Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels

Purdue University

The issue of free speech on a college campus has already been tested at Purdue in 2016.

From anti-abortion protestors using fiery rhetoric in an effort to rile up passersby to a University employee posting threats of rape on social media, the newly-adopted “Chicago principles” of free speech have been tested almost to their limits.

On this month’s conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, we ask if the school put itself in a tough spot by advocating for expanded freedom of expression.

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Puzzled.

That’s the word Purdue officials have chosen for their reaction to a call from West Lafayette city leaders who wanted more transparency in the process of deciding which firms would spend as much as $120 million to overhaul State Street.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels says a little secrecy is the price of doing business, and says Purdue doesn’t have to help.

But city leaders admit they need the school to front the money or the job will never get started.

That’s just one of the topics on this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels.

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Many of us have been stopped for speeding by a police officer. It’s uncomfortable and it’s tough to know what to say or do.

But when you’re a public figure like Mitch Daniels, there’s an added layer of scrutiny.

Purdue’s President was reminded of that in the wake of a traffic stop on campus last month, and then reminded again when editorials suggested he should have asked for a ticket, rather than the warning he was given. On this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels, we’ll talk about that stop.

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Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has been pondering a number of racially-charged issues in the last month.

He’s of Syrian heritage and has watched as his state has tried to deny refugees fleeing civil war from coming to Indiana.

And his campus was the site of a protest similar to one at the University of Missouri decrying racial disparities at Purdue.

Those are just two topics we cover on November’s Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels.

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How’d you like to be so popular with your bosses that they offer to extend your contract by two years and then offer you a million dollars just to keep your job till the end of your contract?

That’s what the Purdue Trustees recently did with President Mitch Daniels. We chat about his new pay structure on this month’s conversation with him.

We also have a conversation about the University’s promotion and tenure policy.

Purdue University

There’s a storm brewing between Purdue’s faculty and its Board of Trustees over the issue of tenure.

When last year’s Gallup-Purdue Index showed Purdue faculty have historically been poor at mentoring students, Trustees insisted a metric measuring faculty-student engagement be included in the tenure decision-making process.

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Mitch Daniels has tried to make his time as Purdue President about student affordability – so this month in our regular conversation with him, we ask about the plans from three people who’d also like to be president – of the United States.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the former Republican governor doesn’t have rave reviews for education savings plans from the top three contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

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One of the watchwords in higher education is “more.” Schools have to be careful what they strive to have more of – and often, what they never meant to accumulate in the first place.

On this month’s conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, we ask about a couple items Purdue wants to have more of: gifts to the university and minority students and faculty members.

By almost any measure, Purdue has struggled to recruit African-Americans to campus – either to teach or to learn.

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Charter schools have been one of the most divisive education issues of the last decade in Indiana education circles. But on today’s monthly conversation with Purdue president Mitch Daniels, he calls criticism of them “rubbish” as he explains why the school needs one to recruit more black students.

As Purdue has recruited more international and out-of-state students to balance out its tuition freezes, imbalances in the student body have emerged. Some of them are attendance-based – there are a lot of Asian students and few African-Americans.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the national inflation rate for 2014 was about 1.6-percent. That means employees who receive raises of 1.6-percent are just keeping pace with an increased cost of living.

So when Purdue proposed a 3-to-3.5-percent raise for many employees, it came as a welcome respite from years of raises in the 0-to-2-percent range. On this month’s conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, we ask him how he arrived at that number and how it’ll be doled out.

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