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Sources claim Purdue’s next President is Mitch Daniels

As a liberal Purdue alumna, this is terrible news:

Purdue University officials plan to vote on a candidate for the school’s next president this week – and WISH-TV has learned Gov. Mitch Daniels is the candidate in question.

The Purdue Board of Trustees will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in Steward Center’s Loeb Playhouse to vote on a nominee to be the school’s 12th president. Several sources close to the proceedings tells WISH-TV that the nominee is Daniels. After the vote, the president-elect will be introduced, the school said in a news release.

Daniels’ office had no comment Tuesday afternoon. However, sources with connections to both Purdue and the governor said it’s a done deal.

There’s a lot of reasons to be freaking out that this Republican Governor is about to become President of my alma mater. He defunded Planned Parenthood, hurt public education with conservative voucher programs, supported anti-union legislation, opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions, and enacted voter ID laws that primarily negatively affected young, elderly, and minority voters…just to name a few things. But the thing that will enrage most of my blog readers is what he had to say about atheists in 2009:

People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we’re just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Everyone’s certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they’ve come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.

When I was at Purdue, I founded the Society of Non-Theists, a student organization for atheists, agnostics, and irreligious students on campus. I founded it because I felt like the only atheist on campus, and Purdue was not a welcoming place to me. Over the years as my old club has grown and grown, so many people have thanked me for providing a place where they can openly discuss their non-theism without fear or stigma. And now Mitch Daniels is slated to be President.

Let’s be honest. Purdue is one of the most socially backwards universities in the Big 10, if not the most socially backwards. We’re always dead last when is comes to having GLBT resources on campus, and the community is hostile to anyone who isn’t a white, conservative Christian. My only hope before was that the administration was very supportive, even if the students and greater community wasn’t. Now I’m not so sure.

During my time at Purdue, I was also a member of the President’s Leadership Class. 30 of the ~7,000 incoming freshmen were selected for PLC based on their academics and exemplary leadership abilities. We met in the living room of President Jischke’s house every Monday to discuss leadership, receive training, and make connections. They were fostering us to be the leaders of tomorrow.

The leaders of tomorrow don’t discriminate against atheists, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals.

If you’re a Purdue student or alumni, please email the Presidential Search Committee and [email protected] and let them know why you don’t support Mitch Daniels as President of Purdue.