Mitch Daniels — the current president of Purdue University —
attempted to ban “anti-American academic” Howard Zinn from Indiana’s public universities when he was governor of the state, the Associated Press reports.According to emails obtained through an AP Freedom of Information Act request, following Zinn’s death, Daniels moved to remove his books from use “anywhere in Indiana.” Inside Higher Ed notes that it is not uncommon for sitting governors to speak out against controversial academics, but Daniels’ actions seem different as “he didn’t speak out, but rather exchanged e-mail messages with state education officials about how to take action against certain works and professors.” As seen below:
In response to this email, Daniels’ education policy director wrote that an upcoming National Endowment for the Humanities seminar at Indiana University featuring “Zinn along with other anti American leftist readings” is “why my children will not go to IU.” To which Daniels replied:
After being sent a course listing for Indiana University, Daniels wrote:
According to Inside Higher Ed, Daniels was presented with a plan to have the commissioner of higher education and the State Board of Education conduct independant reviews of courses throughout the state. Daniels endorsed this plan, writing:
Inside Higher Ed notes that concurrent to these reviews Purdue offered courses teaching Zinn and still offers programs that list Zinn in their readings.
A separate document released by the AP highlights a 2009 email from Daniels calling for the reevaluation of funding to an academic group attacking Indiana’s “Republican budget.” The group, the AP notes, was run by a professor in the Indiana University system who had been “highly critical of Daniels’ education overhaul … [and] often critiqued the governor’s performance at public meetings.” In response to an internal memo from the group, Daniels wrote:
According to the AP, in an email Daniels “stood by his demand that Zinn be excluded from Indiana classrooms but said his request was limited to K-12 schools.” Daniels apparently did not mention auditing the educational group that was critical of him.
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