University of Iowa Reaches Lawsuit Settlement, Auditor Wants Gary Barta Removed
Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand has announced that a fourth discrimination settlement has been reached at the University of Iowa. However, Sand says he won't vote for it unless University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta is no longer employed by the department.
In a Monday morning media release, Sand revealed that a $4 million settlement has been reached in a 2020 lawsuit filed by twenty Black University of Iowa football players. It was the fourth discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa Athletic Department in the last nine years.
The State Appeal Board must approve the settlement, which our news partner KCRG TV-9 reports is $4.175 million. Sand says $2 million of the payment would come from the taxpayers of Iowa. Saying "enough is enough," Sand says he'll only vote 'yes' if Barta is no longer part of the athletic department equation at the University of Iowa.
Sand's office provided the media with a letter he wrote to the other two members of the State Appeal Board. In it, Sand wrote,
Under Gary Barta’s leadership at the University of Iowa Athletics Department, we’ve had Peter Gray scandal plus three instances of discrimination totaling nearly $7 million in damages (setting aside other suits). After the largest settlement, Barta asserted no wrong was done. Now we have a new matter for $4 million more, and for the first time they want part paid from the taxpayers’ General Fund, even though they now collect tens of millions annually thru the Big Ten TV deal.
Enough is enough. Clear personal accountability is necessary. I will not support taxpayers funding this settlement unless Gary Barta is no longer employed at the University and forfeits any severance or similar pay. I encourage you to join me. Real accountability will help prevent discrimination, protecting both taxpayers and future victims.
Iowa Department of Management Director Kraig Paulsen (from Linn County) and Iowa State Treasurer Roby Smith (from Scott County) are the other members of the State Appeal Board.
Sand, a University of Iowa graduate, spoke of accountability in a Monday morning press conference at the State Capitol. In his opinion, four chances are enough for Gary Barta, especially if it's going to come at the expense of Iowa taxpayers.
What Sand says above is not what ended up happening. Monday afternoon, both Paulsen and Smith voted in favor of the settlement. Radio Iowa reports Smith said, "I have zero tolerance for discrimination" and that he believes the University of Iowa should "re-examine relationship with Gary Barta, Brian Ferentz, and others named in recent lawsuit."
Meanwhile, Paulsen said "it would seem to me that the risk we are trying to manage is in best interest of state of Iowa." He also stated he didn't believe the State Appeal Board's mission was "to make an employment decision."