INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI/AP) - A group of Purdue University professors says it is concerned about school President Mitch Daniels' continued insistence that liberal historian Howard Zinn was a "fraud."
More than 90 professors wrote an open letter to Daniels on Monday saying they were more troubled by his continued criticism of Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" now than they were by emails about the historian that he sent as governor.
Co-author of the letter and History Professor Susan Curtis said Zinn has always been a lightning rod for controversy, but is still a well-respected historian. She said the professors are upset that Daniels continues to defend his position now, as university president.
"I could see him saying something like, 'Wow, I really believe that. But now, I've been at Purdue for six months. Now, I understand how important it is to have opinions from all sides.' But we weren't hearing that," said Curtis.
WLFI-TV has obtained that open letter. You can view it in its entirety here.
Daniels responded to the professors' concerns Monday with many of the same arguments he made last week, saying he supports academic freedom and that his efforts never involved higher education.
The emails were published last week by The Associated Press and showed Daniels calling for the removal of Zinn's work from teacher preparation courses.
After the AP report, WLFI spoke with Daniels about the issue. He said his comments applied only to K through 12 education and the emails had been "distorted" by the Associated Press.
After a recent Board of Trustees meeting, Daniels defended his position. He said 99 percent of parents in the state would want their children to use some other book than Howard Zinn's book, which Daniels said is a false version of American history.
The continued controversy comes just a few days after the Purdue Board of Trustees approved more than $58,000 in incentive pay for Daniels for "exceeding expectations" in his first six months as president.
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