A Statement from President Daniels

July 17, 2013

I would like to respond to a muddled and misleading article that has been in the media this week.

If the article were an accurate representation of my actions, I would be the first to agree with the many concerns I have heard.

In truth, my emails infringed on no one’s academic freedom and proposed absolutely no censorship of any person or viewpoint. In fact, the question I asked on one day in 2010 had nothing to do with higher education at all. I merely wanted to make certain that Howard Zinn’s textbook, which represents a falsified version of history, was not being foisted upon our young people in Indiana’s public K-12 classrooms.

No one need take my word that my concerns were well founded. Respected scholars and communicators of all ideologies agree that the work of Howard Zinn was irredeemably slanted and unsuited for teaching to schoolchildren. Arthur M. Schlesinger said, “I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.”  Many more such condemnations by persons of political viewpoints different from my own are available on request.

I want to be equally clear that if Howard Zinn had been a professor at Purdue University, I would have vigorously defended his right to publish and teach what he wanted. Academic freedom, however, does not immunize a person from criticism and certainly does not confer entitlement to have one’s work inflicted upon our young people in the K-12 public school system.

As a university president, I am an unequivocal advocate of open inquiry and academic freedom, and I hope to be the strongest defender of that freedom that Purdue has ever had.

A Statement from the Board of Trustees

July 17, 2013

We have reviewed the recent article by the Associated Press regarding emails from then Indiana Governor and now Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

What we see is a complete misrepresentation of President Daniels’ views and concerns. The exchange had nothing to do with academic freedom or censorship. Rather, it had to do with concerns over what is being taught in Indiana’s K-12 public schools.

In his leadership role at Purdue University, President Daniels has stated and demonstrated his complete commitment to freedom of inquiry and has been an emphatic voice for that freedom.

The board rejects as totally misleading the original article and reaffirms its unanimous and complete support of President Daniels.