My Favorite Governor, After the ’Stache!
by Deborah D. Thornton
Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana – now President of Purdue University and one of my earliest political mentors – is now involved in what may be the toughest fight of all, to cut the administrative bureaucracy and bloat at a major research university. The bureaucracy at Purdue has grown by 75 percent in the last 13 years, requiring significant tuition increases. A February 2014 report from the Delta Cost Project documents that the increased wage and salary cost at colleges (including Purdue) is driven by student services, including but not limited to athletics, admissions, psychological counseling, and career counseling.
Even the former president of the faculty senate, J. Paul Robinson, recognizes something must be done, saying, “A blind man on a galloping horse at midnight with sunglasses on can see the problem.” Daniels has, among other things, cut 10 cars from the Purdue fleet, and identifies the problem – as all families trying to live within their means understands – as cutting lots of little things and minding every penny that goes both in and out.
As Reason magazine says, higher education can’t “provide an affordable education to middle class and low-income families while also hiring a bajillion more residential advisors, vice presidents of sustainability, diversity coordinators, and other paper pushers.” Daniels, one of the smartest people I’ve known – both intellectually and politically – has never hesitated to take on the establishment, even of academia – and as he holds a law degree from Princeton, has the credentials to back him up.
Maybe when Daniels gets done at Purdue he’ll move to Iowa. There are three universities and a bunch of private colleges here who could use his help!
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