Community reacts to Mason's leaving


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University of Iowa President Sally Mason will retire on Aug. 1, and while many have praised her for several of her noted accomplishments during her eight-year term as president, several UI officials and members of student government say there’s still work to be done.

Mason told The Daily Iowan that during her tenure improving things for students has been a large focus of hers and one that she considers to be a big accomplishment.

“I take great pride in not the least of which is so many things we’ve done for students on this campus,” she said.

During her tenure, the four-year graduation rate rose from 47 percent in 2007 to 51.1 percent by the end of the 2014 school year.

UISG Vice President Jeffrey Ding said he’d like to see Mason continue to advocate for college affordability with the state Board of Regents.

UI Faculty Senate officials also said the new funding model could potentially create issues for the university.

“We have serious concerns, however, about the specific metrics of the task force’s proposal,” according to a statement from the UI Faculty Senate.

The new proposed system would slash UI funding in the future.

Ding said the continued support for college affordability is something Mason should accomplish in her last few months.

Melissa Zimdars, the chief campus steward for the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, wrote in an email that while she hasn’t agreed with many of Mason’s decisions over the years, there is a factor of the unknown with a new president.

She said she wants to see Mason stand up for graduate students in her final semester on campus.

“I would love to see Sally Mason finally stand up for graduate students by supporting us in our fight against fees,” she said.

Alexandra Thomas, the president of the UI Faculty Senate, said she hopes Mason can set the stage for campus to move on to a new chapter.

“I hope President Mason continues to set the framework for faculty and students to excel both together and separately at their work,” she said.

Thomas said Mason has been incredibly open to listening to governing organizations on campus.

Ding said students might have an unfair view of Mason because they only have a few years at the university and may not see the whole timeline of her eight-year presidency.

“I think that a lot of students will react based on one or two events, but I think you have to look at the overall timeline,” he said. “It’s hard to look at that with a two-, three-, or four-year timeline.”

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