Iowa Board of Regents President David Miles and President Pro Tem Jack Evans announced their resignations from their respective positions Monday.
Miles wrote in a letter addressed to his fellow regents saying that Gov. Terry Branstad called him in May and asked him to resign as board president. Gov. Branstad made the same request of Evans, Miles wrote.
After seeking feedback from their fellow Regents, Miles and Evans have decided to resign from their positions upon the election of their successors. Both men, however, will remain on the Board of Regents after resigning their current positions.
A telephonic meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. to elect a new president and a new president pro tem.
Tim Albrecht, spokesperson for the governor, said via email that "the governor believes it is in the best interest of our Regents institutions to have different leadership in place. The governor appreciates the work David Miles and Jack Evans have done with the Board of Regents, and thanks them for their service."
Miles' and Evans' resignations follow what Miles called in his resignation letter an "unprecedented request" by Branstad.
Larry Ebbers, university professor of educational leadership and policy studies, also believed this was the first time he'd heard of such a request being made. Albrecht, however, explained that Branstad is not the only governor to make such a request.
Nancy Evans, professor in higher education programs in the department of educational leadership and policy studies, speculated that Miles' and Evans' resignations stem from their initially feeling it was important to stay in their positions and assert what they believe is important for the board and the institutions it oversees. She also speculated that Miles and Evans might have felt they weren't being heard anymore.
Albrecht explained that Branstad would like to have someone whom the governor has full faith and confidence in fill the position.
Evans explained that the current relationship between the Board of Regents and the governor's office is a reasonable one. He said that he would like to see the board coalesce around leadership to strengthen its relationship with the executive and legislative branches of the Iowa government.
Evans said his and Miles' resignations were delayed because they needed time to debate questions and gather information from other Regents.
In Miles' letter of resignation, he wrote, "If our actions sometimes put us at odds with the politics of the moment, that is exactly as it should be."
Evans echoed this idea, explaining that he believes the Board of Regents has preserved its independence. However, he also said, "We need to remember we represent the institutions of the state."
Evans said his goal is to continue to work toward the goals of the strategic plan for the Board of Regents.
"I have two years left on my term, and I plan to continue to work for the betterment of the universities and special schools," Evans said.
Listen to a live stream of the telephonic meeting at http://www.regents.iowa.gov/Meetings/meetingnotices.html.