Board of Regents member Subhash Suhai expressed his frustration today with the presidents of Iowa State University and the board over the handling of information on the use of ISU airplanes.
Suhai makes his comments after hearing ISU president Steven Leath’s report to the board. “I think this thing was taken somewhat lightly — like I indicated in my email to you sir, it was taken with a somewhat cavalier attitude — even the president of the board did give it the importance that he should have,” Suhai says. “Having said that, our job is to facilitate your job as a leader at the university, and I promise you and I assure you that we will do the best that we can.”
Suhai, who is from Webster City said in published reports he didn’t find out about an accident Leath had that damaged a university airplane until it was reported in the news. His also clarified his remark that Leath needed to “come clean” about his use of the planes. “It was not to in any way shape or form to insinuate that you did something wrong. But I still had a lot of questions and I continue to have those those questions and hope you will answer them in the time to come,” Suhai said.
He told Leath he does not like seeing him constantly in the spotlight on this issue. “I hate it with passion and I think it is important for all the presidents to realize that your boss is not just one board member — all nine of us collectively are your bosses. And anything of this type of gravity and this type of importance should be referred…to our executive director of the board so it does not come as a big surprise to us,” Suhai said.
Leath briefly addressed the issue and the vote by the board to conduct an audit of all the flights involving him since he became ISU’s president. “I want to mention that at Iowa State, I and the whole university are committed to adhering to university and board policies,” Leath said. “And we welcome the review and I am fully supportive and will be fully engaged in the more complicated review that will be coming forth this fall. I am actually pleased to see that and will work closely with you folks to make sure that that is as complete as it can be.”
Leath also made this pledge. “Clearly there are areas where I and Iowa State can improve. And I want you to know that I am pledging to do that. We will improve and we will do better,” Leath said. There is a news conference scheduled after today’s meeting in Cedar Falls where Leath is expected to take questions about the issue.