Harkin cuts ties with namesake Iowa State center
When Harkins and the board continued to protest, Leath issued a new policy saying institute research focusing on subjects found elsewhere on campus "is expected to be planned, conducted and published in a cooperative, collaborative manner."
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad backed Leath on Monday, saying that Iowa State should speak with "one voice" when it comes to agriculture research.
Peterson, the professor who directs the institute, called the latest rule "bureaucratic linedrawing" that would in no way restrict research. He noted that professors cherish academic freedom and would be outraged if it was restricted.
The dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Beatte Schmittman, also insisted there were no restrictions. She cast the lone vote against the recommendation that Harkin's papers go elsewhere.
Advisory board member Sally Pedersen, a Democrat and former lieutenant governor, said Harkin backers no longer trusted the administration to make the institute a success.
"There have been a series of incidents that have eroded confidence and I think created an environment where the institute just can't thrive," she said. "The well has been poisoned at Iowa State."
Pederson helped lead a fundraising drive that raised $3.3 million in pledges for the institute, and questions have been raised about Harkin's influence.
The largest donors included a South Korean businessman and his Cedar Rapids-based metals company that stand to benefit from a Harkin proposal to eliminate the $1 bill in favor of a coin. Emails show Harkin's top campaign fundraiser gave ISU a list of individuals and businesses to solicit, but Harkin said he hadn't personally asked for any donations.
Pederson dismissed that Harkin wants to transfer the institute to a private university that would have less scrutiny. She said she believed he would require donors to be made public wherever the institute landed, and that gifts already received could be transferred.
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