Culture

Hoosier Values: Where Is The Outrage over Mitch Daniels?

Muncie, Indiana – What’s it going to take to wake up Hoosiers? Have we become the most complacent state in the Midwest? We’ve recently learned that Mitch Daniels used his place as governor to attack the academic expression of gifted historian Howard Zinn along with several other educational related breaches of ethics. So far, the only people holding him accountable are 80+ professors at Purdue and several members of the press.

Most of the state has moved on to promoting his ego like last night’s half time show with Purdue’s ‘All-American’ Marching band. Mitch Daniels

The emails which exposed Mitch Daniels’ ethical violations were uncovered at the same time a group of businessmen gave Mitch Daniels a $58,000 raise for being “the best hire chosen by the board”. Let us remind you that Purdue University is the second largest public university in the Indiana, so the dollars given to Daniels came from taxpayers.

As for the group of businessmen, or ‘board of trustees’ for Purdue, eight of the ten were appointed by Mitch, who in return, hired Mitch during a closed-door session in Chicago. When the free press asked for hiring related documents from the university, their request was denied with the following explanation, “We don’t have any records from the meeting, and if we did, we wouldn’t give them to you.”

Even more recently, Purdue received an anonymous $3 million gift for their history department which Mitch will match with another $3 million from President funds. Does anybody think the timing of the gift was a coincidence?

Mitch abused his gubernatorial powers to quash academic freedom. As opposed to getting reprimanded by university officials, an anonymous gift appears to Purdue for studying the history of ‘medical research’.

Mitch’s executive attacks on “liberal excrement” can be seen all over Indiana from privatizing social services, roads, jails, schools, while his attacks on unions are well documented, including the now unconstitutional ‘right to work for less’ legislation.

So, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out where the donation came from since these gifts are notoriously made by the Koch’s or others close to their vast ALEC network of free market conservative foundations.

So much for integrity at our higher institutions of learning. Could there be more?

Earlier this week, faculty president dismissed all the educational related issues with Mitch Daniels.

The president when addressing faculty members, Dr. David Williams, and chairman of this year’s University Senate said, “We can’t continue to be divisive like the Congress and expect Purdue to be able to move forward,” Williams said. “I urge you to work with me and President Daniels this year to find middle ground.”

Divisive?

Calling Zinn’s work “liberal excrement” is ‘divisive’.

Everything associated with Daniels actions lacked ethics. Maybe Dr. Williams isn’t exposed to ethics in veterinary medicine since he deals with animals, not people. We checked.

As it turns out, the AVMA does have a code of ethics and the number two principle is: “Veterinarians should be honest and fair in their relations with others, and they should not engage in fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit.”

What we really have is a breach of ethics times three. So, why give him a pass Dr. Williams?

In a July speech, Dr. Williams made the following statement, “And an issue that is important to me, and to a number of my colleagues, is having a permanent seat for a Purdue faculty member established on the Board of Trustees. I would hope through my words and actions this year I can convince you of the merits of this proposal.”

Well, Dr. Williams, what would you sacrifice to get a faculty member board seat? Apparently, just your integrity since you should be challenging Mitch Daniels for his ethical violations and what it is doing the prestige of your institution.

Instead, you dismiss his actions as divisive for which both you and Mitch then gloss over. Do you think it is coincidental that the anonymous donation is going toward the study of medical history and Dr. Williams is in the medical sciences field?

By the way, Dr. Williams should read the comments from Purdue alumni who are ashamed of their alma mater for hiring Daniels in the way they did, and then turning a blind eye to his egregious actions as they became public knowledge.

To be clear, the following education related actions taken by Mitch Daniels as governor were unethical:

  • Using his position as governor to impact education programs by ordering Zinn’s history book be removed from the reading list for teachers in Indiana.
  • It is unethical to appoint 80% of the members to a Board, who in turn, hire you in private and give you a $58,000 taxpayer-funded bonus after six months.
  • Altering grades for a charter school to make their performance look superior to public schools because you have a professional interest in the charter schools, and the GOP and Tony Bennett received a political donation, from said owner of the charter school.

If we’re okay with our leaders acting unethical while in office, then all of them should be held to the same low standards. Let’s make it a free for all, where winners of elections can do whatever they want and use taxpayer money however they’d like.

In fact, let’s eliminate the free and independent press since there will be no need to hold public officials accountable. Let’s also remove sunshine laws, and any other means of government transparency since they don’t concern us.

However, if ‘Hoosier Values’ actually have meaning, and we want every public official to demonstrate the utmost ethical conduct while in office, then we must hold them all accountable, regardless of party affiliation.

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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