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A Judaic Lesson In Transparency For Purdue's Trustees

Autumn / Flickr

The new chairman of the Purdue Senate Friday opened his term in office by calling for more transparency from the Purdue Board of Trustees and school administrators.

Biology professor David Sanders, who’s also a Democratic member of the West Lafayette City Council, used the Jewish parable of the “red heifer” – in which a Rabbi explains what Sanders calls a “strange tradition” to a pagan -- to gently admonish the Trustees to publicly address not just what’s good about Purdue, but what needs improvement, as well.

“There’s something that we tell people outside, which I understand," Sanders says. "But the people inside have to be told the truth – that’s the message there.”

But Trustees Chairman Michael Berghoff says he’s not sure what Sanders thinks is being covered up.

“I’m not aware of anything that we’re withholding, whether it be damaging to the University or helpful, because we’re happy to share it all," Berghoff says. "And I’m not sure he’s just talking about numbers. I think he’s talking about news, information.”

Sanders has frequently criticized Mitch Daniels and his administration during the former governor’s tenure as president, arguing that initiatives such as the Gallup-Purdue Index have been twisted to make the school better than the underlying data would suggest.