Bill to end tenure at Iowa regent universities advances in the Iowa Legislature


Emily Wangen

The Iowa Capitol is seen on Jan. 14 during the first day of the Legislative session. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Emily Wangen, Politics Reporter

A bill in the state Legislature that aims to end tenure for professors at Iowa’s three public universities has cleared one legislative hurdle after a Senate education subcommittee approved it Jan. 30. The full Senate Education Committee will need to approve the bill before it moves on to the Senate.

The bill, Senate File 27, states that faculty can be terminated on grounds that include but are not limited to “just cause, program discontinuance, and financial exigency” at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa.

The Senate Education Committee is set to meet Feb. 4, but SF 27 was not on the agenda as of the morning of Feb. 2.

State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, reintroduced the bill Jan. 15 after it died in committee two years ago. He also sits on the subcommittee that approved it, with Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, and Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville.

Wahls previously told The Daily Iowan that he does not believe the bill will advance very far and that he will encourage legislators to vote against it.

The state Board of Regents, which oversees the three public universities, has lobbied against the bill with four declarations. The Iowa State Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61 have also  lobbied against the bill.

No groups have voiced support for the bill through a lobbyist declaration.