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Opening Arguments

Fort Wayne U?


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A state legislative committee plans to discuss whether the joint campus run by Indiana and Purdue universities in Fort Wayne should become an independent school.

The General Assembly's Select Commission on Education is to review the governance of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne at its Sept. 4 meeting at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn tells the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/PaLaiK ) that among the topics will be the possibility of moving IPFW from Purdue's administration and have it become Fort Wayne University.

Kruse says Purdue's leaders concentrate on the West Lafayette campus and treat IPFW as an afterthought even though it has more than 14,000 students.

Not sure what I think about this. On the plus side, an autonomous university would be better able to respond quickly and adequately to the needs of the community and local students. But divorcing Purdue and IU would cut off a lot of valuable resources, and a degree from one of those schools means a lot more than one from "Fort Wayne University" would.

There was a lot of noise about this issue in 1994, when there was a study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. There was unhappiness with the arrangement with Purdue even back then, but the consensus seemed to be not for a full break with Purdue and IU but a renegotiated arrangement that would give IPFW more fiscal and academic control. Maybe the sentiment for separation has grown here, but I don't think Purdue has changed its stance.