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University of Iowa News Release

Release: April 18, 2003

Boyd to Remain on White House Cultural Committee

UI law professor Willard "Sandy" Boyd said he has no intention of not accepting an appointment to the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee, despite the recent resignations of three of its members to protest the conduct of the war in Iraq.

The three outgoing members-whose terms expire next week--Chairman Michael Sullivan, Richard Lanier and Gary Vikan, resigned Thursday to protest what they considered to be the Bush Administration's mishandling of post-war Iraq that has led to widespread looting of cultural and historical treasure in the country. The committee has 11 members who advise the U.S. president on issues relating to the import of materials considered important to other national cultures. The committee reviews foreign government requests for U.S. import restrictions on cultural property originating in other countries. Such restrictions are intended to reduce the illegal trade in material considered culturally, archaeologically or historically important to other countries.

Boyd, a former president of the Field Museum in Chicago, former president of the University of Iowa, and most recently the interim president of the University of Iowa prior to the naming of David Skorton, was appointed to the committee earlier this year, although his membership has not yet become effective. He said that the three resignations "make an important point, that we have an obligation to protect museums and hospitals and similar institutions because we're part of a civil society."

But Boyd said he plans to serve on the committee and use his position to protect Iraqi artifacts by working to reduce their illegal importation and trade in the United States.

"I see my responsibility to do all I can to reduce illegal traffic in cultural objects," he said. "I teach about that in class, and therefore, I need to act to reduce illegal traffic."

Boyd will serve a two-year term on the committee.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,