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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Regents in Hiring of UI President

John Pemble/IPR file
UI President Bruce Harreld

A lawsuit against the Board of Regents in the recruiting and hiring of the University of Iowa president has been dismissed.

The lawsuit accused five current and former regents of breaking the state’s open meetings law by scheduling private meetings to recruit UI President Bruce Harreld. The regents asked the court dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that a majority of the board was never present at the same time during the back-to-back meetings on one day in 2015.

The court has sided with the regents.

District Court Judge William Kelly writes in his ruling, "It may have looked problematic in the way [former Board of Regents President Bruce] Rastetter organized the recruitment of Bruce Harreld, but ultimately, the Board lacked the numbers needed for a meeting throughout the recruitment process."

Kelly writes there is no evidence the regents broke the law. 

"The intent to violate the law was not proven and is irrelevant to this Court’s inquiry," Kelly writes. "Based on the facts presented, no majority of the board met as defined, and so this claim also fails as a matter of law."

A similar lawsuit against the 21-member UI Presidential Search Committee is set to go to trial next year.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter