Thursday, April 19, 2018

Purdue University Just Froze Tuition for the 7th Straight Year. Mitch Daniels Explains How

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana and director of President George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education on Thursday. Daniels explained how Purdue has been able to freeze its tuition for seven consecutive years and why free speech is flourishing on its campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. A transcript of his Daily Signal interview is below.

Bluey: We’re here at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education. What’s your message to the attendees at this event?

Mitch Daniels: I believe that higher education as we’ve known it is in some jeopardy. A lot of institutions, at least, are going to have difficulty persuading sufficient numbers of students and their families in the future that they’re providing value commensurate with the cost that they’re charging.

I also suggested that there are big opportunities that we need as a society to have addressed. Large numbers of people who could better themselves in life if they were to complete that degree that they started and didn’t finish, or maybe do one from scratch. We’re going to need new ways and means of reaching them, since many of them are well beyond the stage in life where they can engage in old-fashioned residential education.

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Bluey: From a policy perspective, what are some reforms that you would like to see for higher education?

Daniels: Government’s not the answer to every question. It’s not the hammer for every nail.

There are just as many ways in which government involvement has been a contributor to this problem than it is its solution. Clearly, it could help if student financial aid programs were much less complex than they are today. If it would simply deregulate many of the requirements that have been piled on to schools. It’s part of the cost problem.

“Government’s not the answer to every question. It’s not the hammer for every nail.” —@purduemitch

We know that the explosion in federal grants and loans has contributed to driving up the costs. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have done it in the first place, only that it needs re-examination as to whether we’re really getting enough value out of it on net.

But this is a problem, mainly, for system to solve itself, or someone else will. Or the innovators, or so-called disruptors, will solve it for us.

Bluey: Just today, you announced that you were freezing tuition at Purdue University. This is the seventh straight year. That seems remarkable that an institution of your size has been able to do that. How have you been able to do that?

Daniels: It’s simpler than some people imagine, really. It was simply establishing this as our priority and asking everybody in the community, Purdue family, to contribute to it.

We have a wonderfully diverse community at Purdue. Faculty, students, staff. We disagree about all sorts of things, but one thing that almost everybody agrees with is we want our university to be accessible to students, if they’re up to our standards, from whatever socio-economic background. And so, there’s been a lot of support for doing it.

“We disagree about all sorts of things, but one thing that almost everybody agrees with is we want our university to be accessible to students.” —@purduemitch

We’ve grown the student body, and that was part of it. We’ve affected some efficiencies and cost savings, but we can do … believe me, we’ve not done nearly what I think should.

By solving the equation for zero, as opposed to first deciding how much to spend and then dialing up the tuition to match, which was the old formula still practiced by some, we have not found it that difficult. It has turned into a selling point for our school.

We started out doing it because we thought it was right to do. As we’ve been able to extend it and extend it, it has turned out it was a reasonably prudent thing to do. And it’s now the next academic quality, the second most often mentioned reason that a student applies to or accepts admission to Purdue.

Bluey: What’s your message to other college and university presidents?

Daniels: I don’t preach. Thank goodness we have a very diverse system. All sorts of variety across it. Small, large, public, private. The whole spectrum.

I always decline the invitation to suggest that anything that we’ve done at Purdue University is necessarily for others. Except just to say that in support of the system, really, with affection for the network that we have had.

I mean, it has been the finest in the world. We want it to stay that way. But to do so, it’s going to have avoid denial, face up to the fact that we have not provided enough value, enough quality for the dollar we’ve charged, and be quick and nimble to make adjustments before disruptors of our sector do what they did to newspapers and big-box bookstores.

Bluey: Free speech on college campus has been a big issue, along with political correctness more broadly. What’s your experience been at Purdue? Is it as bad as it’s perceived to be?

Daniels: Not at our university, I’m happy to say. And I think it possibly, as a problem, has somewhat crested, and I hope it’s receding somewhat. The authoritarianism, the intolerance, the stifling of alternative viewpoints, the insistence on so-called diversity in every respect except diversity of viewpoint.

“You can’t serve the ultimate purpose of higher education if you don’t have a genuine free speech environment.” —@purduemitch

But as Purdue University, we have the gold star rating for free speech, and have for years. We were the first school to embrace what we like to call the Chicago principles. We thought they were so good when the University of Chicago enunciated them, our trustees simply adopted them.

I’m very happy to tell you that people who disagree strongly about other things, about many of these issues, on our campus at least, have really supported strongly the idea that you can’t have freedom of inquiry. You can’t serve the ultimate purpose of higher education if you don’t have a genuine free speech environment.

Our freshman students, in a couple of months, our incoming students, along with the rest of the orientation, will go to a program we created, which we have shared with other schools, which explains these principles and role plays them so that from the first class that they take at Purdue, students understand that here, we may sanction conduct, but never speech. And the answer to erroneous or offensive or intolerant speech is better speech.


3 Student Journalists Sue University for Covering Up Teacher’s Role in Anti-Trump Campus Rally

Three student journalists have filed a lawsuit against their Illinois university and an instructor, alleging that the teacher grabbed and broke a smartphone as they tried to report on an anti-Trump rally.  

The three students’ federal suit against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and instructor Tariq Khan says that the university got a restraining order preventing them from reporting on Khan’s involvement in the November protest against President Donald Trump.

Khan, 39, was charged with destruction of property after taking and smashing a student’s smartphone on the pavement, an action caught on video.

The suit contends that the instructor and university officials violated the students’ constitutional rights to free press, free speech, and due process, according to the law firm representing the students, Mauck & Baker, LLC.

“The First Amendment should not be a partisan issue or something only conservatives are willing to defend,” the law firm said in a formal statement.

The suit claims that the school punished freshmen Joel Valdez and Blair Nelson and senior Andrew Minik for reporting on the anti-Trump rally, the organizers of which included the Black Rose Anarchist Federation.

“During the rally, Black Rose spokesman and university instructor, Tariq Khan, assaulted Joel Valdez and also went after student Blair Nelson who was video-recording the event,” the law firm said. “Co-plaintiff Andrew Minik, who was not at the event, reported on the incident for Campus Reform, a college news organization.”

The university’s restraining order on Valdez and Nelson was “to prevent them from reporting on Tariq Khan,” their lawyers said in a press release.

A video of the incident appears to show Khan, a doctoral candidate and graduate instructor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, yelling at students, physically assaulting one, and taking and throwing the phone to the pavement.

“Our attorneys are reviewing this,” a university spokesman said Friday, declining further comment to The Daily Signal on the lawsuit.

Khan is seen in the video saying “f— Donald Trump” and telling Valdez and other members of Turning Point USA, a conservative student organization present during the demonstration, that he will “go tear down one of your flyers right now.”

The video shows Valdez appearing to anger Khan by suggesting the instructor had nothing better to do than protest Trump and asking, “Don’t you have kids to look after?”

Khan then accuses students of threatening his children at least 25 times in a span of about three minutes. He is seen raising his hand and apparently attempting to hit Nelson, who is recording him with a phone.

The video shows Khan shouting at students when they ask him how they have made a threat, accusing them of threatening his children.

Other times he chooses not to reply, as shown in this six-minute video, which contains language many viewers may find offensive:

The university instructor is seen saying to students: “You’d better check yourself, OK? Check yourself. I’ll f— you up.”

The broken phone reportedly had an estimated value of $700.

University police charged Khan with criminal destruction of property. His case is pending.

According to the lawsuit, the university secured a restraining order on the three students at the request of Khan after Minik, a senior, reported on the incident for Campus Reform.

“I was told that if I wanted the ‘situation to improve,’ that I should stop writing about Khan,” Minik told lawyers, according to the law firm.

The Daily Signal was not able to reach Khan, whose contact information was removed from the university’s website after the incident, and Campus Reform has said he has not responded to its requests for comment.

In February, the university’s Campus Faculty Association issued a statement supporting Khan, describing him as an Air Force veteran who is “an engaged, thoughtful, and committed scholar and a wonderful and effective teacher.”

The lawsuit alleges that Khan is “affiliated with a number of extreme left-wing groups including the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, an ‘Antifa’ group advocating revolution and expressly justifying political violence.”

Khan also is backed by Campus Antifascist Network, a far-left group that organizes protests against conservatives on campus, The Daily Signal has learned.

Campus Antifascist Network released a statement in support of Khan in January that accused Turning Point USA of instigating his actions.

The statement sought to link Turning Point USA to Campus Reform, saying the news organization is its “associated media arm.”

In fact, TurningPoint.News, not Campus Reform, is the group’s media arm.


Australia hosting unprecedented numbers of international students

Being in a similar time zone to China helps.  No jet lag

Australia is hosting unprecedented numbers of international students, who now make up more than a quarter of enrolments at some universities.

Department of Education figures show that in February, Australian universities, private colleges, English language courses, and schools registered a combined 542,054 enrolments.

That compares with 305,534 total enrolments five years ago.

Students from China make up the largest proportion of students at 31 per cent, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.

But universities have been seeking to diversify their international student markets, and the latest figures show there have been big rises in the numbers of students from Brazil and Colombia.

Western Australia has even opened up a market for students from Bhutan, with almost 1,000 students from that country enrolled in courses at WA institutions this year.

Grattan Institute higher education program director, Andrew Norton, said some universities were making huge profits out of the international student market.

"Because the Government has effectively capped the number of domestic students, international students are becoming an increasing percentage of all students," Mr Norton said.

"A lot of that revenue to universities is being invested in buildings and in research activities."

International students are concentrated in the larger Group of Eight universities and technology universities.

"That means there are huge numbers of international students living in the inner cities of Australia's big capitals," Mr Norton said.

"That is transforming the rental market, it's transforming the nature of the restaurants in the area, it's changing what the streets look like. So this is having a big effect on certain parts of Australia well beyond the university gates."

Chinese student Eva Li, 22, is studying finance at the University of Sydney. She said she chose the university because of its high international ranking. "There are lots of Chinese students here, education is very high level," Ms Li said. "It's not better than the good universities in America or England, but it's also quite A grade.

"The teachers are very good. It's a different type of education in Australia than in China. We have more chance to communicate with the teacher than in China. There are a lot of group works and it is not quite like this in China.

"It's a very good experience for me. Maybe I will be back to China for my job, but I will still have a good memory (of) here."

The value of the international student market has increased 22 per cent since 2016 and is now worth $32.2 billion a year.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was committed to maintaining a stable regime of visa entry rules to provide certainty for international students.

"We'll continue to work to promote the value of our education system to the rest of the world," Mr Birmingham said.

Universities Australia's chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.

"We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia's third-largest export sector," Ms Robinson said.

"This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.

"These half a million international students will become tomorrow's global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation's worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics."


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