White House turkeys coming to Purdue? That’s not even the half of it
White House turkeys at Purdue. 4 Dems line up for retiring Lafayette council member’s seat. Faculty’s move on sexual assault. Daniels contemplates masks off at Purdue. And is Teising starting to bend?
Just over here trying to empty the notebook on a busy Monday. A lot of things to go over this evening. It’s another all-skate, free edition, starting with the lightest of the bunch, just to get going …
GOBBLE, GOBBLE TO OLD PURDUE: A pair of southern Indiana turkeys, set to be the centerpiece of this year’s annual White House pardon, will live out their days at Purdue once President Joe Biden is done with them Friday, the university revealed Monday.
The turkeys, still with no names, will live at the Animal Science Research and Education Center, where the university assures that they will stay in a separate enclosed indoor area “with access to a shaded grassy area.” The turkeys will be on display to tout Indiana’s role as the fourth largest turkey-producing state, part of a $12 billion poultry industry in Indiana.
According to Purdue, the turkeys were raised under the supervision of Phil Seger, 2021 National Turkey Federation chairman, and by southern Indiana turkey producer Andrea Welp in cooperation with Farbest Farms. At Purdue, the turkeys will become the responsibility of professors Marisa Erasmus and Greg Fraley, co-advisers of the Purdue Poultry Club.
Purdue will welcome the turkeys with the Boilermaker Special from 1 to 2 p.m. Nov. 29 on the Memorial Mall on campus. No, really.
DEMOCRATS READY TO PICK CITY COUNCIL REPLACEMENT: Tuesday evening Lafayette Democrats will pick among four people who have applied to fill the remaining two years of longtime city council member Lon Heide’s four-year term.
Jacque Chosnek, Tippecanoe County Democratic Party chair, said Democratic precinct committee men and women who live in Lafayette will pick the new at-large council member during a closed-door meeting, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
They will choose from these four.
Grant Fischer is a social studies teacher at Lafayette Jefferson High School. Fischer, who coaches Lafayette Jeff’s cross-country team, said he’d planned to run for an at-large seat in 2023 and was surprised by Heide’s retirement. Fischer was instrumental in getting Jeff students to the polls on Election Day, starting by walking groups to the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds polling place and later helping get early vote centers into the county’s four public high schools. “Through this experience I learned people of all ages and backgrounds genuinely care who represents them,” Fischer said.
Margaret Hass finished among the top three in the 2020 Democratic primary and was on the general election for three at-large Tippecanoe County Council seats. Republicans won those three seats. Hass is a continuing lecturer in the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange program, a volunteer accredited representative at the Lafayette Urban Ministry Immigration Clinic and president of Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies. “After consulting with people I respect in the community, I realized that this could be an opportunity to raise issues that are important for Lafayette, such as racial justice, immigrant integration and cultivating new leadership,” Hass said.
Derek Reuter is an organizational development and creative consultant, active in volunteer efforts in downtown Lafayette events and promotions. In the past week, Reuter has been promoting his candidacy by donating adult diapers to Lafayette nonprofit agencies that work with elderly and homeless residents. Reuter said: “Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed and for the same reasons."
Steve Snyder is a field representative for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157 and is president of the Tippecanoe Building Trades Council. Snyder is president of the Fairfield Township Board, elected in 2018. His reason to run: “Simple answer is public service has always been near to my heart. The opportunities I received as a resident of this community put me on a path to success. It’s time I give back and help grow the next generation. I also want to contribute to the economic roadmap that Mayor (Tony) Roswarski and the city council have develop throughout their years of service.”
Heide, 87, announced his retirement during the Nov. 1 city council meeting. In his fifth term since first being elected in 2003, the former owner of The Athlete sporting goods story said he was stepping down due to health and family issues. His resignation was effective Monday, Nov. 15.
FACULTY BACKS NEW SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION MEASURES: As students keep up pressure on Purdue to do more to prevent sexual assault and to handle it more aggressively when it’s reported, the faculty-led University Senate on Monday approved a list of recommended actions for the university. The moves lined up with identical suggestions from Purdue Student Government, pulled from PSG’s Safety, Accountability and Fostering an Environment of Respect (SAFER) plans.
The University Senate recommended:
All students would be required to pass a session on consent and misconduct at the beginning of each academic year. Students also would have to complete a contract affirming Purdue's standards for consent and sexual misconduct.
Purdue would create “a streamlined and easy-to-locate website” that contains all sexual misconduct policies, information and definitions. Those policies also would be included in the student code of conduct.
Sexual assault would be addressed in the student handbook.
And mental health services for sexual assault survivors would need to be more accessible.
Shannon Kang, PSG president, endorsed the move ahead of Monday’s vote. Katie Sermersheim, Purdue’s dean of students, said the recommendations were in line with discussions the university was having with students demanding changes.
“These four specific items are things I think we can work collectively with campus at large,” Sermersheim said. “(This) is a campuswide issue, not simply a fraternity or sorority topic.”
MASKS COMING OFF AT PURDUE … NEXT SEMESTER: Purdue President Mitch Daniels told faculty members of the University Senate Monday that the university is prepared to relax mask requirements on campus early in the spring 2022 semester. Daniels said Purdue is aimed at a Feb. 1 date to lower its mandate across campus, except in classrooms. Now, masks are required in most indoor spaces on the West Lafayette campus. Daniels said Purdue didn’t want to change the policy on the first day of the spring semester, because people would be traveling from across the country and beyond back to campus after winter break. He said the Protect Purdue folks wanted to be sure numbers aren’t a problem through the first several weeks of the semester.
“We think there’s good medical justification for this,” Daniels said. “It’s happening a number of other places. We have wanted to proceed very carefully, and we still will.”
Daniels said Purdue still will have its vaccinate-or-test requirement on campus for spring semester. According to Protect Purdue dashboard, Purdue's vaccination rate was at 88%, as of Monday.
Daniels also was asked about President Joe Biden's vaccination mandate for federal contractors and how that might affect the university. Daniels says Purdue was watching as the mandate is challenged in court, but that the campus already was working with unvaccinated employees to encourage them to reconsider getting shots, “as though (the mandate is) in effect.”
SIGN OF PROGRESS IN WABASH TOWNSHIP?: A week after Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising told township firefighters and her township board that she might be willing to bring back paid firefighters – but that she’d be the final say on who would and wouldn’t get hired – she sounded ready to bend a bit on that Monday night.
During the second virtual town hall in as many weeks, Teising insisted she was ready to meet with the fire department, despite months of contention between her and a fire department that included her laying off the final three paid firefighters in June. Since then, the fire department has been working with volunteers – a position that has left large chunks of the township frustrated and many calling for Teising’s resignation.
Monday night, she asked firefighters what they wanted. Deputy Chief Jim Lewis said the fire department wanted a contract that gave them more decision-making power, including hiring.
“I’m very amenable to that,” Teising said. “Let’s get it done.”
Teising said she was ready to set up a meeting between her, the fire department and attorneys for both sides. She scheduled a third town hall for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, when she promised to offer the results of those negotiations.
For more background, here’s a look at the meeting last week:
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