Letter: Independent Review Committee Response to Chronicle Op-Ed


Presidents circle at the University of Utah Monday September 14, 2015. (Chronicle Archives)

By Professor Amos N. Guiora


I write as Chair of the Independent Review Committee in response to an article that recently appeared in The Daily Utah Chronicle entitled “Reese: U Students Need and Deserve a Transparent Administration.”

I do not seek to engage negatively, but to highlight three critical errors. I also note that neither the writer nor the Chronicle reached out to me prior to publication for comment or perspective. I find that perplexing for it hampers transparency and an honest presentation of the facts.

We begin with a correction: One of the two Presidential interns, though their name appears on President Watkins’ letter, does not serve on the IRC. This response, accordingly, addresses only the intern serving on the Committee.

To the point: the unstated suggestion in the article is that the student intern acts on behalf of President Watkins and the administration. We unequivocally and unhesitatingly reject that false assumption. The student’s input and contribution to the committee’s work, since its creation, has reflected both independence and concern for the welfare of the entire University community.

To insinuate otherwise is most inappropriate and devoid of factual support. To be sure, since all Committee members are connected to the University in numerous ways, contacts with other departments and individuals at the University are unavoidable. While seemingly that may create appearances of conflicting interests, it also allows the Committee to represent the University more comprehensively in its decision making. Indeed, the diversity of our Committee members helps ensure that multiple points of view are considered during our decision-making processes.

More importantly, personal association with other departments and individuals is only one factor in an individual Committee member’s decision making. Ultimately, all Committee members deliberate, represent and speak for themselves in our decision-making process.

Moreover, ASUU is formally represented on the committee. The Academic Affairs Board within the executive branch of ASUU appoints one student each academic year to represent ASUU within the IRC.

Finally, the committee is fully committed to maintaining an independent role. All of its actions, discussions and decisions have been made without pressure or interference. To suggest otherwise is a complete misreading of its mission and work.

The committee welcomes interaction with all members of the University community and has forthrightly made its contact information available as widely as possible. It remains committed to transparency and the welfare of everyone on campus.


— Amos N. Guiora, Professor at S.J. Quinney College of Law and Chairman of the Independent Review Committee

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