Senators Play a Friendly Game of Softball at Craig Lang Confirmation Hearing

Craig Lang, former president of the Farm Bureau, has been appointed by Governor Branstad to another six-year term as president of the Iowa Board of Regents. Lang’s agenda in his controversial first term on the Board of Regents has been to politicize this position and run our public universities as if they are private corporations — and if he is confirmed to another term, you can be sure he’ll continue taking Iowa down this failed path.

And let’s not forget that Lang is best friends with Bruce Rastetter, his partner in crime on the Regents and the man behind the AgriSol Tanzania project that dragged ISU’s name through the mud.

The Senate has to confirm Lang’s appointment, so today CCI members were up at the Capitol as the Education committee brought Lang in to answer some questions. This was the perfect opportunity to grill Lang on how he and his corporate cronies are trying to make as much money off of Iowa’s public universities as possible — but instead, the Senators spent most of the meeting lobbing Lang softball questions.

The meeting only got interesting towards the end, when Lang revealed that his number one goal on the Board was to get re-confirmed — not improve our universities, make the Board more transparent, or broadening access to higher education.

The other good questions asked concerned academic freedom, the right of professors to pursue research without outside political pressure. Last month, the news broke that Rastetter abused his influence once again, this time to silence a professor at the University of Iowa who published research that the corporate ag industry didn’t like. As Lang claimed that, during his term, “There’s no infringement on academic freedom. I haven’t found a faculty member who thinks there was,” Senator Quirmbach, a professor at Iowa State interrupted, saying “You just found one.”

Quirmbach’s comment was good, but we need to keep up the pressure on the Senate to hold Lang and the Regents accountable! Lang’s appointment will be coming up for a vote on the floor of the Senate in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to find out more about this crucial decision.

 

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