The President of the University of Iowa has apologized for making a glib suggestion that unprepared professors should be shot, the Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting.
In a conversation with a school librarian who has been critical of his hiring, school President Bruce Harreld said, that any professor who enters his or her classroom unprepared to teach “should be shot.”
According to librarian Lisa Gardinier, “”For a university president to use the term ‘should be shot’ so flippantly, and just a week after the most recent highly publicized mass shooting … is horrifying and unacceptable.”
In an email to Gardinier, Harreld called his comment “an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark,” and he in no way was calling for violence against professors.
“Frankly, I have used the comment in many, many forums and this is the first time anyone has objected to it. I apologize and appreciate your calling my attention to it,” Harreld wrote.
The hiring of Harreld — who has no background in academic adminsitration – earlier this year has been contentious, with critics saying he lacked the qualifications to lead a major U.S. university.
Prior to his hiring, Harreld served as an executive and consultant with IBM, Kraft General Foods and the Boston Market Company restaurant chain. Harreld did spend time as an adjunct business professor at Harvard and Northwestern University, but not as a administrator or department head.
Gardinier attributed the offensive comment to Harreld’s inexperience in the academic field.
“We’ve probably all used that phrase at some point or another, but most of us aren’t university presidents and aren’t in positions of authority,” she said.