Mitch Daniels tried to ban Howard Zinn books from Indiana universities

tags: Mitch Daniels, Indiana University, Purdue University



Mitch Daniels, as an unconventional choice to become Purdue University's president, has repeatedly pledged his strong commitment to academic freedom. And many professors -- including some who had questioned the wisdom of appointing a governor as university president -- have given him high marks for the start of his work at Purdue.

But on Monday, the Associated Press published an article based on e-mail records it obtained under Indiana's open records laws. Those e-mail records showed Daniels, while governor of Indiana, asking that no public universities teach the work of Howard Zinn, seeking a statewide investigation into "what is credit-worthy" to see that similar works were not being taught for credit, and considering ways to cut state funds to a program led by a professor who had criticized him.

It is not unheard of, of course, for governors to periodically speak out against controversial professors or books (although most academics would prefer that governors not do so). But the case of Daniels appears different in that 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. While Daniels is known as a strong fiscal conservative (as a politician and university leaders), his reputation has also been as someone who was more interested in balancing budgets than in waging culture wars....



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