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Editorial columns

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Purdue puts rival schools on the spot


For anyone who followed Mitch Daniels’ actions as governor, it is no surprise that less than two months into the presidency at Purdue University, he has announced a bold initiative to save money.

Daniels announced that tuition on the home campus at West Lafayette will stay flat for two years, a decision that will please Purdue students and their parents but could create a backlash when the university makes cuts to accommodate the freeze.

Politically, Daniels’ move could place pressure on the state’s other public universities, which will present their budgets for the next two fiscal years to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The tuition limit comes at a time when Indiana public universities are struggling with new funding formulas from the state Commission on Higher Education that place a priority on graduating students in four years.

The last time Purdue went without a tuition hike was 1976.

Judicial shift

The number of applicants for the pending opening for an Allen Superior Court judge will most likely grow, perhaps significantly, now that the duties have shifted.

Judge Dan Heath’s decision to move to the Family Relations Division to replace the retiring Judge Steve Sims will mark a significant change for Heath. The family-relations position requires knowledge of not just civil family law but juvenile criminal law as well, an expertise not that many of the county’s lawyers have.

And the position carries a heavy administrative workload, with responsibility for overseeing the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center in addition to the significant juvenile caseload.

Heath, now entering his 17th year on the bench, decided he was ready for new challenges and said he has already begun preparing for the new role.

Not to diminish the importance of the Civil Division seat that Heath and three other Superior Court judges hold, but his new job will be a lot harder. And the vacancy on the Civil Division will draw a lot more interest from local attorneys than the complex and wide-ranging Family Division seat.

That could well make for more work for the local commission comprised of Supreme Court Justice Steven David, three local attorneys and three non-attorneys. To replace Sims, the commission would most likely have reviewed a handful of applications to choose three finalists to submit to Gov. Mike Pence. To replace Heath, the applicant pool will probably be larger, perhaps much larger.

White’s deadline

Out on bail in the year since he was convicted of voter fraud and other charges with only verbal plans to appeal, former Secretary of State Charlie White now faces a deadline to get the appeal rolling or, presumably, start serving his sentence. A Hamilton County judge gave White until March 15 to file a motion for a new trial.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461- 8113 or by email,