January 31, 2018 - 2:24 pm
IOWA CITY, Iowa —The University of Iowa on Wednesday announced plans to remove casino mogul Steve Wynn’s name from the school’s vision research institute in light of sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn.
In a statement, the university in Iowa City said the plan is subject to the approval of the Iowa Board of Regents. It will be the first time the university has removed a donor name from a building or institute.
The university named the institute the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research in 2013 following Wynn’s $25 million donation to the school to support blindness research. Wynn, 76, was diagnosed in his 20s with retinitis pigmentosa, which has slowly compromised his vision. It causes nighttime blindness and a lack of peripheral vision.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that a number of women said they were harassed or assaulted by Wynn, with one case leading to a $7.5 million settlement. Wynn has strongly denied the allegations. He has attributed them to a campaign led by his ex-wife. He resigned Saturday as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“The University of Iowa is committed to ending sexual violence and sexual misconduct and ensuring survivors know they are believed, supported, and assisted,” University President Bruce Harreld said in a written statement. “It is incongruous with the university’s values to maintain the Wynn name on our program and building.”
Wynn, who has hotels and casinos that bear his name around the world, had few ties to Iowa prior to his donation. He said in 2013 that the donation wasn’t made to help himself, but to help make up for a dearth of federal money for research.
Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver did not immediately return email and phone messages left Wednesday by The Associated Press seeking comment.