Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Conservative Governor of Indiana's Academic Freedom to censor "liberal" academics

2013-07-16 "As governor, Mitch Daniels looked to censor academic writings and courses"
by Tom LoBianco from "Associated Press" [www.indystar.com/viewart/20130716/NEWS/307160061/As-governor-Mitch-Daniels-looked-censor-academic-writings-courses]:
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels pledged to promote academic freedom when he became president of Purdue University in January, but newly released emails show he attempted to eliminate what he considered liberal “propaganda” at Indiana’s public universities while governor.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels requested that historian and anti-war activist Howard Zinn’s writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a “cleanup” of college courses. In another exchange, the Republican talks about cutting funding for a program run by a local university professor who was one of his sharpest critics.
The success of those efforts remains unclear; Zinn’s book, for example, is still used in some courses for aspiring teachers. But Daniels did launch an expansive push while governor to change what courses those hopeful teachers could take for credit at Indiana colleges. That effort is ongoing.
The emails are raising eyebrows about Daniels’ appointment as president of a major research university just months after critics questioned his lack of academic credentials and his hiring by a board of trustees he appointed.
Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, said it’s not unusual for governors or mayors to denounce art, music or popular culture. But he said he couldn’t find any other examples of governors trying to censor political opponents.

2013-07-17 "Mitch Daniels defends academic freedom amid criticism over emails"
by Stephanie Wang and Scott Elliott [http://www.indystar.com/viewart/20130717/NEWS05/307170046/Mitch-Daniels-defends-academic-freedom-amid-criticism-over-emails]:
The Howard Zinn history textbook, which Mitch Daniels wanted to keep out of Indiana’s K-12 classrooms, was meant to be controversial. It was meant to pose a different viewpoint. It was meant to get people thinking.
An Indiana University instructor assigned it specifically for those reasons in 2010 during a three-week professional development course for teachers.
Now he says he finds it upsetting – but not surprising – that then-Gov. Mitch Daniels tried to stifle those words in Indiana’s education system, as an email conversation obtained by the Associated Press recently revealed.
“It’s disturbing,” said Carl Weinberg, an adjunct associate professor, “that the governor seemed to be going on a crusade to target certain books, certain perspectives on America’s past, when I thought the entire point of education was to encourage students to think for themselves.”
Daniels defended Wednesday his frank 2010 email conversation with state education leaders, saying his opposition to a controversial historian’s popular textbook was limited to the scope of K-12 classrooms.
He called the AP story “unfair and erroneous,” saying his objections were not an attempt at censorship or an infringement of academic freedom in the collegiate world, where he now works as president of Purdue University.
However, Daniels’ emails also targeted the use of Zinn’s books in continuing education courses for teachers – a crossover into the higher education realm since universities offer many of those professional development credits.
It scared some college educators into feeling Daniels put their academic freedom at risk. Others saw it ultimately as a politician spouting off but unable to actually touch their treasured ability to teach what they want.
State board of education member Dan Elsener, who is also the president of Marian University, said there was never any real effort by Daniels or his team to enforce changes as a result his complaints.
“There’s been a lot of discussions about how you get a quality textbook,” Elsener said. “But something from the governor of Indiana telling me to get rid of a textbook? I think I’d remember that.”

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