Indiana News

IPFW Leaders Criticize Purdue Governance but Balk at Independence

Ousted chancellor charges West Lafayette keeps IPFW at "arm's length"

9/4/2012


(photo courtesy of Purdue University)

Some past and present IPFW leaders are criticizing Purdue's stewardship of the university, but they're stopping short of endorsing a proposal to make the school independent.

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Fort Wayne-area legislators asked a study committee to discuss a possible University of Fort Wayne after the forced retirement of Chancellor Michael Wartell at age 65. Senator Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) notes the rule has been waived for other administrators, including incoming president Mitch Daniels, who will be 63 when he begins a five-year contract. Banks suggests Wartell was penalized for clashing with West Lafayette leaders over the Fort Wayne campus's needs.

Wartell appeared before the panel to charge Purdue administrators keep the campus at arm's length, placing construction projects far down the priority list and leaving both IPFW and northeast Indiana unrepresented on the board of trustees. But he says there would be "pitfalls" to going independent -- he says he'd rather see a change in the board structure and better communication from the president's office.

Purdue administers the campus, which offers both Purdue and IU degree programs. Purdue and IU officials were neutral in their testimony, though acting Purdue provost Victor Lechtenberg says the Purdue and IU names bring "brand value" to IPFW. Acting president Tim Sands says Purdue has already begun a review of all its regional campuses, but is leaving that report open until Daniels takes office in January.

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