|Letter sent to Iowa Board of
Regents and Governor Terry Branstad on March 3rd, 2012
Dear member of the Board of Regents,
I regret to report that I will be filing a lawsuit against you in
the next two weeks. My intent is to bring sharp and very public
focus to a lack of oversight where the Regentís system has failed me
and can potentially harm others.
As a loyal employee of the University of Iowa who has worked
assiduously to build the institution and represent it in the best
possible manner everywhere I work around the world, it grieves me to
be brought to this point. However, if you check the record you
will see that I have done everything in my power to resolve this
issue through formal and less public channels. (Even discouraging
newspaper stories.) However, the statute of limitations is
about to run out and Iím tired of waiting for someone with a soul to
step up to the plate.
As you will learn, lies have been told about this situation and your
Executive Director has mindlessly parroted these lies on your
This issues stems from the poor maintenance of a University of Iowa
rental property that went unaddressed despite months of complaint.
I was exposed to large quantities of mold, I became very ill, and
developed a late-in-life mold allergy that continues to cause me
The worst thing, though, and the reason I am demanding a Regentís
rule change, is that the University of Iowa simply painted over the
mold and moved five students into the house the day I left.
This unconscionable act has been rationalized at every step up the
chain of command. Even your board --the rule makers charged with
oversight -- has whitewashed the matter, declining to do an even
cursory investigation, employing transparent fabrications to avoid
Iím not asking a lot, just...
-- that the University takes full responsibility for the
mismanagement of their property
-- that I be reimbursed my immediate and future out-of-pocket
-- that my stuff -- currently stored in a climate controlled shed --
be restored or replaced
-- and, most importantly, that Regents rules are changed to allow
third party inspectors (city and county) to scrutinize Regentsí
This last point is important: the current situation has the fox
guarding the hen house. My complaints went unaddressed for months,
with at least one UI employee brazenly lying about the problem.
City and county inspectors refused to get involved because of a
Regentís rule prohibition. (The state ombudsperson has indeed
clarified this situation.)
It is a shame that common citizens and decent employees have to
resort to lawsuits to have their grievances addressed in your
system. I was even denied the right to present this matter to
the Board. I suspect that there must be some sort of systemic
reward for behaving the way the Board does. But I am not one
to walk away from an injustice. At last count, I have raised this
issue with more than two dozen responsible parties, including a
gaggle of state legislators and a national environmental advocacy
group. I know how to put up a good fight and I know how to
recruit people to a good cause.
I know some of you personally. I understand that you have your
reasons for not intervening. Thatís fine. ďItís the
system.Ē So Iím sure youíll understand, while I campaign for
greater accountability over the next few months (or years, if you
wish), that itís not personal.
More information, at least what the public will be reading soon, can
be found at this currently-unlisted Web site.
-- Cliff Missen
Copyright 2008-2013 by Cliff Missen