A key legislator is questioning the dramatic resignation of the chairman of the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I. The outcome could impact the tuition university students pay next fall. Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield C-E-O John Forsyth resigned as president of the State Board of Regents after the Attorney General advised Forsyth not to vote on matters dealing with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Wellmark and the hospital are involved in a contract dispute. Another board member — David Neil — resigned, too, since he’s on Wellmark’s board of directors. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, calls it a “mass exodus.” He believes another board member may resign. Rants says he’s now reluctant to make the bargain the board suggested to keep tuition lower. Under that bargain the universities promised to undergo significant streamlining if the state would plow 40 million more dollars into university coffers. “I for one have lost confidence in whether or not such a transformational process will continue to occur so I for question whether or not we should be making that kind of committment and bargain with the Regents given the fact that all of the players are apparently changing,” Rants says. Rants says Forsyth and Neil were “driving factors” in the project to streamline the universities and he doesn’t know if the new members of the board will be as agressive. “I for one will be taking a wait and see attitude,” Rants says. Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a republican from Dows, rejects the idea students may be left paying higher tuition if the “deal” falls apart. “We have never agreed to 40 million. We have agreed to take a look at it. Period,” Iverson says. Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny, cautions the univesities against raising tuition if that 40 million dollars doesn’t come through. “That would be unfair to the students to say if we don’t get a certain amount of dollars, we’re automatically raising tuition,” Lamberti says. The Attorney General initially told Forsyth his role as Wellmark’s leader wouldn’t jeopardize his ability to act as a member of the Board of Regents. Rants wants to know who asked the Attorney General to change his legal advice. “I’ve got some questions as to why the Attorney General suddenly changed his interpretation of what a conflict of interest means,” Rants says. Lamberti says it’s a legitimate question that needs to be answered. “You know, what is going on here?” Lamberti asked. “Why did that opinion change and is there more to it? We need to have some confort about who is in charge. Is it the Board of Regents or is it the University of Iowa?”