I heard Auburn University is planning to hire a new president. I also heard you folks were thinking about hiring Steven Leath.
I’m a graduate of Iowa State University, class of 2006, so I thought I’d take a moment to share with you what Steven Leath did for Iowa State.
We used to have an annual celebration of Iowa State called VEISHEA that started organically in the early 1900s before becoming the first VEISHEA in 1922.
Three generations of my family celebrated it as students, and there won’t be a fourth.
Steven Leath decided to end it – claiming that it would be revamped and continue under a different name. That was three years ago and Mr. Leath has not yet made good on his promise.
His time at Iowa State has also been marred by inappropriate use of university property – including using the university’s plane for trips home to North Carolina with the tiniest pretext of university business, using it to pick up his brother on the way to the NCAA Basketball Tournament which added significant cost.
Perhaps most famously, there is “planegate.” Mr. Leath was inappropriately piloting the craft himself and damaged the plane during a landing, causing thousands of dollars in damage, covered up the accident, failed to disclose it to the university’s Board of Regents and then using private funds from the Iowa State Foundation in an effort to secretly pay for the damage.
As an alumnus of Iowa State University I felt I owed it to Auburn University students and alumni to give you folks a heads up as to the kind of person you’re considering on hiring to lead your university before he destroys any of your traditions or compromises your university’s integrity and reputation.
John Day is a 2006 graduate of Iowa State University.