Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said he stands behind Iowa State University Steven Leath in his fight with Senator Tom Harkin over the future of the Harkin Institute on the ISU campus. Leath and Harkin have been engaged in a months’-long back-and-forth over the direction of the institute. The governor said, “I think the question really comes down to agricultural research and I think Iowa State University wants to make sure that they’re able to have one voice and one mission in terms of agricultural research and that is one of the big sticking points that President Leath is trying to work out.”
When a reporter asked the governor that this sounds like he backs Leath in the argument, the governor responded, “Yes, I do.”
The concern would be, for example, if the Harkin Institute does research in one aspect of agriculture while ISU’s own agriculture department goes in another direction.
Harkin feels like an academic setting is the place for discussion and a free flow of many voices on many topics, agriculture included. He doesn’t see how anyone would want otherwise. Harkin has threatened to give his official papers from his 40 years in public office to Drake University instead of Iowa State if he and Leath don’t reach a compromise.