Thursday afternoon, with a plume of white Papal smoke from the Iowa Memorial Union, the Iowa Board of Regents announced that they had finally made their decision in appointing a new president of the University of Iowa following a series of closed meetings held that very afternoon. As a student, this seemed like potentially good news. For one, it felt like an opportunity for a fresh voice of wisdom and experience to represent our ever growing faculty and student body. Moreover, it meant that Interim President Jean Robillard might stop mass sending us all those overly clingy late night emails.
Hours before the announcement, in a survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors, faculty and community members were asked to vote on whether or not they found the four remaining candidates qualified or unqualified to take on the job of University President. While three of the candidates were overwhelmingly designated as qualified,with 90% and above agreeing, there was one candidate who was almost comically unfavored. A whopping 98.2% of faculty members thought J. Bruce Harreld, former Harvard adjunct professor and former executive for IBM, Kraft, and Boston Chicken, wholly unqualified. In our eyes, J. Bruce was like the hot girl in a horror movie; he totally had to be the first to go. Unfortunately, all sense of standard logic abruptly ended when the Iowa Board of Regents announced their unanimous selection for Prez: J. Bruce Harreld, whizz of the biz, boy of Bostonian Chicken.
The University of Iowa community held its breath at the official press conference, hoping that at the very worst the Board of Regents was actually composed of a bunch of bullies hoping to humiliate the least qualified candidate on stage with a cruel prank, Stephen King’s Carrie style. However, when no pig’s blood was dumped on Harreld as he shook hands with the Board of Regents, and as the official announcements rolled out, we all realized the bizarre reality of our new and very real Sally Mason wannabe. Throughout Iowa City, social media erupted in a series of posts that could be accurately summated as a collective “duhhhhwhat?”
So, in response, we’ve done the U of I community a big solid and put together a list of 5 presidential candidates that the roughly 98% of Iowa City who found Bruce Harreld a poor choice would probably find a better fit for the position of President of the University of Iowa.
1. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman
Okay yes, we can all agree that El Chapo, the “godfather of the drug world"according to the U.S. D.E.A., has almost certainly done hundreds of horrible, terrible things. And with an estimated net worth of $1 billion, it could be assumed the Mexican cartel-lord could be out of touch with your average, federal-loan-owing Iowa student. However, he could totally understand and rap with all the Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul groupies looking to decriminalize drug charges and repeal current prison sentences given to drug offenders. The guy hates prisons! Seriously! He’s escaped from them two different times! In July he escaped Andy Dufrain style through a two by two 30 foot long hole in the ground! Tell me he wouldn’t be sympathetic to your PAULA charges. And imagine this guy’s annual President’s Block Party. The Cocaine Lord of Central America has gotta understand how to let loose and welcome incoming freshmen. Moreover, the guy is so well known in Chicago, in 2011 their crime division named him Public Enemy Number One despite never having stepped foot in the city. Go Blackhawks!
2. Season Two of True Detective
Critically panned as being a disappointing and convoluted follow-up season to the buzz-worthy first season featuring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, season two of True Detective couldn’t deliver on its audiences’ perhaps too high of expectations. However, at a 65% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s also about 36 times more generally preferred by its audience than J. Bruce Herrald is as our new President. Now those are statistics you can depend on.
3. That Mean Teacher From Good Will Hunting
Oh god, what a jerk right? Manipulative, cunning, and ambitious, the mean guy from Good Will Hunting was always trying to take advantage of Good Will Hunting. Did we like those apples? No, Professor Gerald Lambeau played by Stellan Skarsgard, we didn’t like those apples very much at all. That being said, the guy had years of experience working at MIT, an Ivy League university, and also he was a Fields Medalist or whatever or at least was always talking about being a Fields Medalist to make Robin Williams feel bad. Still, this fictional character has miles more experience working with actual college students in a university setting than J. Bruce Harreld.
4. A Tombstone Pizza Wearing A Wig
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, isn’t Tombstone Pizza just a sub-division of Kraft, Inc.? Aren’t we just FURTHER playing into the hands of our corporate overlords?!??” Yes, in a way you’re correct, Tombstone IS owned by Kraft. But as a frozen pizza and not an out-of-touch high-ranking wealthy executive, this Tombstone Pizza wearing a wig has much more of an idea of the day-to-day experiences of a college student than J. Bruce Harreld. And if Donald Trump’s surprisingly successful run to be the Republican presidential nominee has taught us anything, it’s that in 2016 America is finally ready for a refreshingly honest take from a hunk of over-processed dough in a fake blonde wig. And at a steal of a price of $3.99 at your local Casey’s, we’d be saving a shipload of money compared to Harreld’s reported starting salary of $590,000 per year for his first five years as president.
5. Literally Any of the Other Three Candidates
Yes, they’re all old, white men, and yes, we know they all kind of look like they could’ve been your old rec soccer coach,but all three of these guys have had actual experience as major university administrators. Up against the guy who helped make Kraft Easy Mac the average co-ed’s sad dinner of choice and IBM the computer brand you don’t care about were President of Oberlin Marvin Krislov, Tulane University Provost Michael Bernstein, and Ohio State University Provost Joseph Steinmetz. Not to mention all three dudes received over 90% approval from University faculty, staff, and students. Compared to Harreld’s 1.8% faculty approval, that makes these three schmucks the ‘92 Olympic Dream Team and Bruce Harreld just some guy who’s bad at basketball.
In conclusion, I think we’ll find there were a bunch of more appropriate candidates to represent our University if the Board of Regents had just used their imaginations a little more. Or, you know, just looked at the other candidates that were almost certainly more qualified for the job.
On Iowa! Go Hawks!
Jocelyn Coffman is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Communication Studies and Theatre Arts. She improvises with her very cool improv team Paperback Rhino bimonthly at Public Space One, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @joceydotcom.