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Purdue Senate Passes Resolution Against Kaplan Deal

Stan Jastrzebski

Purdue President Mitch Daniels Thursday attempted, to the Purdue Senate, to defend his school’s decision to buy online education provider Kaplan.

Daniels says much of the reporting of the merger has been fraught with inaccuracies, including that Kaplan University is currently subject to student lawsuits.

Daniels took questions from the faculty and says success for the merger means thousands more degrees are awarded in the next 5-10 years and the deal becomes a significant revenue source for Purdue.

But some, such as anthropology professor Evelyn Blackwood, worried openly to Daniels that the Purdue brand would be diluted by the deal and students would be left with degrees that are worth less than Purdue diplomas currently are.

“Well, that’s exactly what they said about the land grants," Daniels responded. "Listen, you’re probably right. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve whatever quality we can possibly get to them.”

Senate Vice Chairman Alberto Rodriguez calls it the third time he can remember that necessary faculty input was foregone and says it’s a disturbing trend.

“We really need to put a stop to this, because if we allow this to continue, we really need to ask ourselves what’s going to be next,” Rodriguez says.

Daniels sought to discredit news articles, in the Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere, which cast doubt on the motives of the deal and its lack of transparency.

Faculty questioned Purdue legal counsel Steve Schultz on why the so-called “New University” will not be subject to public records requests, as much of Purdue is.

Schultz says the incorporation of “New U” as a public benefit corporation, rather than a state university, exempts it under Indiana law.

At the end of the two-hour meeting, the Senate passed a mostly symbolic resolution condemning the school’s Board of Trustees for entering into the deal with little faculty input included and asking for all such decisions to be rescinded.