Let Us Learn – IPFW Students and Faculty Fight Program Eliminations

Their signs, hand-crafted in Sharpie and tattered from the wind, said it all.

“My major matters.”

“IPFW leaders, stop lying to students.”

“Let us learn.”

For two days, IPFW students, faculty, and community members gathered outside of the school’s engineering building, drawing a crowd from the Obelisk to Kettler Hall.

The event, which served as a rally and “teach-in,” was created by faculty and the student group Not in Our Future intended to spread word about the proposed department cuts at the university.

Under the cover of a few tents, students and faculty braved the cold and spoke out against the closing of various majors.

“I was blown away with everything the students had to say,” said Janet Badia, director of the women’s studies program. “It didn’t surprise me students in the affected majors would have a lot to say, but it did surprise me that students who aren’t in those majors could see the way their education was going to be impacted by the changes.”


On Oct. 18, just a week prior to the teach-ins, Carl Drummond, the university’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced the closing of 25 departments and majors.

The departments to be cut included women’s studies, philosophy, and geology. The French and German programs were also suspended.

Audrey Leonard, a junior from Columbia City majoring in women’s studies and communications, is one of the students directly impacted by the closures.

Like most of the students in the affected majors, Leonard says she is disappointed in her university.

“The fact that it feels like they’re not valuing certain degrees, that’s the most heartbreaking, disappointing thing to hear,” Leonard says, “especially from a place that’s considered comprehensive.”

Leonard, a member of Not in Our Future, says the group wanted the event to be a teach-in so professors and their classes could come to the event and learn about what is happening on campus.

One of the most challenging things for the student group so far has been getting others to believe them.

“One of my professors used the term, ‘It’s like Chicken Little,’” Leonard says. “You’re saying, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling,’ but no one believes you. And then the sky is literally on the ground now.”

While the original USAP recommendations to restructure 13 departments came out in June, Director Badia says she was still devastated when upon finding her program would be eliminated.

In fact, she had been working hard to save it.

The recommendation was initially to merge women’s studies with anthropology or sociology, so began meeting with the chairs of both departments to create a new, interdisciplinary unit.

She was later told these plans were not drastic enough.

And Badia fears this is not the end.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the majors that are closing, but I hope people can see the big picture here, because those of us who have been saying this is the tip of the iceberg, we’re not exaggerating,” Badia says. “We’ll see more cuts to the humanities and the fine arts, and Fort Wayne will lose its only comprehensive, public university.”



Steve Carr, interim chair for the department of communication, went up to the microphone several times to speak out against the cuts.

Even though his department was not affected, he says the lack of transparency in regards to IPFW’s budget is frustrating.

He says while the university has made its financial documents readily available, they have not done so with all, including cash flows and how money is transferred between accounts.

“These particular cuts have absolutely no savings. All of the programs either cost no money, so they make their costs back, or they actually make money for the university,” Carr says. “I think a big part of the problem is that these cuts are really not serving a financial agenda, because we don’t even know what the financial is here. They’re serving an ideological one.”

With the cuts officially going into effect place on Jan. 1, Director Badia says she is still working to save the women’s studies program.

“We’re still fighting. I’m not giving up. I know we have lots of support, and I think the Dean supports us existing,” Badia says. “We’re still working to try and make a plan. I think we’re still working to try and make a merger happen. We have definitely not given up.”

But the area by the Obelisk is much quieter now. Messages written in chalk, such as “Save liberal arts” have faded now, but are still visible.

Save the Seven – IPFW Works to Prevent Student Suicides

Esteban Coria dismissed the loud bang in the night, thinking it was just the dumpsters slamming outside.

After all, it had been a windy day.

But it was far from just wind.

Coria, a college student at IPFW at the time, found an unconscious man in a car the next morning, a gun laying on the seat beside him.

He attempted to take the man’s pulse, but found nothing.

“I just remember thinking, why couldn’t he have gotten help from someone?” Coria said. “Why does someone feel so desperate that there is no one who can help them at all?”

Mary Ross, director of Project COMPASS – Community Project Against Student Suicide – said IPFW lost seven students to suicide last year.

“That was really overwhelming last year,” Ross said. “That is a very high number for the size of our campus.”

Jeannie DiClementi, an associate professor of psychology at IPFW and the principal investigator for Project COMPASS, said suicide is the second leading cause of death among the ages of 15 to 24.

Prior to Project COMPASS’ founding in 2012, the university did not have a suicide prevention program.

DiClementi said Project COMPASS focuses on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and educating students on suicide in order to prevent it on campus.

She said certain groups are more vulnerable to suicide. This includes LGBTQ students, ethnically diverse students, and students in the military.

The National Center for Health Statistics recently reported the overall suicide rate for Americans increased by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.

Project Director Ross herself attended a high-pressure, private college 300 miles away from home. She said there were a number of suicides, but it was during a time when people didn’t talk about suicide.

Ross said she remembered a student who committed suicide by jumping from a dorm window.

“Blood stains don’t come up that easy,” Ross said.

Carrie Romines, a wellness specialist at the university, said the hardest part of her job is fighting the stigma against mental health.

“Not only do people not want to admit there’s something wrong,” Romines said, “but other people just don’t know how to handle it, and they don’t want to hear about it.”

MaryAnne Skora, a former communications student at IPFW, said she was affected by the stigma.

Skora first started feeling depressed her senior year of high school. During her freshman year of college in 2013, she began to have suicidal thoughts.

“I remember, actually, being at IPFW in the library, I think on the fifth floor. That’s kind of when the suicidal thoughts started at first,” Skora said. “I felt so much pressure to be perfect. I didn’t really know how to express myself, so I completely isolated.”

She hid her self-harm scars from her parents because she thought they would be ashamed. She would attempt suicide the following year.

Skora thought she could make a quick recovery and return home. Instead, she would later be readmitted for attempting suicide again in August of 2015.

Knowing something had to change, Skora began to share her experience, something she feels is important for those with depression.

“I started realizing I have to talk about this, because think of how many other people are struggling and they don’t have anyone to talk to,” Skora said. “I definitely think it’s important to at least tell someone how you are feeling and find the right person to do it, that you trust.”

On the IPFW campus, Project COMPASS also offers Gatekeeper training, a three-hour class on the signs of suicide and how to approach students who are being affected by depression.

“We’re not training mental health professionals, we’re training the average student and the average faculty member,” Principal Investigator DiClementi said. “When they’ve got a student or roommate talking about being depressed, they will know what to do.”

Ross said one of the challenges COMPASS is facing is figuring out how to get information out through different mediums.

She said COMPASS is looking to create a hybrid Gatekeeper training program, with both online and in-person sessions.

Coria, now a continuing lecturer in Spanish at IPFW, would later learn of a new suicide prevention tool, Telemental Health.

Telemental Health uses telecommunications such as videoconferencing and texting to provide behavioral health services, including access to counselors.

One of the various programs, Crisis Text Line, allows someone experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts to anonymously text a trained professional.

Two of Coria’s students committed suicide in 2016, and he said he can’t help but wonder what would happen if there more options like Telemental Health for students.

“I think it’s a feeling of guilt, shock and sadness,” Coria said. “The next step is asking how can I change this, how can I make this better, how can I prevent future suicides?”


IPFW Health and Counseling Resources:

IPFW Parkview Assistance Program: https://www.ipfw.edu/counseling/

IPFW Community Counseling Center: www.ipfw.edu/counseling-center

Project COMPASS: 260-481-6778, Kettler Hall Room G82


Fort Wayne Men Retell Their Tales of the Refugee Trail

Near the border of Slovenia and Croatia, Amar Masri watched hundreds of Syrian refugees pour out of buses and into the cornfields.

After the first few buses, Amar noticed a man with his wife and two children, a huge smile on his face.

Chaos ensued once the buses began to leave, the man’s smile vanishing as he ran after, his wife screaming, her two children clinging desperately to her.

Amar thought they had left one of their children on the bus, but the family left their money instead, their only way of traveling to another country, a new home.

“With that particular gentleman, I didn’t know what to do,” Amar said. “But I know I have money in my pocket from home, and I looked at my friend and told him, ‘Officially, I am broke now.’”

Amar gave the man and his family what was left in his wallet, ultimately helping them reach their destination in Sweden.

Amar, born in Palestine and now living in Fort Wayne, was once a refugee himself. Knowing what it’s like, he said he felt something needed to be done.

“I’ve been through that once before. I’ve lost my homeland,” Amar said. “I became homeless overnight, but I was one of the luckier homeless people.”

He accompanied Sam Jarjour, a son of Syrian immigrants, and Caleb Jehl, a Fort Wayne native, on their trip to Europe last September.

Sam, Amar, and Caleb are each members of an informal group called Fort Wayne for Syrian Refugees.

Sam said the goals of the group include both educating the community and even resettling refugees in Fort Wayne.

They have spoken at many venues in Fort Wayne, including IPFW and Saint Francis, presenting the documentary of their trip, “The Flight of the Refugees.”

“They’re good people. They’re hardworking people. They’re fleeing incredible violence and incredible uncertainty in hope of a better life,” Sam said. “I really think it’s my, and our, humanitarian duty to do something to try and help.”

Sam said the trio, along with his cousin Elias Matar, a filmmaker living in Los Angeles, set out to document the massive amount of people fleeing to the refugee trail, helping as they could.

According the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, millions of Syrians continue to flee into neighboring countries and into Europe, due to the outbreak of a civil war in 2011.

“We have this connection to Syria, and we’ve had to sit by and watch the civil war destroy our country, and watch our relatives flee either by leaving the country or being internally displaced,” Sam said. “The huge numbers of people being killed or injured, it just really felt horrible not to be able to do something.”

So the group spent nine days on the refugee trail, starting their journey in Austria and making their way through countries such as Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia.

After renting a van and hiring a cameraman in Vienna, they purchased food, water and blankets at a grocery store for the refugees.

The group first planned to go through Hungary, but the country closed its borders a day before they arrived.

Forced to take a different path, they ended up in Sid, Serbia, where busloads of refugees were being dropped off in a cornfield with no one to guide them.

“These people have to walk between three and five miles that take you out into a field, around the actual frontier, and back into the next country,” Sam said. “Since they didn’t have visas, they had to walk around the borders, and they were allowed to do it in a semi-organized fashion.”

One of the people Sam remembers was a 3-year-old girl named Elma. Sam watched her cross into Serbia, along with a female aid who helped take care of children.

“There’s always this uncertain future. They weren’t free from violence once they hit Europe,” Sam said, his voice cracking a little. “To see Elma like that, with such an uncertain future, was really hard for all of us.”

Sam said Elma safely made it to Sweden.

But for Caleb, one of the most challenging things was wondering what would happen to the refugees.

He said he thought people coming from the Middle East would have basic survival skills, but found they were pretty much exactly like him.

“I think that’s an important thing to remember,” Caleb said. “A difference in religion, culture, or skin color doesn’t really make us all that different in the end.”

Caleb said the group plans to take a trip to the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon in October, to help the refugees in the same way they tried to help the Syrians.

Amar said the refugees in those camps go as far back as three generations.

“Those people are the forgotten people,” Amar said. “They have no identity, no passports. They can’t go anywhere, so they are stuck in those refugee camps.”

As for the family that accidentally left their savings on the bus, Amar stayed in touch with them.

“Through social media we connected, and then all of the sudden they just fell off the face of the earth,” Amar said. “But I’m sure they’ll come back.”

He still has a picture of the man and his two children in his pocket, just in case.

University Complies with State’s Laws Regarding USAP

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – In a response to complaints filed by a faculty member and IPFW Student Media, Indiana’s public access counselor said on June 24 the university adequately complied with the state’s public records and open door laws.

Both Hile and IPFW Student Media filed an open records request asking for meeting memoranda from the USAP facilitation team, steering committee, and task force.

Hile, the former co-chair of the task force, said the USAP process was not “conducive to transparency and believed the USAP Task Force was bound by Indiana’s Open Door Law, because its members were appointed by the university’s chancellor, Vicky Carwein, and would make an official action.

On June 10, 2016, their requests for meeting memoranda subject to the Open Door Law were denied in full by the Office of Institutional Equity.

The office, headed by Christine Marcuccilli, said the records requested were not pursuant to the Open Door Law and were considered “intra-agency advisory or deliberative material communicated for the purposes of decision-making.”

Both Hile and IPFW Student Media filed separate complaints with Indiana’s public access counselor on June 15 and 16.

In their complaints, Hile and IPFW Student Media said the USAP committees were bound by the Open Door Law based on the definition of a “governing body.”

According to Marcuccilli, the assertions made in the complaints were a “misunderstanding of the definitions of ‘governing body’ and ‘public agency’ under the Open Door law.”

In her response, Marcuccilli states that in order for a committee to be considered a governing body of a public agency, the committee must be appointed directly by the governing body or its presiding officer.

“The ‘governing body’ of that public agency is the Purdue Board of Trustees, and its presiding officer is the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Michael Berghoff,” Marcucilli said in her response. “Because the Board of Trustees did not directly appoint any of the groups involved in the USAP organizational structure, none of them is a ‘governing body’ under ODL.”

IPFW Student Media brought attention to the lack of record keeping done by the USAP committees in their complaint after they received an unfilled rubric the USAP Task Force used to determine outcomes for specific departments in response to their original records request.

In response, Marcuccilli said, “IPFW has provided volumes of factual materials retained by the USAP committees.”

In addition to the rubric, a reporter was given two links leading to data that the committee used such as feedback reports, persistence measures, enrollment charts, performance measures, and graduation rates.

However, none of the rubrics, data sets, or metrics were presented in a way that reflected how USAP used them to come to their decisions.

According to Marcuccilli, the materials retained by the committee would “have access to thoughts, analyses, and opinions of their fellow group members” and would be in the exception for advisory and deliberative materials under APRA.

“Any retaliatory actions against USAP members on account of opinions they may have expressed in the process would significantly prejudice any future deliberative work on the campus,” Marcucilli said. “This is precisely the type of harmful chilling effect that the deliberative materials exception exists to avoid.”

In his opinion, the public access counselor sided with the university and agreed the USAP committee is not considered a governing body under the Open Door Law.

“The task force’s charter is clear it is only to provide data and information to the Chancellor,” Luke Britt, Indiana’s public access counselor, said. “As it is not a sub-set or delegation of a governing body authorized by the Board of Trustees, it cannot take official action on public business.”

Britt also said IPFW properly responded to the public records request when it invoked the deliberative materials exception under the APRA.

“If this is not contested then it means that nothing that happens on a regional campus needs to be transparent, and I doubt that is what the framers of the law intended,” Hile said in. “It’s a gray area where one could push against the letter of the law in order to get closer to the spirit of the law.”

Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, said the public access counselor’s opinion was not outlandish and could easily be pulled from the code.

“I think that people may find troubling the fact that the governing body is the Purdue Board of Trustees,” Downs said. “It sort of implies that IPFW, the Chancellor and the administration here can do many things that you normally would think would be subject to open records laws.”

“In some respects what USAP could have done differently is to not simply dump data out there, but to be more selective and to include things like the weighting of the rubrics and other things that would have made it easier for people to understand how conclusions were drawn. That’s really where the transparency is needed,” Downs said.

Hile and IPFW Student Media will not be pursuing further legal action.

IPFW Administration Declines to Disclose USAP Documents

This story was updated on June 24, 2016 at 9:55 a.m.

The university administration released an incomplete two-page rubric and links to a website nearly one month after a college dean, department chair, and IPFW Student Media filed open records requests for meeting memoranda, datasets, and any other documentation related to the USAP committee.

According to Rachel Hile, interim chair of the Department of Communication, she filed a record request to point out the committee’s record keeping was not “conducive to transparency.”

“In the state of Indiana, it is actually not legal for a committee to meet behind closed doors and make the decision to gut a college of a state university without any sort of accountability, without any sort or record keeping,” Hile said.

The report recommended 13 departments to be restructured, nine of which were from the College of Arts and Sciences, to save on costs. According to faculty members, the term restructuring wasn’t clearly defined in the report, and could mean merging departments together or eliminating them.

Hile also said she believes the committee is subject to the Open Door Law based on the definitions of a governing body that the Public Access Counselor provides.

“That’s why I wanted to broaden the request to call attention to the fact that there are some actual problems with the process,” Hile said. “There are a lot of people in the College of Arts and Sciences complaining about the outcome, and I think the outcome shows a clear ideological bias against a certain form of intellectual inquiry, but it’s also arrived at a process that is probably illegal.”

According to the Indiana Public Access Counselor’s Handbook, Indiana Code 5-14-1.5, Indiana’s Open Door Law, a specific amount of meeting memoranda must be kept of “governing bodies” engaged in “official action.”

The handbook also says the law requires memoranda such as date, time, and place of meeting; the members of the governing body recorded as absent or present; the general substance of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided; and a record of all votes taken, by individual members, if there is no roll call.

“The law requires you to have this specific, minimum amount of record keeping at meetings. I don’t think they have it. I know they didn’t have it when I was on the committee,” Hile said.

The code states, “Any committee directly appointed by the governing body or its presiding officer to which authority to take official action upon public business has been delegated, except for agents appointed by a governing body to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the governing body.”

The code’s definition of official action includes six steps: receive information, deliberate, make recommendations, establish policy, make decisions, or take a final action.

“There is a lot of talk from the chancellor and the USAP committee members about how this is a very transparent process and they want everyone to know what is happening,” Hile said. “But they’re not keeping records, so that’s not even possible.”

Both Vicky Carwein, the chancellor of the university, and Barry Dupen, co-chair of the task force, said the task force did not keep minutes of their meetings, but all the other data was available online.

“We were just overwhelmed with the work. We didn’t have extra people to keep extra records,” Dupen said. “Discussions amongst ourselves were basically confidential, but the results are all completely public.”

Carwein also said there was no hidden data she was aware of. However, she also said confidentiality was maintained during the meetings in order for the members to “very openly, very candidly, and in all honesty express their views.”

“The intent of all of that is to really encourage people to express themselves freely. So in terms of some of their deliberations, to take those 24 task members and put one of them in a chair and say ‘how exactly did you vote and what was your comment?’ that wouldn’t serve the process,” Carwein said.

“In my time in higher education, this is one of the most transparent processes I have ever been involved in,” Carwein said. “There are just reams, and reams, and reams of data that they posted. The individual divisions and units actually developed their own metrics by which they wanted to be judged. There was nothing top-down about this process.”

According to the report, the recommendation was based on current enrollment trends, number of degrees awarded, and demand. Other factors such as employment outlooks and graduation rates also played a part.

Jeff Malanson, an assistant history professor and university budget committee member, said the academic departments did not come up with their own metrics, but rather USAP decided that employment outlook and graduate job placements would be used.

“While academic departments generally participated in the process of developing performance measures, it is not accurate to say that the departments came up with the metrics themselves,” Malanson said.

In response to Malanson’s claims, Carwein said, “Each of the four vice chancellors oversaw the development of metrics appropriate for and specific to the units in his or her division. Each division was able to develop metrics that were both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Those metrics were then utilized by the USAP Task Force to conduct their evaluation and develop their recommendations.”

According to Malanson, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Carl Drummond, solicited input from academic departments for possible performance measures, but the measures proposed by the departments were largely ignored.

Eric Link, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sent a request to the task force asking for a variety of documents related to the recommendation to restructure departments.

The following day, Link was informed he would have to file an open records request in order to receive those files.

According to Link, he filed an open records request on May 11, asking for minutes, data sets, rubrics, scoring sheets, graphs, charts, or other instruments or data visualizations in order to see how the committee came to their conclusions.

“When the dean of the college that is targeted for the vast majority of cuts has to file an open records request to get information so he can defend the college against those cuts … this is a catastrophically bad situation,” Steve Carr, an associate professor of communication said. “USAP has been a deeply divisive initiative that has caused needless controversy on this campus. It’s pitted people against each other. USAP, as a whole, has destroyed moral. In the end, what do we have to show for it?”

IPFW Student Media filed a similar records request in person with the university on May 16 by hand-delivering the request to Christine Marcuccilli’s university mailbox. Marcuccilli, the university’s compliance officer, said she never received the request. A reporter filed another request in person May 24.

Marcuccilli’s office sent a two-page “Data Decision Making Grid” in response on June 10, 25 days after the initial request. The grid, which included five factors that would assist the committee in making decisions for each department, was not filled out.

The office declined to disclose meeting memoranda and recordings. While state agencies are free to disseminate such documents, they are permitted to withhold documents under state statute.

“It would seem to me if those two pieces of paper are the only thing that were provided to him, then the request was either unfilled, there was a whole lot of denial of the request, or documents no longer exist,” said Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. “The length of the request should result in more than two pieces of paper.”

Marcuccilli said the committee’s “working records,” which include items such as filled out grids or data sheets, were not retained.

“A university is a state agency, and therefore it’s important for the constituents, whether be alumni, faculty, administrator staff, students, understand what is going on within the university, in terms of decisions that its making and moving forward,” Barb Smith, an associate professor of communication, said.

According to Smith, Indiana has a law that allows a public agency “to refuse disclosure of requested records if the advisory or deliberative materials express opinions and are used for decision making.”

“If the minutes that were requested, or the reports that were requested, or the certain part of the rubric was requested are based on advisory or deliberative materials that expressed opinions of the group, and those opinions are used for decision making, those can be exempt if IPFW chooses to make them exempt,” Smith said.

“In the case of USAP, the task force made recommendations about things that should happen on the campus, not just in academic affairs, but in student affairs and athletics,” Downs said. “If those recommendations are to be taken seriously by the administration and by the campus more generally, then obviously there should be some way for people to try to get to the same conclusion that USAP got to.”

Both Hile and IPFW Student Media filed complaints with Indiana’s public access counselor.

James Burg, the dean of Education and Public Policy and chair of the USAP Facilitation Team, did not return requests for an interview by deadline.

A copy of the records request response can be found here: Data Decision-Making Grid.

IPFW Report Recommends University Restructure 13 Departments

An IPFW report recommends the university restructure 13 departments, nine of which are in the College of Arts and Sciences, to save on costs. According to Steve Carr, an associate professor of communication, the report recommendations will “damage the Fort Wayne community.”

“IPFW is the only public university, I believe within a 100 mile radius that offers defined programs in the liberal arts and humanities. If we follow USAP to its logical conclusion, IPFW is not going to be able to offer those programs any longer,” Carr said. “We are going to lose an important service that this university makes to the area.”

The term “restructuring” wasn’t clearly defined in the report, according to Jeff Malanson, assistant history professor and budget committee member. Various sources have also said restructuring could either mean simply merging departments or eliminating programs altogether.

The University Strategic Alignment Process Task Force recommended the university restructure its departments of anthropology, economics, fine arts, geosciences, history, international language and culture studies, master of business administration, philosophy, physics, political science, sociology, visual communication and design, and women’s studies.

“The programs that have not been targeted are going to lose out. Being a faculty member in communication, I want my students to be able to take classes in women’s studies. I want my students to be able to take classes in German and French. I want my students to be able to take classes in anthropology. I want my students to be able to double major. That makes for a better education,” Carr said. “USAP and various other proposals that are being floated are going to compromise the quality and depth of education that students get here.”

The department changes are designed to help make up for a $2 million projected deficit based on a projected decline in enrollment by 2 percent, according to Malanson.

The College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the majority of the departments slated for restructuring, generated about $7 million for the university in the last academic year.

According to the report, the recommendation was based on current enrollment trends, number of degrees awarded, and demand.

Rachel Hile, interim chair of the Department of Communications and the former USAP Task Force co-chair, said she believes the recommendations are not about saving money, but making the institution more focused on vocational training.

Hile said the committee was biased toward cutting programs from the liberal arts, which is reflective of a national trend.

“There has been a drumbeat of conversation across the country about how the humanities are a luxury and we don’t need them,” Hile said.

According to Hile, the strategic alignment committee recommended restructuring or possibly cutting academic departments that generate revenue for the university even though athletics and university housing lose money each year.

“You just got a sense that there was a bias towards liberal arts when all of the examples anyone ever uses are about departments in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Hile said. “When there is such a focus on job outcomes and an educational path leading to a specific job, it’s a very narrow view of the purpose of education.”

Malanson said the recommendations don’t reflect a complete understanding of the university’s budget.

“Some versions of restructuring could just be merging two departments, and so eliminating a department chair position,” Malanson said. “If that’s all restructuring takes, I’ve seen estimates from saving anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000 a year.”

While Malanson said those numbers are not insignificant, he said they would not enable substantial changes to a university.

“One of the most difficult, mathematical things to think about is every single one of those departments on that list makes money for the university,” Malanson said. “For the nine College of Arts and Sciences departments listed in the proposal, in the last year that performance measures were made available for, they generated over $7 million in profit for the university.”

The task force, commissioned by the university’s chancellor, included 24 volunteer members from numerous academic and staff divisions. The group is responsible for making recommendations to campus leaders to help the university meet its strategic plan by 2020.

According to Malanson, this year’s USAP report addressed less than half of the 91 metrics and goals in the university’s strategic plan.

“We’re two years into the process. We’re two years into the Strategic Plan,” Malanson said. “None of their reporting at this point, none of their work at this point that has been publicly released says anything about how we’re doing towards accomplishing the Strategic Plan.”

Rick Sutter, the department chair of anthropology, said the USAP Task Force was based on the Dickeson Model, which recommends regional universities prioritize more successful programs.

Within that model, only the most elite students should be able to study liberal arts at flagship campuses, according to Charles Murray’s book, “Real Education.”

“No matter where it has been applied, it’s always small liberal arts programs that are targeted,” Sutter said. “That’s in part because the metrics and the data that are used are skewed very heavily against liberal arts programs.”

“What this is about is accessibility to higher education, which is why our campus was founded,” Sutter said. “This campus represents a vital part of the economy as well as upward mobility for a lot of people who can’t leave Northeast Indiana.”

The university’s chancellor, Vicky Carwein, said there was nothing “top-down” about USAP’s process. In an open letter to the campus community, she denied having any role in the committee’s recommendations.

“It’s a process we’ve never engaged in before, so it’s scary for people, I think,” Carwein said. “I understand that reaction, and I appreciate it. But if they would just stop and think for a moment, and actually read the plan. Everybody is focused on this one recommendation, but there’s a whole bunch of other stuff there as well that we need to consider.”

Barry Dupen, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology and co-chair of the USAP Task Force, said instead of cutting departments, USAP came up with the recommendation to merge departments in order to save money.

“If you can figure out a way to save women’s studies, which we have the only program in all of Northeast Indiana, if you can save it by merging it with English or sociology, why not?” Dupen said.

Eric Link, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said he didn’t feel his college was being attacked, but doesn’t think closing the departments would be in the university’s best interests.

Link said he wants IPFW to continue to provide a wide range of programs and also wants students to know the college is still in business.

According to Carwein, the decisions and changes won’t happen overnight, and could be a “multi-year kind of process.”

“They are nothing more than just recommendations at this point in time,” Carwein said.

The next steps include meetings between her the vice chancellors of the university over the summer. According to Carwein, they will look over each recommendation in the report. By the fall, they will have a plan that will be sent out to the entire campus.

New Coworking Space Coming to Downtown Area

FORT WAYNE – Start Fort Wayne announced the construction of their new coworking facility, Atrium, which will give local entrepreneurs the ability to meet, work and grow their business in downtown Fort Wayne.

The coworking facility, called Atrium, will be located on the second floor of the Hoch Associates building in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. The 5,500 square foot space will be available to local entrepreneurs through a monthly membership fee and is expected to open in mid to late spring.

According to the founder of Start Fort Wayne, Dave Sanders, in response to ever-changing technology and the ability for businesses to be started directly from a computer, Start Fort Wayne believes that small businesses and entrepreneurship are essentials in the 21st century.

“Start Fort Wayne is here to accelerate the pockets of innovation and entrepreneurship already happening here in our region. We’re seeing more people wanting to step up and create their own businesses and their own ideas,” Sanders said.

Atrium will provide members with conference rooms, desks, offices, wireless Internet, telephones, a kitchen and a stage for presentations.

“We see ourselves as a catalyst for providing resources and services to speed up reactions that are already going on,” Sanders said.

Chad Clabaugh, who works in digital technology, plans on becoming a member once Atrium opens its doors.

“[Atrium] is actually going to cater to the individuals, to people who are just getting started out. Most other places are just like incubators and are designed for, ‘Come in with a business plan, come in with a crew and we will help you if you meet our standards. ‘ Whereas Atrium is more ‘Bring in an idea and we’ll help you,’” Clabaugh explained.

Clabaugh said that many entrepreneurs use coffee shops as an alternative to an office, but that it becomes inconvenient when one needs to make a private phone call or store their extra tools such as computer monitors. Atrium is built as a place where its members have private areas to work and store their work tools, Clabaugh said.

Sanders said that the $300,000 needed to start and sustain Atrium was donated primarily by sponsors including Indiana Tech, the Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

“This space will be a very exciting space where people will come together and I predict that in the next five, ten or fifteen years some of the best companies will actually come back and their heritage will be out of this space,” CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Eric Doden said.

Potential members have the opportunity to fill out an interest form, find information about memberships and view the floor plans of the facility on the Start Fort Wayne website.

IPFW Faculty and Students Support Syrian Refugees

IPFW faculty and students organized two events to support Syrian refugees on Dec. 2, including a rally and a panel. The rally served as a peaceful event in response to Indiana closing its borders to refugees, according to Farah Combs and Nancy Virtue, who organized the event.

The rally allowed students, faculty and community members of Fort Wayne to express their support for the Syrian refugees in an outdoor, open-mic setting.

“I wanted to show Fort Wayne, Indiana and the United States in general that people on college campuses are paying attention to these events and they do support refugees,” Elana Merritt, a junior who helped organize the rally, said.

“Our goals were to speak out in support of the Syrian refugees, and to make some sort of public statement in solidarity and support,” Virtue, who is also a French professor at the university, said. “It was a really great opportunity to introduce a competing voice, and to let people know perception is not uniformly against the refugees.”

Three days after the attacks on Paris, Gov. Mike Pence joined at least 15 other governors around the country and said he would close Indiana’s borders to Syrian refugees until “proper security measures are in place.”

As of Nov. 19, 31 governors said the refugees are not welcome in their state, according to CNN.

During the two-hour period, attendees wrote postcards to Pence and signed a petition to allow Syrian refugees into Indiana. According to Combs, the university’s Arabic professor, 100 preaddressed postcards were filled out and sent to the governor.

Qmr Aldik, a Syrian student who came to the United States in 2011, said, “All I want to tell him is that he might be in this position one day, and it’s not their fault to be fleeing their home.”

Montha Thach, a junior at IPFW, was also present at the event. She said she was supportive of the refugees because her own parents were once refugees.

“I just feel like Syrian refugees are not here to threaten us. They’re just here because they want a chance to live just like we do,” Thach said. “As humans, we should all support each other in times of need, so I feel like Mike Pence should open up his heart instead of shutting them out.”

Steven Carr, the director of the university’s Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, said that he saw similarities in the Syrian refugee crisis and when the United States turned down more than 900 Jewish refugees as they were trying to flee persecution from Nazi Germany in 1939.

“Given that we know what the history is now, do we really want to make those same kind of mistakes?” Carr said during the rally. “Do we want to be so cold hearted and so lacking of compassion that we are willing again, despite the historical record, to turn away people who are fleeing persecution?”

However, not all students at the university support the idea of refugees entering the United States. Alexis Taylor, a freshman majoring in business at the university, agreed with Pence’s stance, and said the United States should help the many homeless Americans in the country first.

“I think we would need intense filtering of the refugees to ensure that none of them are potential members of ISIS,” Taylor said. “Plus, we need to help our people first before we can open up to all of these other countries.”

According to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the vetting process a refugee must go through is a 13- step process including screening from the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, DHS, the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that the refugees have the “highest level of security screening of any category of traveler to the United States.”

The panel held later that night at the university aimed to engage the panelists and audience in a conversation about the Syrian refugee crisis, according to Assem Nasr, who moderated the event.

Nasr, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, posed questions to a group of panelists including activists Sam Jarjour, Caleb Jehl and Amar Masri and university professors Ann Livschiz and Jaime Toole.

Jarjour, Jehl and Masri had recently taken a trip to Europe to film a documentary on the Syrian refugee crisis.

During the panel, Jehl said, “By this point they’ve generally taken a boat out across five miles of sea in a little dingy without a pilot. If they’re lucky enough to survive that, they’ve gotten to Greece and they’re taking another boat to somewhere else to walk their way through Europe.”

“The boats were safer than the land they were escaping, that was a common story we heard,” Jarjour, who is a board chair of the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, said. “We heard people talking about languishing in camps for four years with no hope and no security.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency, about 2 million registered refugees live in Turkey, more than a million live in Lebanon and over a half million live in Jordan.

Jarjour, Jehl and Masri also said the Syrians they met came from many different backgrounds, with most of them being educated. Some of the people they met included doctors, lawyers and pharmacists, who Jarjour said would be an “asset to our community.”

“They happen to be from all walks of life,” Masri said during the panel. “We met factory workers, we met farmers, we met a tractor driver. They just left there for the sake of safety and for a better life.”

“There’s a rich history of Syrian immigration to Fort Wayne that’s 100 years old, and people don’t even realize this,” Jarjour said. “The notion that we can exclude one nationality when they need us most because of that nationality is antithetical to American values, in my opinion.”

Nasr currently works with a group to resettle Syrian refugees in Fort Wayne, and said it’s a matter of when they are resettled, not if.

“We all miss that we’re human at the end of the day,” Nasr said. “Our biggest goal at this point in time is to talk to people and to bring an awareness of we are having people come into the city. We’re going to need to have all of the help that you can give. If you don’t have enough time, money, or resources, at least be generous enough to be welcoming and hospitable.”

The Importance of Accuracy

Written by: Sam Whiting and Megan Mantica

Wednesday afternoon we retracted a previously published story from our webpage.

We made this decision after the author of the article submitted a new story containing several inaccuracies in directly quoted material. This is a serious breach of journalistic integrity because the value of news is determined by its accuracy.

As a precaution, we removed the original article because we no longer held confidence in the reporter’s understanding of journalistic fundamentals, specifically those dealing with direct quotes.

We accept responsibility for publishing a story that does not meet basic journalistic standards.

We apologize to our readers, reporters and sources. We value the accuracy of our publication and will check with our reporters to make sure that they have an adequate understanding about the importance of truth and accuracy in order to be sure all of our published stories meet journalistic standards.