University of Iowa faculty plan to take a vote of “no confidence” this week in the board that governs the university.
Faculty Senate president Sheldon Kurtz says the faculty will also call for the resignation of two Board of Regents members who were involved in the botched search for a new U-of-I president. “Things have gotten to the point where the leadership of the board is not capable of leading the board or the university in a positive direction,” Kurtz says.
Former University of Iowa President David Skorton resigned last spring and left in June. The search committee assembled to find his replacement voted to reject all four finalists in November. Out-going Governor Tom Vilsack stepped in and got the search committee and the entire Board of Regents to reconsider the top candidate, who in the end turned the job down anyway.
Kurtz says Regents president Michael Gartner and Teresa Wahlert need to go. “It would be very difficult to attrack a quality individual to this institution without a chance in leadership,” Kurtz says.
Kurtz, a long-time U-of-I law professor, says there have been five presidential searches conducted since he’s been at the U-of-I. “Four of them run by the faculty and dominated by the faculty produced presidents who went on to Cornell and Michigan and Dartmouth,” Kurtz says. “One of them that was dominated by the Board of Regents produced an utter failure.”
The Johnson County Democratic Party took a vote of “no confidence” last week in the Board of Regents and asked Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack to clean out the board. That’s the same message State Senator Bob Dvorsky of Coralville, a long-time Vilsack ally, is delivering.
On Friday afternoon, Vilsack said he will not ask for the resignations of the two top members of the Board of Regents and expected the board to remain “focused” on the job of finding the best possible president for the University of Iowa.
Vilsack faces woes on another front in his final weeks in office. Leaders of the NAACP’s Iowa chapter plan a news conference today to announce why they’re pulling out of a group Vilsack assembled to investigate claims of racial bias in state hiring and promotion practices.