Thumbs up/thumbs down 

Thumbs up: Ballard steps up

Last week we gave a big thumbs down to the city's botched handling of the Eric Bisard case, an Indianapolis police officer – by all indications, intoxicated – who plowed into three motorcyclists with his patrol car, killing 30-year-old Eric Wells and injuring two others. That thumb stays down until this city gets some answers.Meantime, we're giving a cautious thumbs up to Mayor Greg Ballard for his efforts at righting this series of egregious wrongs. Ballard said he was "well past angry" when DUI charges were thrown out by Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi over what's widely perceived as a weak evidentiary technicality. Whatever the reasons for his anger, Ballard has done the right thing by attacking the perception that IMPD operates above the law. Demotions were called for and delivered; Ballard sent a hand-written letter of apology to Wells' family; and, most substantive of all, Ballard called in the FBI to perform an investigation of what went wrong.

Thumbs down: Moto R.I.P.

What to say about the death of 13-year-old Peter Lenz, who died during a practice lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday? Lenz was the youngest racer to die in IMS' storied, 101-year history, and was warming up on his motorcycle for a preliminary race to the MotoGP when he crashed and was struck by a 12-year-old driver. The racing community, and the community at large, is rightly debating whether children so young should be racing on such dangerous two-wheeled machines. For now, we grieve along with Lenz family, whose worst nightmare is upon them.

Thumbs up: Daniels gets tough on college admin

Governor Mitch Daniels told an assembly of trustees from Indiana and Purdue Universities that it was time for the top-heavy days of ballooning college administrations to end. College leaders are pushing back: state colleges have had to slash staff, freeze salaries and cut operating budgets, they say. But as NUVO reported earlier this year ("Adjunct faculty members suffer low wages, unequal treatment," News, May 26 to June 1), college tuitions and enrollments have skyrocketed in recent decades, and so have administration numbers and pay. Meanwhile, colleges rely on fewer full-time faculty, in favor of part-timers who often don't receive benefits. The Indianapolis Star reports that nearly every Indiana college spent more on administration than on instructional expenses from 2002 to 2008. Further administrative cuts will be painful, but so are the six-figure student loan debts paying their salaries.

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