A Correction, a Clarification, or a Cat Chasing Its Tail?

On August 16, the Lafayette Journal-Gazette ran this small item [http://www.jconline.com/story/news/college/2014/08/16/ipfw-faculty-unhappy-daniels-comments/14181695/]:

“Some Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne faculty members are unhappy with comments Purdue University President Mitch Daniels made about the role of regional colleges.

“The Journal Gazette reports the former governor told a public radio host that higher-education advocates in Fort Wayne are mistaken about their mission, saying the Indiana Commission for Higher Education reminds them they are not there to do research or offer doctoral programs. They are there to provide affordable options.

“Four members of the IPFW Senate sent Daniels an email Friday saying the commission allows the school to do research and scholarly activities. IPFW Senate Presiding Officer Andrew Downs wants Daniels to recant his comments.

“IPFW is the fifth-largest campus in the state with more than 13,400 students. Purdue University governs the Fort Wayne campus.”

Then, on August 19, the Journal-Gazette ran a somewhat longer item under the headline “Daniels Clarifies Remarks about Regional Campuses” [http://www.jconline.com/story/news/college/2014/08/18/daniels-clarifies-remarks-regional-campuses/14266531/]. It includes the following passage:

“Mitch Daniels has eased some faculty members’ concerns about his remarks, broadcast last week on public radio, regarding the role regional campuses play in the state’s higher education mission. . . .

“In a letter Monday, Daniels said he agreed with the IPFW professors.

“Daniels said Purdue’s position is to align precisely with the direction of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

“’As you correctly point out, research and scholarly activities, as defined and authorized by the commission’s policy, are extremely important to the needs of your local and regional economies.’

“Daniels also said his comment during the radio broadcast was ‘more concise and general than it should have been’ as he discussed the roles and different missions of the research institution in West Lafayette from Purdue’s campuses in Fort Wayne, Calumet and Westville.”

The backdrop to this rhetorical quick-step by Purdue’s president is a study conducted by community supporters of the IPFW campus that concluded that the institution would benefit from being governed primarily by Indiana University, rather than Purdue University.


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