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 behalf.

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 misery today.

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 taking responsibility.

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 expenses
-- 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 properties

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.

http://cliffmissen.com/219melrose

Best regards,

-- Cliff Missen
 

 


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