Community criticizes regents

By Katelyn Weisbrod

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Faculty salaries and the upcoming leadership elections were among the top concerns at the April 15 state Board of Regents transparency hearing.

Ten people attended the public hearing in the University Capitol Center to voice their concerns via video, which will be shown to the regents and posted on their website at a later date.

Another frustration several of the attendees shared was the lack of presence of the regents to hear people’s thoughts and ideas.

“It’s extremely disrespectful to be talking to a camera instead of human beings,” University of Iowa student Brad Pector said in his address to the regents.

Several attendees said they do not want to see Regent President Bruce Rastetter and President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland in their leadership positions. The regents will select their next leaders at a meeting in Council Bluffs this week. Both Rastetter and Mulholland seek re-election.

UI English Professor Judith Pascoe said she hopes the regents don’t re-elect Rastetter, so that the regents can rebuild their trust with the UI community after the controversial hiring of UI President Bruce Harreld last fall.

“You have a chance to make a new start by selecting someone who was not involved with all the secret meetings and behind-the-scenes manipulation that led to the hiring of Bruce Harreld as UI president,” Pascoe said in her address. “I strongly recommend that you choose from the regents who were not involved in that process. Please don’t retain Mr. Rastetter as president or Ms. Mulholland as president pro tem.”

Another major concern highlighted at the meeting was regarding faculty salaries.

Pector said Harreld is paid $590,000, while the national average salary for a university president is about $455,000. Pector, citing the Chronicle for Higher Education, also said that administrators at the UI are paid an average of $170,000, compared with the national average of $100,000.

UI Assistant Professor Steven Voyce said while Harreld is paid above the national average, faculty members are paid below the national average salary.

Harreld’s salary also exceeds former UI President Sally Mason’s salary of $525,000 after eight years of service. Voyce called this “a slap in the face to women on campus.”

“It’s time for the board to reallocate resources in a way that benefits students and Iowa families, not inexperienced and incompetent leaders,” Voyce said.

Four other speakers communicated their disapproval of salaries through a mock job application. These speakers, three of who were UI students, “applied” for positions such as UI president.

UI student Asa Crowe, who applied for the position of UI president, said she would be willing to work for $36,000, compared with Harreld’s current salary. She listed her qualifications, which included working as a DJ at KRUI and working for a get-out-and-vote campaign.

“I know these may not be conventional qualifications for leading a large research institution, but I have been inspired by your talk of transformative change to submit my application,” Crowe said. “I believe my unusual background perfectly qualifies me for the job.”

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