The Outstater

March 27, 2024

Our ‘War’ with Indiana University

“ARE YOU GOING TO WAR with Indiana University-Bloomington?” is the question prompted by a string of essays challenging the university’s leadership, particularly its admission policies. Hah, it would be a short war, is our reply.

Our foundation is no match for a university with rooms full of lawyers to field Freedom of Information requests, hundreds of influential faculty members and powerful alumni throughout the state, including many in public office. It would be more accurate to say we are sniping, perhaps just taking pot shots. 

Nonetheless, our concern is legitimate and IU’s arrogance is untenable. We believe the culture there is toxic to the larger surrounding society — where do you think those “no-bail” prosecutors and judges come from? That is demonstrable in both its admission and curricula decisions. We only call for effective oversight by the governor’s office, a  job you might have thought it was already doing. (At least the Legislature got the ball rolling with an oversight bill this session.)

No, don’t bother standing behind academic freedom waiving the tenure flag. That is laughable on a campus — nay, in an entire city — where everyone either thinks alike or keeps their mouth shut for fear of losing a comfy post. Therein extreme ideology is allowed to block honest inquiry, the very thing tenure was meant to protect, not to mention the guarantees of the First Amendment. 

Look, after all these years following the chimeric dreams of the 1960s, the university needs a dose of reality in the form of serious adult supervision. It worked miracles at Purdue under Mitch Daniels.

But don’t count on the IU Board of Trustees, a group of well-connected Babbits fully occupied caging invitations to the choice dinner parties and claiming the best seats at Assembly Hall (now Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall after a $40-million donation for renovations to include luxury boxes).

On other campuses, trustees, alumni and donors step up to hold an administration to account. Not at IU, where a legendary basketball program was dismantled never to recover because a coach crossing campus pushed aside a rude, disrespectful student.

We mentioned pot shots, well, every once in a while one hits its mark.

A few years ago our Margaret Menge detailed IU’s odd preference for students from China. It’s almost as if someone decided to sell a swath of the campus to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

Menge says that in the 2019-2020 academic year students from China together paid over $80 million to IU Bloomington in tuition and fees alone. This is close to half the total amount of funding that IU Bloomington gets from the state of Indiana each year, which is around $200 million.

Menge attended a lecture where a student from China was allowed to shout down a U.S. senator in front of the IU president. Later, she interviewed a dissident who said that virtually all of the students from China take an oath to report to the CCP. Some are active and disruptive agents, says the Department of Defense.

Crickets.

Years earlier, an authority no less than a member of the law school’s own admissions committee, Prof. Robert Heidt, blew the whistle in an article published by the Indianapolis Star:

“Roughly speaking, to meet our de facto quotas, we must leapfrog less qualified minority applicants over approximately 330 more qualified non-minority applicants each year, many of whom, of course, will be Indiana residents. Predictably, my opposition to our policy has been futile. Memos of my concerns — concerns taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court —  received no reply. As I said to The Indiana Policy Review in submitting a statistical report on our policy, ‘On this subject the faculty and administration are entrenched in a Thermopylae of poor judgment and blocked imagination from which apparently no force on earth can dislodge us.’”

David McIntosh, then running for governor, courageously chimed in, citing our study and saying that racial quotas are illegal and unfair. “More troubling is the fact a state school can give preference to out-of-state minority applicants over better qualified non-minority applicants from Indiana,” McIntosh told a Bloomington audience. “The taxpayers who support this school expect it to educate qualified Hoosiers first and foremost.”

More crickets.

This month, writing of comparable policies at his alma mater, the novelist Mark Helprin lamented what has become of the American university and its purposeful demotion of certain unfavored groups in favor of favored groups. He drew parallels to Heidelberg University in Germany, circa 1935.

“Harvard has always thought too highly of itself,” Helprin concluded, “but in light of what its heartfelt and corrupt principles have led to of late, and whether it will comprehend this or not, Harvard should be told that pridefully, unconsciously, stupidly, and cruelly, the face it has presented to the world is hideous to behold.”

Let us hope we do not find ourselves writing similarly about our Indiana University. — tcl
 



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