A state senator from Iowa City says it is silly for the Board of Regents decision to say when they’ll be interviewing candidates for the University of Iowa presidency, but not where those sessions will take place. Senator Joe Bolkcom , a Democrat from Iowa City, says secrecy isn’t appropriate in this instance.
"I had hoped that the Board of Regents and the U-I leadership had learned from the first failed presidential search that a secret process was the wrong approach to finding a new university president," Bolkcom says. It’s been nearly a year since former University of Iowa president David Skorton left. In November, the Board of Regents rejected the finalists for the job and in December the board appointed a new committee to conduct the search.
"It’s in the best interests of Iowans, students certainly on campus, faculty and staff to be involved in the process of finding a new leader for the University of Iowa and the more open the process is the better," Bolkcom says. "It appears that the intent of the open meetings law is being violated by not indicating where the interviews are being held." Bolkcom acknowledges there’s little chance the search committee will change its mind and open the interviews to the public.
"But I can assure Iowans that this next legislative session there will be changes to the open meeting law to address concerns that have been raised by this practice," Bolkcom says. One of Bolkcom’s fellow senators — Democrat Bob Dvorsky of Iowa City — says that review will likely conclude with changes in the open meetings law that would allow for "some privacy" when candidates are being interviewed for the top jobs at the state universities.