Iowa State Univ. Loosens Agriculture Research Limits at Harkin Institute

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, watches early election returns with his wife Ruth, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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By Liz Blood

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University President Steven Leath is loosening restrictions that he imposed on the Harkin Institute of Public Policy's ability to research agriculture.

Leath issued a memo Wednesday withdrawing a November order that allowed the institute to conduct agriculture research only if it related to Sen. Tom Harkin's papers and had approval from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

The restrictions were opposed by Harkin and the institute's advisory board. Critics called them a restriction on academic freedom, while Leath said they were meant to avoid duplication and protect CARD's prominent reputation.

Leath's new memo seeks to reach a compromise. It says public policy research conducted by the institute focusing on subjects found elsewhere on campus "is expected to be planned, conducted and published in a cooperative, collaborative manner."

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