student body leaders from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa wrote an open letter to senators today, urging them to vote against Cramer. The student leaders questioned whether Cramer could be “fair-minded” about academic freedom and whether he would be welcoming to gay and lesbian students.
Lang, a former Iowa Farm Bureau president, is the chairman of the Board of Regents and his current term ends April 30. The governor nominated Lang for another six-year term. Democrats say they have concerns about Lang’s commitment to academic freedom. A third nominee for the Board of Regents is likely to easily win confirmation. Dr. Subhash Sahai of Webster City is a Democrat.