So, per my discussion with another (and very active) workshopper in attendance, the outcome of the meeting at Dey House today (of various departments, including the university provost, the library and the graduate college, as well as IWW, the nonfiction program and other interested parties) is that there is NO WAY mfa theses will be published online, digitized or published in any way other than the one bound copy that stays at the university. The thesis submission form will be changed to state that the author retains all rights to the work as well as a page on what copyright means.
from University of Iowa Interim Provost Lopes:
In recent days a number of people have been upset about what they believed was a plan by our library to publish the creative thesis work of students in our writing programs on the Internet without their permission. Let me say as simply and clearly as I can, there is no such plan nor will there be. I regret sincerely that we did not convey this message when students and faculty first voiced their concerns.