Iowa Public Television

 

Michael Gartner

posted on June 21, 2005

Glover: WITH FOUR NEW MEMBERS, THE IOWA BOARD OF REGENTS HAS A NEW LOOK TO IT, INCLUDING A NEW PRESIDENT TO DIRECT IOWA'S THREE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS. JOINING US IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS, MICHAEL GARTNER, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JUNE 10 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: OUR GUEST THIS WEEK HAS JOINED US ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE, WEARING A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT HATS. THIS TIME HE JOINS US AS A MEMBER OF THE IOWA BOARD OF REGENTS, IN FACT AS PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD. IN A TIME OF HIGH TURNOVER ON THE NINE-MEMBER BOARD IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, MICHAEL GARTNER ANSWERED THE CALL OF GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK TO JOIN THE BOARD, AND HIS FELLOW REGENTS ELECTED HIM PRESIDENT. GARTNER'S TENURE COMES AT A TIME WHEN THE REGENTS HAVE BEEN HIT HARD BY TIGHT STATE BUDGETS. IN FACT, MOST STATEHOUSE OBSERVERS SAY THE REGENTS WERE SO-CALLED BUDGET LOSERS IN THE PAST FIVE BUDGET CYCLES. THAT MEANS CHANGE IS AHEAD. IN FACT, IT'S ALREADY HERE. AND SOMETIMES CHANGE DOESN'T COME EASY IN ENTRENCHED INSTITUTIONS. MICHAEL GARTNER, WE WELCOME YOU TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AND TO THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE.

Gartner: THANK YOU, MIKE.

Glover: ALSO WITH US AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE ARE TODD DORMAN, CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF WITH "THE LEE NEWSPAPERS," AND KAY HENDERSON, NEWS DIRECTOR WITH "RADIO IOWA."

Henderson: SIR, LET'S TALK ABOUT TUITION, WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO STUDENTS AND PARENTS ACROSS THE STATE. THE GOVERNOR THIS WEEK SAID THAT THERE WAS NO NEED TO RAISE TUITION, THAT EXTRA MONEY COULD BE FOUND IN OTHER PLACES IN STATE GOVERNMENT. MEANWHILE THE THREE PRESIDENTS OF THE INSTITUTIONS IN AMES, CEDAR FALLS, AND IOWA CITY ARE ASKING FOR A 3-PERCENT INCREASE IN TUITION FOR THE SEMESTER THAT STARTS IN -- THE SECOND SEMESTER OF THE COMING ACADEMIC YEAR. WHAT DECISION WILL THE BOARD MAKE?

Gartner: WELL, THERE'S A VERY CLEAR PROCESS THAT YOU GO THROUGH, AND WE'RE GOING THROUGH THAT PROCESS RIGHT NOW. THE PRESIDENTS HAVE FORMALLY ASKED FOR THIS, AND THE REGENTS MUST MAKE UP THEIR MIND BY THE JULY MEETING. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY REALLY WANTS TO RAISE TUITION FOR THEIR STUDENTS OF IOWA AND THEIR PARENTS. AND THE GOVERNOR IS LOOKING IN EVERY POT AND PAIL HE HAS TO TRY TO HELP US. HOW IT ALL COMES OUT, I DON'T KNOW AND WE WON'T KNOW FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, EXCEPT I DON'T THINK WE WERE A BUDGET LOSER THIS TIME, MIKE. THE FUNDING FOR THE REGENTS HAS GONE FROM CLOSE TO $600 MILLION A YEAR DOWN TO CLOSE TO $500 MILLION A YEAR OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS. THIS YEAR IT DID TURN AROUND. WE RECEIVED AN EXTRA, IF YOU COUNT EVERYTHING, $29- OR $30 MILLION OVER WHAT WE HAD, AND WE'RE STILL HOPING TO -- WE FIND A LITTLE BIT HERE, A LITTLE BIT THERE TO TRY TO GET US ENOUGH MONEY SO WE DON'T HAVE TO RAISE THE TUITION ON THE PARENTS AND THE KIDS. TIME WILL TELL.

Glover: WELL, DURING THE SESSION WHEN THEY WERE CONSIDERING THE REGENTS BUDGET, YOU PUT OUT A STATEMENT SAYING IF YOU DON'T GIVE US SOME MORE MONEY, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO RAISE TUITION. WAS THAT A BARGAINING TACTIC?

Gartner: OH, I DON'T THINK IT WAS A BARGAINING TACTIC, MIKE. I THINK IT WAS JUST A STATEMENT OF THE REALITY. YOU KNOW, THERE'S ONLY TWO SOURCES -- MAIN SOURCES FOR MONEY FOR THE UNIVERSITIES. ONE IS LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATIONS AND THE OTHER IS TUITION. AND OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS, THE AMOUNT THAT -- OF EDUCATION THAT THE LEGISLATURE HAS PAID FOR HAS RANGED FROM -- GONE FROM ABOUT TWO-THIRDS, MAYBE 63 PERCENT, DOWN TO SLIGHTLY UNDER 50 PERCENT, SO THAT MEANS TUITION HAS GONE UP. IT'S GONE UP DRAMATICALLY. THE REGENTS AND THE PRESIDENTS DON'T HAVE A LOT OF CHOICES. IT'S NOT LIKE THERE'S SOME WONDERFUL BIG THIRD SOURCE. THERE'S NOT GAMBLING AND LOTTERIES OR THINGS LIKE THAT. AND EVERYBODY HAS THE SAME GOAL, WHICH IS TO PROVIDE A GREAT EDUCATION FOR THE PEOPLE OF IOWA AND THE STUDENTS OF IOWA. AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO BALANCE, ALL THOSE ISSUES.

Henderson: IN THEIR MEMO TO YOU REQUESTING THAT 3-PERCENT TUITION INCREASE, THE PRESIDENTS ALL CITED THE FACT THAT THEY NEEDED TO RAISE SALARIES TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE, THAT THEY'RE LOSING FACULTY. DO YOU AGREE THAT THIS IS A SITUATION, SORT OF A BREAKING POINT FOR THESE INSTITUTIONS?

Gartner: I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S A BREAKING POINT OR NOT, KAY, BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT SALARIES, ESPECIALLY AT IOWA AND IOWA STATE, ARE THE LOWEST OR CLOSE TO THE LOWEST OF THOSE AMONG THEIR PEER GROUPS. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT SALARIES ARE A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR IN KEEPING THE VERY BEST TEACHERS, AND THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT SALARIES ARE A HIGH PRIORITY FOR THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS AND FOR THE REGENTS.

Dorman: BUT AT THE BOTTOM LINE, IF THE GOVERNOR FINDS MORE MONEY AND POLITICIANS ARE OUT THERE SAYING THAT THE TUITION HIKE ISN'T NECESSARY, DOES THAT PUT PRESSURE ON YOU NOT TO INCREASE TUITION OR DOES IT MAKE IT LESS LIKELY THAT THERE WILL BE AN INCREASE?

Gartner: I THINK ONE OF THE NICE THINGS ABOUT THIS BOARD OF REGENTS IS THEY'RE NINE TERRIFIC PEOPLE WHO TRY TO MAKE THEIR DECISIONS BASED ON THE FACTS AT HAND, NOT ON PRESSURES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER IT'S PRESSURES -- POLITICAL PRESSURES, PARENTAL PRESSURES, PRESSURES FROM THE FACULTY. WE TRY TO CALMLY LOOK AT THE FACTS AND DETERMINE WHAT THE BEST THING IS, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING RIGHT NOW.

Glover: I'D LIKE YOU TO STEP BACK AND SORT OF LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE AND STEP AWAY FROM THE ISSUES OF THE MOMENT, THE ISSUES OF THE DAY. ONE OF THE GOALS OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION IN THIS STATE AND IN THIS COUNTRY, IN FACT, IS TO MAKE HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESSIBLE TO THE MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING FAMILIES. ARE WE NEARING THE POINT IN THIS STATE WHERE HIGHER EDUCATION IS NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE TO THE WORKING CLASS?

Gartner: I DON'T THINK SO, MIKE, BUT IT'S AN IMPORTANT ENOUGH ISSUE THAT ABOUT A WEEK AGO I SENT A NOTE TO THREE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS AND TO TERESA WAHLERT, A REGENT, AND GREG NICHOLS, WHO IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE REGENTS, ASKING THEM TO BE A COMMITTEE OF FIVE, NOT TO LOOK AT THE TUITION AS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW, THAT ISSUE, BUT TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE ISSUE OF TUITION: WHAT SHOULD IT BE; IS THERE SOME WAY -- YOU KNOW, UNCERTAINTY IS THE WORST THING TO DEAL WITH. AND IF YOUR DAUGHTER GOES TO GO TO ENROLL IN SCHOOL, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TUITION IS GOING TO BE NEXT YEAR, MAYBE EVEN NEXT SEMESTER. SO IS THERE SOME WAY WE CAN WORK OUT A SYSTEM WHERE THERE'S A GUARANTEED TUITION FOR FOUR YEARS? IS THERE SOME WAY WHERE WE CAN WORK OUT A SYSTEM SO THAT MAYBE YOU PAY MORE FOR CERTAIN THINGS AND LESS FOR CERTAIN THINGS? HOW DOES IT WORK? IS THERE SOME WAY WE CAN WORK OUT A SYSTEM SO YOU'RE ENCOURAGED TO LIVE IN THE DORMITORIES FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS, WHERE STUDIES SHOW YOU DO BETTER ACADEMICALLY? CAN WE IMPROVE ON THE ALREADY GOOD SYSTEM THAT ENCOURAGES FOUR-YEAR MATRICULATION? SO THOSE ARE REALLY THE ISSUES, WHICH ARE: HOW CAN WE BEST EDUCATE THE STUDENTS; HOW CAN WE PROVIDE A CERTAINTY TO THEM AND THEIR PARENTS ABOUT WHAT THE COST IS; HOW CAN WE MAKE IT AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE IN THE STATE OF IOWA, ALL THE TIME HAVING EXCELLENT UNIVERSITIES.

Henderson: REGENTS SORT OF OFFERED A DEAL TO LEGISLATORS; YOU GIVE US $40 MILLION MORE STATE TAX DOLLARS, AND WE WILL COMPLETE THIS SO-CALLED TRANSFORMATION PROCESS. GET BEYOND THE BUZZ WORD. TELL IOWANS WHAT YOU MEAN BY A TRANSFORMATION PROCESS. WHAT WILL BE THE TANGIBLE RESULTS OF THAT?

Gartner: I THINK, KAY, THE TANGIBLE RESULTS OF THAT WILL BE TO REALLOCATE MONEY INTO AREAS THAT ARE OF PRIME IMPORTANCE BOTH TO THE STUDENTS, TO THEIR PARENTS, AND TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. THAT MIGHT INCLUDE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS, WHICH HAVEN'T BEEN GOING ON, ESPECIALLY IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE BIOSCIENCES. IT MIGHT INCLUDE RECRUITING OF FACULTY STARS IN CERTAIN AREAS WHERE THE UNIVERSITIES REALLY WANT TO EXCEL. IT MIGHT INCLUDE FINDING NEW WAYS TO BRING IN -- TO BRING IN MORE STUDENTS. SO THAT'S -- AND TO OFFERING MORE COURSES THAT ARE MORE RELEVANT TODAY THAN IN THE PAST. THAT'S WHAT THE TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM IS ALL ABOUT, AND BASICALLY -- AND THIS WAS JOHN FORSYTH'S IDEA, WHO WAS A TERRIFIC REGENT. AND BASICALLY THEY SAID, THE UNIVERSITY, IF YOU GIVE US $40 MILLION A YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS, WE'LL REALLOCATE $20 MILLION A YEAR THAT WE HAVE INTO THAT AND THEN YOU TAKE THE $20 MILLION IN NEW TUITION MONEY AND YOU HAVE $80 MILLION A YEAR. SO THIS YEAR WE'VE GOTTEN AROUND $30 MILLION. I MEAN THAT'S NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT. THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS ARE SO COMMITTED TO THIS TRANSFORMATION PROCESS THAT THEY HAVE INCREASED THE AMOUNT FROM $20 MILLION THAT THEY'RE PUTTING IN TO $25 MILLION THIS YEAR TO SHOW THEIR GOOD FAITH, TO SHOW HOW HOW IMPORTANT -- HOW IMPORTANT IT IS, AND TO KEEP THE TRANSFORMATION PROCESS MOVING. SO WHERE YOU END UP WITH IS UNIVERSITIES THAT ARE SLIGHTLY REFOCUSED ONTO AREAS THAT ARE MORE RELEVANT TODAY. YOU END UP WITH UNIVERSITIES THAT ARE MORE INVOLVED IN STATE ISSUES, WHETHER IT'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OR SIMILAR. I LIKE TO THINK THAT THE UNIVERSITIES HAVE THREE FUNCTIONS: ONE IS TO EDUCATE; ONE IS TO INNOVATE IN THE CLASSROOM AND THE LABORATORY; AND ONE IS TO PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPATE AS CITIZENS, PARTICIPATE AS PARTS OF THE ECONOMY. AND THAT'S WHAT THE TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM IS ABOUT.

Dorman: THE GOVERNOR SIGNED LEGISLATION YESTERDAY REVIVING THE IOWA VALUES FUND, AND THE THREE UNIVERSITIES ARE EXPECTED TO GET $5 MILLION EACH YEAR FROM THE VALUES FUND. EXACTLY WHAT IS THAT GOING TO BE USED FOR?

Gartner: THE THREE UNIVERSITIES WILL COMPETE FOR THAT MONEY TO TRY TO COME UP WITH INNOVATIVE IDEAS IN WHICH THAT MONEY CAN HELP FUND THIS AREA. IT'S TO ENCOURAGE INNOVATION, IT'S TO ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION, AND IT'S TO ENCOURAGE EDUCATION. IT'S TOO HELP MAKE THE UNIVERSITIES FULL PARTNERS, FULL CITIZENS IN THE ECONOMIC RESURGENCE OF THE STATE OF IOWA.

Dorman: DOES THE -- HOW DO THE UNIVERSITIES, I GUESS, BALANCE THE CONCERN THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE RESEARCH FUNDED FOR PROFIT TO CREATE PRODUCTS AND INNOVATIONS THAT CAN MAKE MONEY VERSUS KIND OF THE PEER RESEARCH, THE THINGS THAT UNIVERSITIES DO JUST IN THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE AND IN THE PURSUIT OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE? HOW DO YOU BALANCE THOSE TWO KIND OF COMPETING CONCERNS WITH LIMITED RESOURCES?

Gartner: WELL, YOU HAVE TO DO BOTH. YOU HAVE TO DO BASIC RESEARCH. YOU HAVE TO DO APPLIED RESEARCH. AND I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU BALANCE IT. AND THAT'S REALLY UP TO THE -- UP TO THE DEANS AND THE PROFESSORS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BALANCE IT, BUT THERE MUST BE -- THERE MUST BE A BALANCE IN THERE. AND THERE IS, YOU KNOW. JUST LOOK AT THE NUMBERS OF PATENTS THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY HAVE RECEIVED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. IOWA STATE IS ALWAYS AMONG THE LEADERS IN NUMBERS OF PATENTS HELD AND NUMBERS OF PATENTS APPLIED FOR AND RECEIVED. SO THERE'S -- THEY'RE BOTH TREMENDOUS RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES. IT'S ONE OF THE FEW STATES IN WHICH BOTH MAJOR UNIVERSITIES ARE MEMBERS OF THIS ELITE GROUP OF RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES, WHICH IS ONLY 63 UNIVERSITIES NATIONWIDE. SO IT'S -- IT'S ALWAYS A STRUGGLE BUT IT SEEMS TO WORK OUT.

Henderson: FOR THE PAST YEAR, GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS BEEN HAMMERING AWAY AT THE IDEA THAT HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION IN IOWA NEEDS TO BE MORE RIGOROUS FOR STUDENTS. AS YOU LOOK AT THE REPORTS FOR THE STUDENTS WHO ARE ENTERING THE THREE INSTITUTIONS, THE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN IOWA, DO YOU SEE EVIDENCE THAT THE HIGH SCHOOL NEEDS TO BE MORE RIGOROUS?

Gartner: WHAT I SEE, KAY, IS EVIDENCE THAT THERE HAS TO BE FAR MORE COOPERATION AMONG THE WHOLE CONTINUUM OF EDUCATION FROM PRE-KINDERGARTEN TO CONTINUED LEARNING FOR SENIOR CITIZENS, THAT YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THE REGENTS AS AN ISOLATED OPERATION OR AT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES AS AN ISOLATED OPERATION OR K-12 OR PRE-K. YOU HAVE TO -- YOU HAVE TO START WHEN KIDS ARE VERY, VERY YOUNG, AND IT HAS TO BE -- THERE HAS TO BE FAR MORE COORDINATION AMONG ALL THE BUREAUCRACIES OF EDUCATION IN THE STATE. SO SURE, HE'S RIGHT. THE KIDS -- THE KIDS AREN'T AS PREPARED TODAY AS THEY SHOULD BE. WHOSE FAULT IS IT? WHO KNOWS. PARTLY PARENTS, PARTLY TEACHERS, PARTLY LEGISLATORS, PARTLY REGENTS, PARTLY KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS. WE ALL SHARE THE BLAME.

Glover: I'M GOING TO PLAY BIG PICTURE GUY AGAIN.

Gartner: YOU'RE REALLY GREAT AT THAT.

Glover: WE ALWAYS -- WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT SORT OF THE INS AND OUTS AND DETAILS OF EDUCATION FUNDING. STEP BACK AND TELL ME WHERE THIS STATE RANKS IN THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF THAT CONTINUUM, STARTING WITH EARLY CHILDHOOD THROUGH K-12 AND INTO PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION AND PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION.

Gartner: I'M NOT QUALIFIED TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION, MIKE, SO I CAN'T ANSWER THAT QUESTION. I CAN TELL YOU ABOUT THE REGENTS AND WHERE THEY STAND, AND THAT IS THAT THE UNIVERSITIES ARE CONSIDERED -- ALL THREE UNIVERSITIES ARE CONSIDERED TO BE EXCELLENT UNIVERSITIES BY WHATEVER YARDSTICK YOU USE, WHETHER IT'S THE "U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT" RANKINGS OR WHATEVER. I CAN TELL YOU THAT EDUCATION -- HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE STATE OF IOWA ITSELF, ONE MEASURE OF IT IS WE ARE A NET IMPORTER OF COLLEGE STUDENTS. IF YOU TAKE -- IF YOU TAKE ALL THE STATES AND YOU LOOK AT THEIR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES, HOW MANY STAY IN THEIR OWN STATE AND HOW MANY GO OUT? IOWA IS ONE OF THE FIVE HIGHEST IN THE NUMBER OF KIDS WHO STAY IN THEIR OWN STATE TO GO TO COLLEGE, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, AND IT'S ALSO ONE OF THE VERY HIGHEST IN ITS DRAW FROM THE OTHER STATES. SO I GUESS THAT THAT'S ONE MEASURE OF HOW HIGHER EDUCATION IS IN THE STATE OF IOWA, WHICH IS IT'S VERY, VERY GOOD. IOWA HAS ALWAYS PRIZED EDUCATION.

Glover: TODD?

Dorman: WELL, IN THE LEGISLATURE, IT SEEMED LIKE IN RECENT YEARS THERE'S BEEN THIS KIND OF WAR BETWEEN K-12 EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION FOR A SCARCE AMOUNT OF DOLLARS. IS THERE ANY SIGN THAT WE'RE CALLING A TRUCE TO THIS BATTLE, OR IS IT ALWAYS JUST GOING TO BE THIS WAY, YOU HELP ONE, YOU HURT THE OTHER?

Gartner: YOU KNOW, I GUESS THE BEST WAY I COULD ANSWER THAT, TODD, IS IT USED TO BE THAT THERE WERE FIGHTS IN THE LEGISLATURE AMONG THE THREE UNIVERSITIES FOR MONEY. IOWA WOULD BE ARGUING FOR THIS, IOWA STATE FOR THAT, AND UNI FOR THAT. WE NOW HAVE A COORDINATED EFFORT AMONG THE THREE UNIVERSITIES. I WOULD HOPE THAT THE DAY COMES WHERE THERE'S A COORDINATED EFFORT AMONG EDUCATION AS A WHOLE TO SAY WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES FOR SPENDING, HOW CAN WE DO THIS. I MEAN THERE ARE ALWAYS PAROCHIAL ISSUES WHERE SOMEBODY WANTS SOMETHING AND IS NOT GOING TO AGREE ON PRIORITY, BUT I THINK THAT THE EDUCATION COMPLEX IS BEGINNING TO WORK WELL TOGETHER, THE COMPLEXES WORK WELL TOGETHER THE WAY THE UNIVERSITIES NOW DO. AND I THINK THAT THE DAY WILL COME WHERE IT BECOMES LESS COMBATIVE AND MORE COLLEGIAL.

Henderson: ONE OF THE REASONS YOU'RE SITTING AS PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS IS BECAUSE OF A DISPUTE INVOLVING THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITALS AND CLINICS AND WELLMARK. CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON THAT?

Gartner: THE CONTRACT HAS NOT YET BEEN SIGNED BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITALS AND WELLMARK. IT EXPIRES AT THE END OF THE YEAR. I HAVE EVERY HOPE THAT AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE WILL BE REACHED SHORTLY, WITHIN DAYS I HOPE. I'VE TALKED TO PRESIDENT SKORTON ABOUT IT ENDLESSLY. WE HAVE HAD, AS THE DIPLOMATS SAY, FULL, FRANK, AND CANDID DISCUSSIONS. I BELIEVE IT'S IN THE VERY BEST INTEREST OF THE HOSPITAL TO TRY TO STRIKE AS GOOD A DEAL AS IT CAN AND MAKE A QUICK DEAL BEFORE THE LACK OF A DEAL STARTS ERODING ITS BUSINESS.

Glover: IN A PREVIOUS LIFE YOU WERE HEAD OF THE BOARD THAT RAN THE VISION IOWA PROGRAM.

Gartner: I WAS.

Glover: TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE FALLOUT FROM THAT. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE GREAT PLACES -- THE INITIATIVE THAT'S REPLACED IT? WHERE SHOULD WE MOVE FROM HERE?

Gartner: WELL, I THINK -- AND I'M NOT AN UNBIASED OBSERVER -- THAT IT WAS A BIG SUCCESS. I THINK THAT ANYWHERE YOU DRIVE IN THIS STATE AND YOU SEE SOMETHING NEAT THAT'S BEEN DONE IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, YOU WILL FIND OUT THERE'S VISION IOWA MONEY OR CAT MONEY IN IT. WHETHER IT'S THIS TERRIFIC WETLANDS NORTH OF AMES, WHETHER IT'S ALL OF DOWNTOWN DES MOINES, THE DUBUQUE WATERFRONT, THE LITTLE MUSEUM IN GLADBROOK, THE MOVIE THEATER IN GRUNDY CENTER -- GUTHRIE CENTER. IT'S EVERYWHERE. AND I THINK -- AND LIBRARIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE, TRAILS THROUGHOUT THE STATE. I THINK IT HAS CHANGED THE FACE OF THE STATE OF IOWA, SO I'M IMMENSELY PROUD. IT WAS A TERRIFIC BOARD. IT WAS A GREAT IDEA THAT THE GOVERNOR HAD. IT WAS TERRIFIC THAT THE LEGISLATURE PASSED IT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. AND WE HANDED OUT BETWEEN THE PROGRAMS, WE PROBABLY -- 100 -- PROBABLY CLOSE TO 200 GRANTS; $300 MILLION WE LEVERAGED INTO $2.5 BILLION IN SPENDING. AND THAT PROGRAM IS CONTINUING UNDER ANDY ANDERSON, WHO IS NOW THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND IS A FIRST-RATE CITIZEN AND A GOOD CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD. THEY STILL HAVE QUITE A BIT OF CAT MONEY LEFT. I WOULD HOPE THAT IN THE FUTURE THE BIG MONEY WILL BE -- A SECOND ROUND OF BIG MONEY WILL COME IN BECAUSE THERE ARE STILL SOME VERY LARGE PROJECTS, MORE RIVERFRONT PROJECTS IN DAVENPORT, FOR INSTANCE, THAT SHOULD BE FUNDED AND COULD BE FUNDED.

Dorman: VISION IOWA WAS DESIGNED IN PART TO KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE STATE, BUT IN SOME OF THE UNIVERSITY TOWNS, YOUNG PEOPLE HAVEN'T BEEN ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. DO YOU THINK THE BOARD OF REGENTS IS DOING ENOUGH TO KIND OF HEAD OFF THE PROBLEMS THAT WERE ENCOUNTERED IN AMES DURING THE VEISHA CELEBRATION LAST YEAR AND OTHER ALCOHOL-FUELED DISTURBANCES OF THAT TYPE?

Gartner: YOUNG PEOPLE AND ALCOHOL CAN BE A DEADLY MIX. I THINK THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITIES, THE PRESIDENTS OF THE STUDENT BODIES, THE DEANS OF STUDENTS WORK VERY, VERY HARD TO EDUCATE KIDS ABOUT ALCOHOL, TO WORK WITH THE TOWN'S LEADERS ABOUT ALCOHOL. AND YOU JUST HOPE THAT THE COMBUSTION DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN. BUT KIDS ARE KIDS. AND YOU HOPE THEY LEARN RESPONSIBILITY, AND YOU HOPE THERE AREN'T TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE RESULTS. AND I THINK THAT THE PRESIDENTS AND THE STUDENT BODY LEADERS IN THE TOWNS ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN. AND YOU GET THE SENSE THAT SINCE THAT VEISHA RIOT, THAT THE SITUATION IS MUCH BETTER. THERE IS AN ISSUE IN IOWA CITY OF WHO SHOULD GO IN BARS AND WHO SHOULDN'T GO IN BARS, A TOUGH ISSUE. BUT IT'S FOREMOST ON EVERYBODY'S MIND AND EVERYBODY IS WORKING HARD TO KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL.

Glover: TALK TO ME ABOUT THE BALANCE HERE. WHAT'S THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY IN POLICING THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR, AND WHAT'S THE ROLE OF THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES IN THOSE TOWNS? SHOULD WE JUST LEAVE IT TO THE CITIES? SHOULD THE UNIVERSITY BE INVOLVED? WHAT'S THE MIX THERE?

Gartner: I THINK THAT THE UNIVERSITY HAS TO ESTABLISH THE CULTURE. I THINK THAT THE UNIVERSITY HAS TO EDUCATE, AND I THINK THAT THE TOWNS HAVE TO ENFORCE THE LAWS. THAT'S BASICALLY IT. I THINK THAT TOWNS LIKE AMES AND IOWA CITY AND CEDAR FALLS, YOU HAVE TO HAVE AUTHORITIES WHO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MISCHIEF AND CRIME AND ACT ACCORDINGLY, AND I THINK WE DO IN THOSE CITIES.

Henderson: AS A LEADER OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS, YOU ALSO OVERSEE SPECIAL SCHOOLS IN VINTON AND COUNCIL BLUFFS, WHICH EDUCATE BLIND AND DEAF STUDENTS. THERE'S A REVIEW UNDERWAY. ARE THOSE SCHOOLS NEEDED IN AN ERA IN WHICH PARENTS ARE NOW SENDING THEIR BLIND AND DEAF CHILDREN TO LOCAL SCHOOLS?

Gartner: THE REVIEW IS AT THE IOWA SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND, NOT THE IOWA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF. THE IOWA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF JUST CELEBRATED IT'S 150TH YEAR LAST WEEKEND. I WENT OVER FOR THE BANQUET, WHICH WAS ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR, AND I STAYED FOR THE GRADUATION THE NEXT DAY. IT IS ONE OF THE JEWELS OF IOWA. THE IOWA SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND ALSO SERVES A WONDERFUL -- A WONDERFUL PURPOSE AND A WONDERFUL FUNCTION. IT DEALS WITH STUDENTS IN -- A DIFFERENT KIND OF STUDENT AND STUDENTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY. AND I THINK THE REVIEW UNDERWAY THERE IS HOW SHOULD RESOURCES BE USED IN DEALING WITH THOSE WHO ARE MAINSTREAMED IN THEIR OWN SCHOOL SYSTEM VERSUS THOSE WHO COME TO VINTON, AND HOW CAN WE USE OTHER RESOURCES WITHIN THE STATE, THE EXPERTS AT UNI, THE EXPERTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT THAT REVIEW WAS ALL ABOUT, AND IT'S MOVING ALONG AT A NICE PACE.

Dorman: THE FACE OF THE UNIVERSITIES THAT YOU REPRESENT IS A LOT OF TIMES THE ATHLETIC PROGRAMS AND, UNFORTUNATELY, LATELY SOME OF THOSE FACES HAVE BEEN IN MUG SHOTS. WITH THE PIERRE PIERCE CASE AND THE JASON BERRYMAN CASE IN AMES, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE WAY THAT THE UNIVERSITIES ARE HANDLING ATHLETICS -- OR ATHLETES THAT GET INTO TROUBLE?

Gartner: I DON'T THINK ANYONE WAS COMFORTABLE WITH -- IN THE FIRST PIERRE PIERCE SITUATION, BECAUSE IT HAPPENED AGAIN, ALLEGEDLY. I'M SATISFIED THAT THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITIES, THE ATHLETIC DIRECTORS, AND THE COACHES ARE DISTRAUGHT WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS. DISTRAUGHT, FIRST OF ALL, BECAUSE THEIR STUDENTS ARE INVOLVED AND IT CAN RUIN LIVES. DISTRAUGHT, SECOND, BECAUSE A PROCESS HAS FAILED WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENS. THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HAS BEEN REVIEWING ITS PROCESS. IT HAS A NEW -- SOME NEW PROPOSALS ON THE TABLE. I AM CONVINCED THAT EVERYONE TAKES IT VERY, VERY SERIOUSLY. I AM CONVINCED THAT IT'S NO QUESTION OF A BLACK MARK ON A UNIVERSITY WHEN AN ATHLETE, BECAUSE ATHLETES ARE MORE VISIBLE THAN ENGLISH MAJORS, WHEN AN ATHLETE GETS IN TROUBLE. AND I'M CONVINCED THAT EVERYONE IS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO STOP IT.

Henderson: BUT DOES THE BOARD OF REGENTS NEED TO ESTABLISH A POLICY THAT APPLIES TO ALL THREE SCHOOLS IN REGARDS TO ATHLETES AND HOW THEY'RE TREATED IN THESE INSTANCES?

Gartner: I THINK ULTIMATELY THERE WILL BE A UNIFORM POLICY.

Henderson: BY WHEN?

Gartner: I DON'T KNOW. THERE'S A LOT OF ISSUES ON THE TABLE, KAY, BUT THAT'S CERTAINLY ON THE TABLE AS WELL, IS HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ISSUES LIKE THAT. BUT IT'S NOT JUST ATHLETES.

Dorman: BUT IS THIS A SITUATION THAT REALLY SHOULD BE TROUBLING FOLKS, OR IS THE MEDIA BLOWING THIS OUT OF PROPORTION? IS THIS THE KIND OF THING THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN HAPPENING BUT NOW THE TOLERANCE IS LOWER AND WE'RE GETTING -- WE'RE PAYING A LOT MORE ATTENTION TO THIS?

Gartner: I THINK THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN ISSUES OF STUDENTS WHO DO STUPID THINGS, SOME THINGS BEING CRIMINAL AND SOME THINGS JUST BEING STUPID. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT AS ATHLETICS PLAY A LARGER AND LARGER ROLE IN UNIVERSITIES, THE SPOTLIGHT GETS BRIGHTER AND BRIGHTER. WHETHER THERE'S MORE NOW OR LESS NOW, I HAVE NO IDEA. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE MEDIA IS MAKING IT OUT OF PROPORTION. I THINK THAT THE INCIDENTS SHOULD BE EXPLORED BY THE MEDIA, SHOULD BE EXPOSED BY THE MEDIA, AND THAT THE MEDIA SERVES A GREAT PURPOSE NOT ONLY IN BRINGING IT TO LIGHT BUT IN FORCING PUBLIC OPINION TO DEMAND THAT SOMETHING BE DONE ABOUT IT.

Henderson: AS LONG AS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ATHLETICS, YOU'RE INVOLVED WITH THAT ENTERPRISE HERE IN DES MOINES AT THE IOWA CUBS. WHAT IS THE --

Gartner: HOME THIS WEEKEND, I SHOULD POINT OUT. GOOD TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Henderson: WHAT HAS THE STEROID SCANDAL MEANT TO BASEBALL, IN YOUR OPINION?

Gartner: IT HASN'T AFFECTED MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AT ALL, BY ANY MEASUREMENT. I THINK THAT IT'S BEEN AN AWFUL THING FOR MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. I THINK THAT MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS FINALLY DEALING WITH IT. COMMISSIONER SELIG ESPECIALLY IS FINALLY DEALING WITH IT. I THINK THAT HISTORY WILL LOOK BACK ON IT THE WAY THEY LOOK BACK ON THE BLACK SOX.

Henderson: IN REGARDS TO THE SPORTING ENVIRONMENT IN DES MOINES, THERE'S A GROWING AND GROWING SPORTING ENVIRONMENT. YOU HAVE MAJOR LEAGUE HOCKEY. YOU MAY HAVE ARENA FOOTBALL. WILL THE I-CUBS BE ABLE TO COMPETE IN THAT NEW ENVIRONMENT?

Gartner: THE MORE THE BETTER. THERE'S A -- THERE'S A KIND OF A MASS MENTALITY. FOR INSTANCE, WHEN WE HAD ARENA FOOTBALL BEFORE, WHEN THEY HAD A HOME GAME ON SATURDAY AND WE DID TOO, WE WOULD ALWAYS DO BETTER THAN IF THEY DIDN'T. LIKE WHEN THE BIG ART SHOWS ARE ON DOWNTOWN, WE ALWAYS DO BETTER. PEOPLE THINK LET'S GO DOWNTOWN, AND A CERTAIN PERCENT WILL SAY LET'S GO -- LET'S GO WATCH THE CUBS. SOME WILL SAY LET'S GO TO THE ARTS SHOW. SOME WILL SAY LET'S GO TO THE MILLER LITE BAR. OTHERS WILL SAY LET'S GO WATCH THE HOCKEY OR ARENA TEAM. SO THE MORE THERE IS GOING ON DOWNTOWN, THE HAPPIER THE PEOPLE AND THE IOWA CUBS ARE.

Glover: LET'S GO DOWNTOWN RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME HERE.

Gartner: THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME.

Glover: THANK YOU, MR. GARTNER, FOR YOUR PERSPECTIVES ON THE MISSION OF THE IOWA BOARD OF REGENTS. WE'LL BEING TRACKING THE ISSUES HERE ON "IOWA PRESS." ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE'LL REFLECT ON THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2005. SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL, DEMOCRAT FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS, IS COLEADER OF THE 50-MEMBER SENATE, AND HE'LL DISCUSS THE JUST-COMPLETED SESSION AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2006, WHICH BEGINS AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE IN JANUARY. WE RETURN AT OUR REGULAR AIRTIMES NEXT WEEKEND: FRIDAY AT 7:30; AND SUNDAY AT NOON. DEAN BORG RETURNS WITH US AT THAT TIME, AND I HOPE YOU WILL AS WELL. I'M MIKE GLOVER OF THE "ASSOCIATED PRESS." THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. CAPTIONS BY: MIDWEST CAPTIONING DES MOINES, IOWA

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

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