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ISUPD chief answers questions from Faculty Senate, healthcare management certificate approved

New health care certificate, term faculty specifications approved.
Brielle Tuttle
Members of the Faculty Senate raise their hands for a vote during the meeting in the Memorial Union Sun Room on March 19, 2024.

Iowa State University Police Department (ISUPD) Chief Michael Newton addressed faculty regarding the use of force by an officer that resulted in an injured Iowa State student during a traffic stop in August. 

Newton was asked by history professor Brian Behnken, about the use of force by ISUPD Officer Frankie Contreras, which resulted in the injury of former Iowa State student Dariq Myles. 

Behnken, who teaches about civil rights and race relations, asked Newton how an incident like this could have happened and said it seemed like “a classic case of ego policing.” 

“I hear what you’re saying, and this could’ve been prevented absolutely by the officer,” Newton said. “[Officers’] interactions and their behaviors can escalate a case. That is 100% what happened here.” 

Newton reiterated that he could not comment on personnel affairs due to state law. He also mentioned a video showing Contreras saying he could have handled the situation differently.  

“State law prohibits me from talking about what I’ve done with the officer and what actions we’ve taken,” Newton said. “The officer freely admitted that night on video that, ‘Man, I could have handled that better. I could have done things better.’”

In a previous statement sent to the Daily, Newton stated the review conducted by ISUPD acknowledged that Contreras “could have used better de-escalation techniques during the traffic stop.” 

In a prior interview with the Daily, Newton was asked about the body cam video showing the incident.

“A video only shows you certain dimensions,” Newton previously said. “You don’t know all those factors that go in, so sometimes it can be misleading when you see things from different perspectives and angles.”

Newton said he was attending the Faculty Senate meeting to share more about policing at Iowa State following the traffic stop that occurred in August.

“It’s not the type of policing I want to see here,” Newton said Tuesday. “That’s not the type of policing that we want.” 

Use of force, or response to resistance, was used by ISUPD officers in 12 of 736, or 1.63%, of arrests in 2023, according to ISUPD data. The department responded to nearly 34,000 calls for service in 2023. 

Term faculty rules

The Faculty Senate approved two measures on its agenda Tuesday, the first bringing several changes to how term faculty interact on campus. 

The bill including the changes now requires term faculty at the associate professor or professor ranks to be reviewed at least every seven years, though one unsatisfactory annual review automatically triggers a peer review. 

The change also removed a statement that prevented term faculty from holding administrative positions. 

According to senators, the measure enables term faculty to serve in administrative roles but does not mandate term faculty to hold administrative duties. Additionally, colleges and departments may make requirements specific to themselves for serving in administrative roles.  

The bill also changed faculty handbook guidelines for external letters. No more than three external letters are required for term research faculty or adjunct faculty with at least 50% research expectations for advancement. 

The bill also changes how years of service are considered for advancement. 

Five years of service for term faculty enables them to be advanced to associate rank. A change now allows five years of service at Iowa State to be reduced through credit for prior faculty service at other academic institutions, granted at the discretion of the hiring unit. 

The bill passed on the floor after discussion of various, and passage of two, amendments. The bill has been in the works for nine months, according to Matt Frank, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and chair of the governance council. 

Healthcare management certificate

The management and entrepreneurship departments will now be home to a certificate in healthcare management (HCM). 

The Faculty Senate approved the certificate, which is 20 credits, with 12 of those being required to be completed at Iowa State. 

Courses required for the certificate include U.S. health systems and policy, law and regulatory environment in health care, economics for healthcare managers and more. 

The need for the course comes from people outside Iowa State and currently at Iowa State who have clinical experience but may lack a business background. 

“The proposed HCM certificate creates a pathway for non-business students to earn a formal credential in healthcare management to be reflected in their academic transcripts,” the program proposal document states. 

Programs the certificate may be complementary to include biology, biochemistry, genetics, dietetics, sociology and more. 

All courses required for the certificate already exist. 

There was no floor discussion regarding the certificate. The program was approved unanimously. The degree now heads to the Board of Regents for consideration. 

New business

The Faculty Senate held a first reading for a measure that would establish a budget advisory council or committee that would advise the dean, with a goal of having the same faculty senator serving both, to enhance communication. 

The Faculty Senate has two meetings remaining before the end of the semester.

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    Tim G | Apr 11, 2024 at 7:31 pm

    Brian Behnken is part of an anti-police family. Not surprised he would say these things as him and his wife think they are experts in all. BACK THE BLUE!!!! We have a great police department.