UI President Sally Mason to retire

Illustration by Ben Mackey
Mason says she made the decision over winter break. — illustration by Ben Mackey

University of Iowa President Sally Mason announced today that she will retire on Aug. 1. A statement released earlier this afternoon by the UI says that Mason feels the timing “feels right both personally and professionally.”

Mason says she approached the Iowa Board of Regents after reflecting over holiday break.

A press release from the University of Iowa includes the following statement from Mason:

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the president of this great institution. I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made in enrollment, student retention, and our four year graduation rate. When you look at the success of our fundraising campaign and the outstanding advancements in research, scholarship, and creative activity on this campus, it’s clear the university is poised for growth.

The Press-Citizen confirmed the announcement earlier today, citing sources close to the Iowa Board of Regents who wished to remain anonymous. State Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville) told the publication that it was likely Mason’s decision to retire, but mentioned “pressure and criticism” from the Iowa Board of Regents that he called “completely unjustified.”

Mason replaced former UI President David Skorton in 2007 and has faced a fair amount of criticism in recent years, most notably for her comments pertaining to sexual assault on the UI campus. In a February 2014 interview with the Daily Iowan regarding the difficulty of ending sexual assault she noted, “That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature…” prompting an outcry from campus activists and advocates. Subsequent statements on campus safety did little to assuage activists’ concerns.

Mason — the university’s 20th president — is an at-will employee, meaning she does not hold a contract with the Iowa Board of Regents.

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