A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
04/23/21 — Video of the hour-long campus forum for University of Iowa presidential candidate Daniel L. Clay can be found here. As an internal candidate there was naturally some difference in Clay’s opening statement and in the questions he was asked, as contrasted with the three prior external candidates. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, but to pretend that Clay’s familiarity with the university was not a prominent facet of his candidacy would be absurd.
Living in the real world means acknowledging the truth of asymmetries and inequities, because the search for truth is not advanced by pretending that circumstances are other than they are. There are situations in life where it is important to treat everyone exactly the same, but evaluating Dan Clay’s forum is not one of those situations. Because he is an internal candidate I do know more about Clay than I did about the external candidates, who were all unknown to me until they were introduced over the past two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I am now obligated to empty my mind of prior knowledge to render a judgement about what Clay had to say today.
In this post I focus mostly on comments from Clay which surprised me, and there were more than I would have predicted. Those surprises may bode well or ill for Clay’s candidacy, but we will dig into specifics shortly. Because of my familiarity with Clay, however, my reading of his responses may be different from that of a casual observer of the search, and on that basis alone I encourage anyone to view the archived video if they did not watch the livestream.
Finally, like any communal human endeavor, academic administration has a political component, and at an institution the size and scope of the University of Iowa you better have mad diplomatic skills if you intend to be remembered as anything other than roadkill. There is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward when you are speaking with different constituencies, but if you want people to believe your word is good then you cannot tailor who you are to fit the political moment. People can smell that kind of administrative insincerity a mile away, and a university campus is nothing if not a community of discerning noses. [ Read more ]