Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels: 'A Distasteful, But Descriptive Word'

May 30, 2019

The word in question no longer has just a meteorological context...
Credit Jae Lee / WBAA News

Admitting as much when he used it in this year’s commencement address, Purdue President Mitch Daniels chose what he called a “distasteful, but descriptive word” – snowflake – to describe graduates at some of Purdue’s competitor institutions. President Daniels insists he’s received more positive comments about the remark than about almost any other speech he’s given, but the backlash was swift on social media, saying he shouldn’t have even invoked a term that’s often been co-opted by some conservatives to describe people with whom they don’t agree.

On this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with Mitch Daniels, we delve into the choice of the word, and into how it might play into another conversation the president had recently with social scientist Francis Fukuyama, about the issue of identity politics as it pervades speech today.

And we also address how Purdue figures into the statewide debate about teacher pay that encircled this year’s legislative session.