There's a fine line between good board-president relations and cronyism
- Criticism is mounting for Iowa Board of Regents member Bruce Rastetter, whose private real estate company's recent land sale with Iowa State President Steven Leath has prompted questions about improper relationships between members and university presidents.
- Some skeptics cite personnel changes at two of the state's universities, namely, the retirement of former University of Iowa president Sally Mason, the resignation of former University of Northern Iowa president Bill Ruud and the hiring of J. Bruce Harreld as Iowa's new president, as signals of personal relationships playing out at work.
- The charges of nepotism also blur into conversation about potential gender bias and inequity in salary or treatment for female presidents.
Most board members are vigilant in understanding and working within the parameters of law to navigate business dealings and personal benefit from university officials, but this understanding does not limit the scope of perceived impropriety and favoritism within university ranks. The University of Alabama's indirect funding engagement with political action committees is an example of the legal gray area in which many officials live, with the intent of better serving the university or themselves.
Boards which act within legal rights cannot be told to do otherwise, but they can be advised that toeing a line of personal gain through board membership invites scrutiny from the state house, ands well as less likely places, like the federal government, as in the case of its intervention in board membership at Metropolitan Community College.
- Iowa City Press-Citizen How friendly is too friendly with regents, presidents?