Governor Terry Branstad is siding with Iowa State University’s president in the dispute over the research to be conducted at The Harkin Institute.
Senator Tom Harkin had planned to turn over his papers to ISU, but Harkin indicated last Friday he may move The Harkin Institute to Drake University because of Iowa State’s restrictions on the research that may be conducted at the institute.
“First and foremost, I have full confidence in President Leath as the president of Iowa State University and he is actually working to try to work out the differences between the Board of Regents and The Harkin Institute Board,” Branstad says.
“There are some basic differences that need to be worked out there and there’s been a lot of communications, a lot of emails back and forth.”
Harkin, a Democrat, has said he wants his papers open for anyone to view and he wants The Harkin Institute to pursue any research angle possible, describing that as the kind of “academic freedom” one should want at a university. Governor Branstad, a Republican, says he doesn’t see any problem with “total access” to Harkin’s papers.
“I think the question really comes down to agricultural research and I think Iowa State University wants to make sure that they are able to have one voice and one mission in terms of agricultural research,” Branstad says, “and that is one of the big sticking points that President Leath is trying to work out.”
Harkin is a graduate of Iowa State University. He’s served in congress for 38 years and some of his papers could be turned over for research today — the ones that are 20 years old or older. That includes the bulk of Harkin’s work on the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.