The Associated Press has an exclusive on former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels that details how during his time in office he aimed to scale back liberalism in the state’s colleges.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels took rare steps during his second term as governor to eliminate what he considered liberal breeding grounds at Indiana’s public universities, requesting that historian Howard Zinn’s writings be banned from classrooms and asking for a “cleanup” of college courses he called “propaganda.”
The irony being Daniels now leads one of those liberal universities. The former Republican governor began his tenure as president of Purdue University in January.
More recently, Daniels defended his emails – and his stance against leftist bias - in response to AP.
“We must not falsely teach American history in our schools,” he told The Associated Press in an email. “Howard Zinn, by his own admission a biased writer, purposely falsified American history. His books have no more place in Indiana history classrooms than phrenology or Lysenkoism would in our biology classes or the `Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ in world history courses. We have a law requiring state textbook oversight to guard against frauds like Zinn, and it was encouraging to find that no Hoosier school district had inflicted his book on its students.”
… Daniels also repeated his contention that “there is need for a cleanup of what is credit-worthy in teaching of our professions.”
Daniels’ stance was decried by at least one professor as ignorant and racist.
“It is astonishing and shocking that such a person is now the head of a major research university, making decisions about the curriculum, that one painfully suspects embodies the same ignorance and racism these comments embody,” Cary Nelson, an English professor at the University of Illinois who served six years as president of the American Association of University Professors, told The Associated Press.
You be the judge:
… In a Feb. 9, 2010, email sent to top state education officials, including then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett (Daniels stated):
“This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away,” Daniels wrote, referring to Zinn. “The obits and commentaries mentioned his book ‘A People’s History of the United States’ is the ‘textbook of choice in high schools and colleges around the country.’ It is a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page. Can someone assure me that 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?”
Sounds like responsible governorship, but the AP billed it as going against his current stance in support of academic freedom as a university president. Is not supporting a severely distorted version of history the same as not supporting academic freedom? Hardly.
The AP article was lengthy and detailed more accusations. CLICK HERE to read the whole thing.
IMAGE: Indiana Public Media/Flickr