INDIANAPOLIS – The former board chairman of Ivy Tech Community College sent emails with political diatribes, sexist jokes and nude pictures of women to state officials before college officials asked him to stop earlier this year, a report Sunday said.
V. Bruce Walkup sent the emails to officials including Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder; Jeff Terp, Ivy Tech’s senior vice president for engagement Jeff Terp, Earl Goode, then the chief of staff to former Gov. Mitch Daniels; and Rob Carter Jr., the former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who’s now Ivy tech’s security chief, The Indianapolis Star reported.
One email suggested a skunk as a new symbol for President Barack Obama: “It is half black, half white, and everything it does stinks.”
Terp and Snyder did not open any of the emails, Ivy Tech told the Star, which obtained the emails in a public records request.
Walkup’s emails continued for at least six months, the Star said.
Walkup was asked to stop sending such emails earlier this year, Ivy Tech spokesman Jeff Fanter said. Walkup’s messages are “blocked and deleted,” Terp said in an email to the Star.
Walkup issued a statement through the Ivy Tech saying “I do apologize for any misconceptions or persons I may have offended with these questionable emails.”
Walkup, a former IndyCar driver and bank executive, was appointed to the unpaid board position by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2005. Daniels, who is now president of Purdue University, said he was unaware of the emails but acknowledged “Bruce Walkup is sort of a salty guy.” Walkup no longer is chairman but remains on the Ivy Tech board.
It’s uncertain whether Walkup violated Ivy Tech’s sexual harassment policy because he is an unpaid appointee, not an employee. The policy prohibits “sex-oriented oral or written (including electronic) `kidding’ or abuse” and circulating photographs of a sexual nature.
Carter, while director of the DNR, extended special privileges to Walkup at least once last fall. He arranged a duck hunting trip with Walkup on public lands without going through a drawing required of other hunters, the Star said. DNR officials said they are investigating whether any rules were broken.
In one email three months before Ivy Tech posted an opening for chief security officer, Walkup sent an email to Carter suggesting the DNR chief would soon take over the post. Carter was later hired for the $120,000 position, giving him a $10,800 raise, in a move that Ivy Tech officials say Walkup endorsed.
Carter, a former county sheriff and director of law enforcement at the DNR, said he broke no DNR rules in arranging the hunting trip. Ivy Tech officials said Walkup was not involved in Carter’s hiring.
Ethics experts and others said they found the emails disturbing.
“It puts into question the integrity of a whole educational system,” said Richard Painter, who was chief ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush.
“It’s obviously disheartening to have the chairman of the board of Ivy Tech sending sexist emails to the future director of security, who is charged with protecting women on the college’s campus,” said Dan Murphy, president of the Indiana chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com