Two of the four new members of the board that governs the University of Iowa say they’re pleased with the current search for a new university president. Board of Regents member Bonnie Campbell suggests it’s time to move on and stop analyzing the first search which failed to yield a new president and was abandoned in November.
"I have to be very candid and tell you that I’m not sure that I know to this day exactly what went wrong and I’ve decided that it’s not worth my time to figure that out," Campbell says. "Rather, we need to look forward and as quickly as possible get all of that behind us." Officials say by July 1 the search committee that started meeting in December will submit to the Board of Regents a list of finalists for the U-of-I presidency. Critics have accused that search committee of being too secretive.
Campbell says there is a "delicate balance" to be struck. "I can totally understand that if you’re going to throw your name out there and you’re not going to reach that ‘maybe-I’m-really-going-to-get-this-job’ point, I don’t see any reason for that group of people to have to disclose that they’ve applied," Campbell says.
"…I know there has been a great deal of controversy about whether the process should be entirely open or partially confidential to accommodate the concerns of the candidates and it looks like the search committee has tried to strike a balance. I don’t want to be critical of that."
Regent David Miles, another brand-new member of the board, says the first concern is to make sure the search committee’s decision to conduct interviews in private is legal. "As I understand it, the committee was advised by the attorney general’s office that their approach was legal. I think we should err, to the extent that we air in any direction, toward openness," Miles says. "…The reality of these searches is they all start closed, they all start private in the sense that we don’t publish everybody’s resume that puts in an application. At some point it needs to go to a public process and I think it needs to finish with a public process."
Miles suggests the names of those who have a "realistic chance" of becoming the next U-of-I president should be publicly disclosed. Miles and Campbell made their comments during taping of Iowa Public TV’s "Iowa Press" program which airs tonight at 7:30.