Regent: Response to Iowa State Plane Scandal was ‘Slap in the Face’ - Higher Education

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Regent: Response to Iowa State Plane Scandal was ‘Slap in the Face’

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by Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

A member of the Board of Regents says his colleagues’ decision to take no action against Iowa State University President Steven Leath for misusing university airplanes was “a slap in the face” to Iowa taxpayers.

In a Dec. 20 email obtained Wednesday through the public records law, Regent Subhash Sahai told board leaders that he was “embarrassed for the board” for letting Leath off the hook. He says any other professional “would have been severely sanctioned.”

Sahai was sick during a Dec. 12 meeting in which the board received an audit questioning flights that Leath took on university planes purchased with donor money, including one he routinely piloted and once damaged in a hard landing.

Leath apologized and paid back $20,000 for trips related to his personal flight training, medical appointments in Minnesota and taking relatives to and from an NCAA tournament basketball game. Board President Bruce Rastetter and Regent Larry McKibben praised Leath for taking that action and indicated his job was safe.

Other emails show several members of the public wanted Leath terminated. One vowed to suspend donations as long as Leath’s president.

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