Board of Regents President Craig Lang has angered people at all three public universities during his tenure.
Monday, he appeared before a senate education committee, where he apologized and asked for another term.
Some people give Lang credit for convincing reluctant lawmakers that they need to better funding higher education. But others have criticized him for making some unpopular decisions and for making the board too political.
“I’d like to begin by saying I’m not perfect. I realize from time to time I make mistakes. But I have a very strong Board of Regents that corrects me,” Lang said.
Some Senate Democrats want more corrections.
In particular, Coralville Democrat Bob Dvorsky didn’t like how Lang and others made University of Iowa President Sally Mason wait for a new contract and then complained about her performance.
Dvorsky said, “The news from Iowa City isn’t good. They feel there is a vendetta from you and others of the Board of Regents. And you’re out to get President Mason for some unknown reason.”
Lang responded saying he fully supports Mason, but he will try to do a better job.
Johnson County wasn’t the only place upset with Lang.
Even more criticism came from his handling of Senator Tom Harkin’s Institute at Iowa State.
Some feel Lang tried to restrict the institute’s research if it conflicted with other ISU research. Lang denied the accusations, but angered another senator when he admitted he didn’t even read a university document that fueled much of the fight.
That original document banned the Harkin Institute from conducting agricultural research. Confusion and fights followed over claims of restricting academic freedom.
When questioned about the document Lang said, “Yeah, I probably should [have read it]. But who wants to read bad news?”
Several senators were visibly frustrated with Lang’s responses. He will need a two-thirds vote of the senate to be re-confirmed as board president. There is no word on when that could be.