Ex-Purdue dean calls Daniels pick ‘travesty,’ cancels $1M gift

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A former Purdue University dean said she's dropping from her will a $1 million gift to the school over the hiring of Gov. Mitch Daniels to become the university's next president.

Marilyn Haring, who was dean of Purdue's College of Education from 1991 to 2001, told the Journal & Courier for a story Friday that she was troubled by Daniels' lack of academic background and his policy decisions on education funding and labor issues.

Haring said the $1 million donation planned for the College of Education was established when she left the university in 2007 but she hadn't told Purdue officials about the gift.

"I regard the appointment of Mr. Daniels as a travesty and insult to academics," she wrote in an email Thursday to the Purdue Board of Trustees and university officials. "Further, in his political career, Mr. Daniels has taken stands that are counter to all that I believe in, such as support for public education, equity and unions to protect and further the well-being of those who labor."

The Purdue trustees voted last week to hire the Republican governor to replace France Cordova, who will step down in July after five years. Daniels will start at Purdue after his second term as governor ends in January.

Purdue trustees Chairman Keith Krach said giving money to the university is a personal decision and that he believes donations will ultimately increase under Daniels.

"We are getting a positive reaction of 10 to one. I've seen a lot of emails and messages back and forth from huge donors willing to step up. There are guys coming out of the woodwork, people I didn't know," Krach said. "I can't even tell you how many people I am hearing from, including some very prominent people. With the governor coming in, I think it is going to be huge when it comes to development."

The Purdue Research Foundation ended its 2011 fiscal year with nearly $1.1 billion in assets, according to its annual report.

Critics of Daniels' new position point toward a number of his policy decisions, including cutting 6 percent from the statewide higher education budget in 2009 and, in his last budget as governor, cutting the budgets of public universities by 3 percent, a $34 million yearly reduction.

A group of current and former students, community members and others opposed to the Daniels hire are planning a daylong protest Saturday on Purdue's Memorial Mall.

Haring, who spent 16 years at Purdue as a professor and dean and now lives in Santa Fe, N.M., said she hoped university officials would reconsider hiring Daniels.

"The appointment of Mr. Daniels cannot add to the academic luster of Purdue; and I believe it inevitably will detract from that luster," she said.

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