A Democratic lawmaker is proposing changes to the governance of Iowa's public universities to avoid what he called improper political influence that marred an institute for Sen. Tom Harkin.
Des Moines Sen. Jack Hatch on Tuesday introduced legislation that would create a chancellor position overseeing the three universities at the direction of the Board of Regents. Hatch argued the move would help avert disputes such as occurred between Harkin and Iowa State University over the longtime senator's papers and research into issues that have been important to his career.
Harkin has opted not to give papers to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State, his alma mater. Harkin says he wasn't sure university leaders would allow unrestricted academic freedom at the institute.