Regents president attends last meeting

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Outgoing Board of Regents president Bruce Rastetter attended his last meeting today in Council Bluffs.

“It has certainly been an interesting six years and perspective of the public institutions and what the board has that I have really grown to appreciate,” Rastetter says.

Rastetter, who is a businessman from Alden, decided not to apply for another term on the board. He told the board they need to keep active in running the three state-supported universities.

“It’s really important that the Board of Regents not be a placeholder board,” Rastetter says. “I think oftentimes in the past it’s been a position that is certainly coveted in the state, it holds a high degree of prestige as we think about it. But it clearly needs to be an active oversight board. And this board has been.”

Rastetter says the new board will face challenges with the state’s budget situation, and says the board staff is working to address that. He says they will create a task force that they would present at the next meeting for the summer, “for the regents to engage the stakeholders in in Des Moines and Iowa to talk about what tuition and public support will be going forward for the regents.” “I think that will be an important process, an important process to look at the individuality of each university as the president’s bring forward their tuition discussions,” according to Rastetter He says one of the things they will have to consider given the budget situation is if they can stick with their promise to only raise tuition 2 percent.

Rastetter again told board members they need to be involved. “I would in closing say that I would encourage the board and the new boardmembers to be an active board. Because if you are not accepting where we are today, it will lead you to a lower result, rather than a greater result as do most things in life,” Rastetter says. Board president pro-tem Katie Mulholland sought reappointment to the board, but she was left off the governor’s list.

The governor appointed Nancy Boettger, a former Republican state senator from Harlan, and Nancy Dunkel, a Democrat from Dyersville who served two terms in the Iowa House to fill the open spots. Rastetter and Mullholland were honored with proclamations read during the meeting. Iowa State University president Steven Leath also attended his last regents meeting before leaving to become the president at Auburn. He mentioned the move briefly after his update to the board on activities at ISU.

“I would like to say that it has been a great opportunity to serve as president of Iowa State. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, hardest job I’ve ever had, the one I liked the best, and appreciate my time in Iowa,” Leath says. Leath will leave ISU in May.

The Board of Regents approved the second reading today to increase the room and board rates at the University of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI. The most common room and board plan will go up 1.9 percent at Iowa State, 1.8 percent at UNI and one-half-of-one percent at the U-I.

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