Society

Former Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, Tried to Censor Academics

| by Sarah Siskind
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In 2010, then Governor Mitch Daniels sought to censor from Indiana public schools certain academics, including his political critics. This news comes according to emails obtained by the Associated Press by a public records request. Three years after these emails, former Governor Daniels is now president of Purdue University.

Daniels, the former politician turned academic, has criticized the report, arguing that he never sought to quash academic freedom but rather considers certain texts and academics lacking in academic merit. Moreover, the emails include much discussion of censoring certain books and defunding certain academics yet his administration took little action to follow up.

Yet the released emails are pretty incriminating. In particular, Daniels addresses his ire at Howard Zinn’s, ‘A People’s History of the United States,’ as “a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page… Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?’’

David Shane, a fundraiser and consultant, suggested Daniels could advise the higher education commissioner to review university courses. Daniels signed off on the plan, instructing, “Disqualify propaganda and highlight (if there is any) the more useful offerings.”

However, in a conference earlier today, Daniels addressed the emails stating he found it "encouraging" that Zinn’s book was not being used in K-12 schools but that he never sought to censor it from universities. Moreover, Daniels stated that had Howard Zinn tenure at Purdue, "I would defend him and his rights not to be dismissed for the nature of his work."

 

Sources: Associated Press, Boston.com