Breaking Away: Lawmakers Talk About IPFW’s Future

By Stephanie Parkinson

August 17, 2012 Updated Aug 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - It’s a contentious debate, should IPFW stand alone as an independent university? For the first time state lawmakers are taking up the topic in Indianapolis.

This idea has long been discussed but now lawmakers are taking it to the table. A public hearing is set for September 4 at 1:00 p.m. in Indianapolis. The study committee on education will talk about the different options.

One idea is to turn the institution into ‘Fort Wayne University’ or ‘Fort Wayne State University.” This would make the school its own entity but keep the affiliation with Purdue and IU. The other idea is for the university to break away completely.

Senator Kruse, who is co-chair of that committee, says what has prompted this is concerns from people in the community. He also says the recent retirement of Chancellor Michael Wartell plays a big factor.

"Spurring on a lot of this was Micheal Wartell's retirement, his forced retirement actually I guess you can say, at 65 years old where he's healthy and in good condition, he could carry on, there's no reason he couldn't carry on. Except Purdue had this, I don't know what they call it, a rule, I guess that under certain conditions at 65 you have to retire and they've made exceptions in times past, on occasion, but they didn't this time," said Senator Dennis Kruse, (R) 14th District.

If they change the name of the university Senator Kruse believes they will be able to get more state funding. He also says more local businesses and people in the Fort Wayne area would give money to the school.

In addition, Kruse wants to see more control at the local level. Currently much of the employment and financial aspects are run off-site, in West Lafayette.

At the same time Kruse knows a lot of people choose IPFW because they receive degrees from Indiana or Purdue University.

Stay with Indiana’s NewsCenter for updates as this story develops.

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