Jae Lee / WBAA News

For much of the last week, students have been camped out in Purdue University’s administration building, hoping for a meeting with President Mitch Daniels.

They’ve got demands about how the school handles diversity that they want met before they leave. But it’s unclear whether the president will see them.

On this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with Mitch Daniels, we ask if their demands are reasonable and we hear what steps the president is definitely NOT willing to take.

Purdue Muslim Student Association Decries Orlando Attack

Jun 13, 2016
Chris Morisse Vizza / WBAA

The Purdue Muslim Student Association released a statement about the Orlando, Florida mass shooting at a gay night club where a gunman killed at least 49 people.

The release states:

“The Purdue University Muslim Student Association offers our deepest condolences for the victims of the tragedy in Orland. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

Purdue University students joined others at colleges across the nation Friday in a solidarity rally supporting students of the University of Missouri.

Student leaders and volunteers shared stories about racism and proposed ways the Purdue administration could fix the problem.

Many students called attention to an email Purdue President Mitch Daniels sent earlier in the week, attempting to reaffirm Purdue’s inclusiveness.

J. Stephen Conn

Though he’s had a couple dozen people express interest in serving on the city’s reconstituted human rights commission, Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says there’s a problem: almost all of them are white.

“I am struggling with it a little bit because when I look at the group, we’ve had some really good people express interest and I’m excited about that," Barton says. "My primary concern: there’s not much diversity in that group and that does trouble me somewhat.”

courtesy Purdue University

By many accounts, Purdue doesn’t compare well with its Big 10 peers when it comes to underrepresented minority student enrollment and success. During the Spring 2015 semester, African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, Hispanic and multi-racial students made up only 11.5-percent of the school’s student body.

According to census data, those same groups, minus those who identify as multi-racial, comprise more than 18-percent of the state’s total population.

Rose-Hulman Sets Record Number Of Female Students

Aug 28, 2015
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology / http://www.rose-hulman.edu/offices-and-services/student-life.aspx

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology says the 20th anniversary of co-education at the school is being marked by a record number of female students this year.

Rose-Hulman says this year's incoming freshman class has 133 female students, which is a school record and represents one-quarter of the class.

Vice President For Enrollment Management and Strategic communications James Goecker says the school is increasing diversity in its student body, "with 30 percent of the 2015-16 freshman class of 547 being non-Caucasian, non-American citizen."

Purdue University

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.

Anti-racism march at Purdue

Apr 22, 2013
Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

More than 200 members of the campus community are raising awareness of racism at Purdue and asking the administration to do something about it.

Monday's march began at the Black Cultural Center and went to the Memorial Mall before ending at the steps of Hovde Hall.

Chris Warren works in the university’s American Studies program and says the impression he got from those watching the march is that people don’t care about the issue.

Purdue University

Tyrell Connor spends a lot of time on Purdue’s campus.  He figures between classes and studying he commits about 35-to-40 hours a week in the school’s buildings.

But, for the fourth year PhD student, one facility in particular represents an ongoing struggle for him and other African American students.

Purdue has no shortage of landmarks.

Its clock tower is visually appealing and the sound of its bell can be heard throughout campus.  The Engineering Fountain offers a beautiful backdrop for graduation and family photos and basketball games inside Mackey Arena spark energy into campus

These landmarks represent what Purdue is today.  But, the land they sit on was once home to Native Americans who now make up less than one percent of the student population.

“People don’t relate to that connectedness that already exists,” said Canek Phillips.