The president of the University of Iowa has apologized to an employee after stating at a staff meeting that unprepared professors “should be shot.” President J. Bruce Harreld told librarian Lisa Gardinier, who chastised him about the comment via email, that his statement was “an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark” and didn’t mean to offend anyone or imply any sort of support of gun violence.
“Frankly, I have used the comment in many, many forums, and this is the first time anyone has objected to it,” Harreld replies to Gardinier. “I apologize and appreciate your calling my attention to it.” In the reply back to Harreld, Gardinier accepts Harreld’s apology but described the notion that a university president making a comment like that sounds “horrifying and unacceptable,” especially since mass shootings have increased fears of violence on college campuses.
Many staff members of the college have been critical of Harreld since he was hired, especially since Harreld does not have an education background. However, Harreld did set the record straight about what he actually meant in an email to the Press-Citizen. In the email, he explains that during a discussion with the staff, he responded to a question by saying “I have learned the (hard) way that if I ever walk into a classroom without a teaching plan, I should be shot,’
No video or audio recording of the meeting where Harreld stated his comment exists, but university spokeswoman Anne E. Bassett provided the email of Harreld and Gardinier’s conversation to The Chronicle, as seen below: