WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Faculty members across the state are voicing opposition to Purdue University's deal to acquire for-profit Kaplan University.
In an unprecedented move, Purdue's Board of Trustees approved a plan last week to create a new online university from the acquisition in an attempt to broaden its online education reach and better serve nontraditional degree-seekers.
The announcement came as a shock to members of the university, as well as higher education leaders throughout the country, who quickly began dissecting the deal and questioning what it meant for Purdue's brand and public education in general.
In faculty circles, concerns bubbled about a lack of transparency from leaders in the decision and whether the 2,500 professors from Kaplan University who will transfer to the new university will share the same shared governance and academic freedom rights as those who teach in the state's public institutions.
The Indiana Conference of American Association of University Professors on Tuesday evening released a statement that said it "objects strenuously" to the deal for a handful of reasons, including that faculty input wasn't sought beforehand, an assessment wasn't done on the impact on the academic quality of Purdue, and "non-profit institutions serve the public good; for-profit private institutions serve corporate interests. The two should not mix."
"We have to stand against this on principle," said Miriam Pittenger, president of Indiana's AAUP chapter and professor of classical studies at Hanover College, a private liberal arts school.