The two leaders of the board that governs the three state-supported universities have resigned those leadership posts. Board of Regents president David Miles sent a letter to fellow board members today announcing his resignation.

The letter revealed that Governor Terry Branstad asked him in May to resign the leadership post, and the same request was made of president pro-tem Jack Evans.

Miles says both “respectfully declined to act on the governor’s unprecendented request,” based on principle. Miles says after discussing the issue with boardmembers the reaction was mixed. Miles says he and Evans discussed it further and decided to resign over concerns about creating a distraction and impasse in working with the governor’s office.

Miles says the board is in the process of creating a new budget, while also looking for a new president for Iowa State University, and any distraction would weaken the board. Miles was appointed to a six-year term on the board in May of 2007 and was elected president in December of the same year. He is resigning the leadership post, but will stay on the board.

A spokesperson for the board says Miles will make no further comment on the issue. The board has scheduled a meeting by telepone Tuesday to elect two new leaders.

Here is the letter from Regents president David Miles to other boardmembers : Miles Resignation PDF