Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Board of Regents approaching senility

According to the Iowa City Press Citizen, Michael Gartner and Teresa Wahlert, President and President Pro Tem of the Iowa Board of Regents, told U of I faculty members to make future plans as if state funding for the universities will end within the next 5 to 10 years. Several U of I officials, including the Staff Council President, Faculty Council President, a past Faculty Council President and the student body president have attributed the quote to Gartner.

The problem? Both Gartner and Wahlert deny ever saying it.

The prospect is scary. A sudden withdrawal of state funding from the universities would likely mean a dramatic rise in tuition, an immediate decrease in staff and faculty salaries and the kind of institutional decline that would take Iowa City from being a world-class center for academia to another midwestern city with a college in it. Multiple reputable sources say the Board of Regents is predicting this, but the two top officials of the board deny saying what at least half a dozen people heard them say.

The other frightening thing about it: If Michael Gartner were lying about this, it wouldn't come as a suprise. I don't link to State 29 very often anymore, but this is a pretty good synopsis of some of the charges Gartner ran up while working for NBC before his time with the Regents.

The Board of Regents is also under investigation for their role in the departure of former U of I President David Skorton. At the time I thought that was a reach, but now that I see they're threatening to pull all funding from the university, I think it seems a bit more plausible.


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