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Last University of Iowa presidential finalist stresses listening

IOWA CITY — The last four finalists for the University of Iowa president held an open forum on campus Thursday.

Daniel Clay is the current U-I Dean of the College of Education, and he opened by talking about how his dad made it to tenth grade and his mom left high school after they got married.

“They didn’t have the knowledge, they didn’t have the money to know about college. But higher ed changed the trajectory of my life — and my extended family,” Clay says.

Clay was asked about his leadership style. “I currently have excellent relationships with people in the business community, and state and local government leadership, and with our students,” according to Clay. “I plan to be present, I plan to be available always, that’s one. Two, I think I would like to have the opportunity to travel around our state more to share more directly with all Iowans the value our university brings to our state.”

He was asked about how he would handle free speech on campus. “I think it is important to recognize that sometimes free speech means that we hear things that hurt us — we hear things that we disagree, we hear things that traumatize others. But we simply cannot shout people down and shut them down if we disagree,” Clay says.

Clay was also asked about being an on-campus candidate for the job. “I think the biggest challenge for me would be to assume that I know because I’ve been here. I think the most important thing for any president is to spend the first 100 days listening. And not listening to her you stop talking so I can tell you my story — but listening to learn,” Clay says.

Clay will continue meeting with groups on campus today.

The Board of Regents plans to meet on April 29-30th at the University of Iowa to hear from the search committee and interview the finalists, with a selection of the next president on April 30th.

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