U of I Doesn’t Admit Violations, but Settles Lawsuit Filed in Bruce Harreld Case

The University of Iowa has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming that its 2015 presidential search violated the state’s Open Meetings Law.

The university doesn’t admit any violations in the settlement, which was made public Wednesday, but UI
has agreed to abide by several transparency measures during future presidential searches, including streaming the open portions of search committee hearings and giving three days notice for such meetings whenever possible.

The deal resolves a lawsuit that had initially been filed by retired professor Harold Hammond during the 2015 search, which resulted in the controversial hiring of business consultant Bruce Harreld.  Retired professor John Menninger refiled the case after Hammond died in 2016.

The case alleged that the 23 search committee members improperly met outside the state and improperly closed meetings.  Attorney Gregg Geerdes, who Urepresented both men, will receive $55,000 in legal fees.