On Monday, Governor Terry Branstad urged the Board of Regents to hold off on voting on a proposal that would create a Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State University. Branstad told reported that he had just learned about the proposal over the weekend.
Today, Republicans in the State Senate issued the following letter urging the Board of Regents to postpone voting on the proposal.
DES MOINES – All 24 members of the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus today signed a letter to the members of the Board of Regents in support of the concerns raised by Senator Sandra Greiner (R-Keota) regarding the proposed Harkin Institute for Public Policy at Iowa State University.
Senate Republicans wrote, “We agree with Senator Greiner’s points that the inclusion of this proposed institute raises serious concerns about transparency within the Regents system and also prompts very concerning legal and ethical challenges.”
They concluded by noting, “At this time, we respectfully request the Board of Regents to postpone any consideration of the Harkin Institute for Public Policy until there is further discussion about this proposal and the general propriety of a state institution naming an institute after a current elected official serving the people of Iowa.”
This action item is on the agenda for the upcoming Board of Regents meeting to be held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
Highlights about the proposal from the Regent’s website:
“This proposal was reviewed by the Board Office and the Council of Provosts and is recommended for approval.”
“The proposed Institute will initially focus its work on key areas that reflect Senator Harkin’s policy priorities.”
“There is no other center or institute at ISU with such a focus.”
“The proposed institute would enhance the opportunities available to students who are interested in public policy.”
“The proposed institute will also become the repository for Senator Harkin’s papers.”
“The institute will maintain the cataloged Tom Harkin Collection, which may include memorabilia, print, and digital materials.”
“The proposed institute will serve as a ready source of information and training programs on public policy issues for the state of Iowa and beyond.”
On Agriculture: “This research focus would also encourage faculty to address environmental issues associated with rural life.”
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