Indiana Gov. Daniels named next Purdue president

By Tom Coyne

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"I don't think he has a proven track record in terms of being able to get the job done and doing things the right way," said Tim Neuhaus, 28, of Baltimore, Md., who graduated from Purdue in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree and works as a project engineer for a commercial construction company.

Mindy Anderson, 33, who is seeking a doctorate in pharmacy and teaches veterinary classes at Purdue, said she thought Daniels was a great choice because of his leadership skills. She said she wasn't concerned that he had cut higher education spending in the past.

"He didn't do it irresponsibly. I think he did his homework and got the information he needed and did what he needed for the financial health of the state," she said.

Daniels won't be in a position to decide on allocations to Purdue during the remainder of his term as governor because the Legislature does not reconvene until January.

But Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City and a member of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, questioned whether Purdue would be treated more favorably than other state-supported universities when the Republican-dominated General Assembly is making appropriations.

"What do the folks in the inner sanctum of Indiana University or Ball State University have to say? Do they think they're going to be treated the same way?" Pelath said. "It would be foolish not to look down the road and consider the possible implications."

Daniels will have to win over faculty and students who question whether having him appointed by a board he largely appointed poses a conflict of interest. Some also are leery of his lack of academic experience and his reputation for shaking up the status quo.

Morris Levy, a biological sciences professor who just completed a term as University Senate chairman on June 1, said some faculty worried that Daniels might lower the school's academic standards. He pointed to the governor's support of the Legislature's recent decision to limit the number of college credits state university students need to earn a degree.

"The intrusion of politics into the academy is something everyone ought to be wary of," Levy said. "But he does bring enormous skills to the job we haven't previously had."

Purdue officials said they anticipated some negative reaction to Daniels' selection but said support was overwhelmingly in favor of his appointment to succeed France Cordova, who will step down in July after five years at Purdue's helm.

"He's a visionary. He's a strategist. He's an innovator. But most of all, he's a doer," said Trustees President Keith Karch.

Associated Press writers Charles Wilson, Ken Kusmer and Tom LoBianco in Indianapolis contributed to this story.

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