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.
Written by: Rachel Stephens
The IPFW music school could see a shift in governance and prominence if Indiana University leaves IPFW as suggested by the Legislative Services Agency report.
The agency issued a report in January recommending Indiana University transition out of IPFW. This change could cause IPFW to cease offering of an IU music degree.
However, Purdue Trustee Michael Burgoff said, “The two universities would like a solution that allows the music program to continue.”
Department Chair of the Rhinehart Music Center Gregory Jones said the final decision rests with IU and Purdue. If the universities decide to separate, it will happen despite what IPFW wants. Jones said, “The one thing I can say for sure is that we will have a music department.”
Andrew Downs, presiding officer of the Fort Wayne Senate, said one possibility of sustaining the music program is for Purdue to keep the program exclusive to the Fort Wayne campus. Another possibility would include Purdue creating a music program for all of its campuses under their own governance. The least likely scenario, Downs said, is that IPFW will offer its own music degree.
Purdue does not offer a music degree, they would have to establish new programs to keep music degrees at IPFW. However, according to Downs, “Universities don’t just get to create programs if they feel like it.”
If Purdue takes academic responsibility over the music department, according to Downs it is ultimately up to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to approve a Purdue music program. Down said this process “is not fast by any stretch of the imagination.”
According to Downs, it is more likely that IPFW would offer degrees from both institutions during the process of the degree transferring to Purdue.
If Indiana University separates from IPFW, the university would eventually cease to offer degrees from the IU music program which is ranked one of the top music schools in the world.
John O’Connell, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said dropping the IU brand would be a significant loss for IPFW’s music department.
Because Purdue has no music degree program and therefore no global ranking, IPFW may have to work to rebuild their musical reputation.
According to Jones, if there would be a conversion to a Purdue program, it would take time for the program to establish a high rank. Jones said a couple of big performances and students continuing to get good jobs would help the IPFW music program eventually regain prestige.
Written by: Matthew Mannai, Tamula Lewis, Ryan Volkert, Austin Carpenter, Michael Dancler, Juan Alvarez & Micheala Pattison
Frank O’Bannon recipients and 21st Century Scholars may be at risk of losing all or some of their state aid if they do not complete 30 credits each academic year.
Recipients of the grant can receive a maximum of $3700 for one academic year for 15 credit hours each semester, which covers about 57 percent of the tuition costs. Students who take 12 credit hours per semester or 24 in an academic year will receive a maximum $3,367. Those completing fewer than 24 credits will not receive the grant.
The requirements of the 21st Century Scholarship also states students will lose their scholarship if they are unable to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours per academic year.
Both types of state aid recipients will no longer be eligible for state aid if they do not complete a degree within four years.
The changes to state aid were made as part of Indiana House Enrolled Act 1348. Governor Pence signed the legislation in May 2013 and only applies to students who have been enrolled since 2013.
According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the purpose of HEA 1348 is to increase the number of students who are graduating within four years by encouraging them to take more classes.
These changes are where made to encourage the students already capable of graduating in four years, who are choosing to take the “scenic route” and graduate in five or six years, according to Julie Creek, director of the office of diversity and multicultural affairs.
There are 894 active 21st Century scholars and 976 active Frank O’Bannon recipients at IPFW.
The changes also require all state universities to assist students with graduating in four years by providing a four-year academic map, IPFW uses My Blueprint to meet this requirement.
My Blueprint is an online service provided to IPFW students and faculty to map out degree completions and is accessible through the enrollment section of My IPFW.
Departments like communication, education and nursing has provided students with a four year academic plan before the changes went into effect.
O’Bannon recipient Cassidy Eichmann said, the nursing department helped her plan out her four year degree completion. “I will have summer classes. I will have four credits over the summer with my clinical time.”
However, not all of the IPFW departments have created four year completion plans for their students.
According to Assistant Director of Student Success and Transitions Corrie Fox, IPFW academic advisers were retrained on My Blueprint at the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester.
According to Fox, there has been a lack of campus uniformity in informing faculty and professional academic advisors on the new requirements.
Faculty advisors on the IPFW campus reported knowing very little about changes made to state financial aid.
According to Rhonda Meriwether, academic advising center director, there is no current effort to inform faculty and professional advisors on the financial implications that the changes to state aid may have on state aid recipients.
“We are very concerned about this policy direction. It has the potential to very much impact our student’s ability to continue to receive state support”, George McClellan, IPFW vice chancellor of student affairs said.
However, some students simply cannot take 15 credit hours or more because of other life responsibilities like, working or taking care of a family, according to Fox.
For the majority of those types of students graduating in four years is just not going to be possible or practical, Creek said.
Fox said, she would only advise students who can handle taking 15 credit hours or more to do so.
“If it’s right for you I think it’s great” Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Success and Transitions Krissy Creager said. “If it’s not right for you, I don’t think it is something students should feel like they have to do.”
“If 15 doesn’t work for you don’t do it,” said doermer school of business academic advisor Karen Casazza. “Some people work full time and part time and they can’t do it. If that is your sweet spot, stick with that. It doesn’t matter to us how long it takes you.”
However, some students and advisors are not aware of the financial impact not graduating within four years could have on their state aid, Fox said.
The majority of IPFW students do not fully understand the requirements of the financial awards and loans, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Michael Carpenter said.
According to Fox, it is the student’s responsibility to understand and seek out help about financial aid.
According to Christopher Pine, a financial aid advisor, every student can schedule a meeting with a financial advisor but such meetings are rare.
Pine said students can access information about the requirements for the O’Bannon grant at any time through My IPFW or when they accept the award.
The Frank O’Bannon requirements are not explained to students when they are accepting the award, Fox said.
According to Fox, students don’t even have to accept the O’Bannon grant to receive it. It is automatically awarded and students must opt out of it, if they don’t want it, Fox said.
The only information about the O’Bannon requirements can be found at IN.gov under the higher education state awards and grants tab.
Compared to O’Bannon recipients, the majority of 21st Century Scholars at IPFW are aware of the award requirements when they accepted it in middle school or high school, Fox said.
Students receiving the 21st Century Scholarship are required to sign a pledge. The pledge includes acknowledging the students have read and understanding the 30 credit hour each semester requirement, according to Cicelle Beemon, a support specialist for 21st scholars.
The pledge also includes the academic and personal conduct requirements the students must adhere to in order to keep the award. The 21st Century scholars have to sign the pledge each year they receive the award.
Beemon said 21st Century Scholarship advisors at the high schools and on the IPFW campus remind the students about the 30 a year credit requirement throughout their high school and college careers.
The difference between 21st Century Scholarship and Frank O’Bannon grant is how the state distributes information about the aid requirements, Fox said.
Fox said, she recommends students do their homework on the financial aid they receive and then meet with a financial aid advisor with questions.
These requirements make it more difficult for students receiving the 21st Century Scholarship and the Frank O’Bannon Grant to navigate through their degree completion, according to McClellan.
These changes do very little to help the students who are already struggling to graduate on time, Creek said.
The majority of O’Bannon recipients and 21st Century Scholars are first generation college students with little to no family contribution to their college expenses, Fox said. Many of these student don’t know what question they should be asking in the first place, or how their financial aid works.
Written by: Cody Neuenschwander, Franci Mara, Samantha Whiting
Volunteers, some of them IPFW students, gathered in the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters on Wells Street in Fort Wayne April 26, as they prepared to go out into the community to knock on doors to garner more support for Sanders.
A poll by Harvard University found that 54 percent of those between 18-29 had a favorable opinion of 74-year-old Sanders, a democratic Presidential candidate.
According to Dr. Michael Wolf, professor of political science at IPFW, Sanders’ appeal to young people comes from his “anti-establishment” views.
“Younger voters have grown up in a time of political polarization, that has led them to potentially view politics as being especially negative,” Wolf said. “He’s [Sanders] talking about reform, and moving things that they associate with causing that.”
Those things include money in politics and social inequality, which Wolf said young people view as part of what has led to political polarization.
Another of Sanders’ policies that has been viewed favorably by young people is his claim of free tuition for public universities. However, according to Wolf, Sanders would still have the young vote without that policy.
Janelle Hall, president of the IPFW organization Students for Bernie, held a social event for Sanders supporters at the Fort Wayne coffee shop Firefly on April 19.
The event brought more than just IPFW students. In fact, according to Hall, only a few of the estimated 15 people that showed up were students. Many of them fell into the under 30 demographic.
Hall asked everyone who showed up to stand and say why they support Sanders. Some spoke of Sanders’ political policies; others spoke of his opposition to inequality. An overarching theme, however, was the consistency in his message throughout his political career.
Dria Kirkpatrick, a Sanders supporter, has never volunteered for a presidential candidate before. But, for Sanders, she has gone door-to-door and made telephone calls in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.
“I truly believe he’s just a voice that covers everyone, no matter if you’re old, no matter if you’re young,” Kirkpatrick said.
Rebecca Burton, another local Sanders supporter, has also never volunteered for a candidate until now.
“I was uninvolved completely. I felt like I didn’t have a voice,” Burton said. “I was just going to vote Democrat because I liked the policies better, but I didn’t actually volunteer for any candidate until now.”
Burton said she is impressed with Sanders’s activism in the past, specifically pointing out his support of the civil rights movement.
“He’s been fighting so hard for us, I can’t just sit back and not fight for him,” Burton said.
She also said that young people want their own place in the government.
“We’re the ones starting this new way of thinking,” Burton said. “We want our government to be for us, and not for money.”
After losing key states in the primary elections to Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Sanders announced he is considering cutting back on his campaign staff to reserve his resources and elongate his campaign.
According to Wolf, Sanders is behind Clinton in the Indiana polls. Sanders is visiting the IPFW campus Monday and Indiana primaries are on May 3.
Written by: Franci Mara & Samantha Whiting
IPFW officials had been kept in the dark since the January announcement that the presidents of Indiana University and Purdue University would renegotiate IPFW’s governance by a June 30 deadline, until April 14, when the presidents announced that they will be crafting a new agreement.
The LSA recommendations and report were delivered to Presidents McRobbie and Daniels in January, which had suggested the formation of small oversight groups in order to research each part of the recommendations.
“Since that time they have been in communication, and I am not involved in those discussions at a system level,” Vicki Carwein, IPFW’s chancellor, said.
A possible roadblock in the negotiation process could be the future of the nursing program, according to separate statements from Carwein and Andy Downs, the presiding officer of the IPFW senate.
“IU was very open to say we don’t want to start any of these other discussions until the nursing issue is resolved because for IU that was such a big ticket item for them,” Carwein said.
According to Downs, there have been multiple, unofficial proposals concerning the nursing program. The proposals include the splitting of the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs between IU and Purdue, giving both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs to IU, or the College of Health and Human Services would become the IU campus and everything else would stay the same.
An oversight group was going to be formed shortly after the recommendations were presented in January, but has yet to be formed. Each of the three universities was supposed to name a representative to lead the oversight groups. IPFW named Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond, Purdue named Provost Debasish Dutta and IU has yet to name their representative.
“Since [the oversight group] doesn’t exist then none of the individual groups that would look into specifics of the proposal have been created,” Downs said.
Carwein said that she wants the Fort Wayne community to know that there are some good things in the recommendations, such as a medical research center, but there are also some problematic aspects of the recommendations. According to Carwein, the oversight groups need to be formed in order to make sense of the recommendations.
“The details of how you make that happen in a way that doesn’t harm existing students in terms of how they’re being educated, and the quality of the educational experience they have and how to actually promote that and make it better, is what they need to be talking about,” Carwein said.
Neither President McRobbie nor President Daniels returned phone calls concerning the negotiations between Purdue University and IU.
Written by: Sarah Updike, Kasey Gerding, Rachel Stephens, Derek Ewing, Logan Harris, Cameron Seaman
Dean of Helmke Library Cheryl Truesdell said the library catalog and databases could change if Indiana University separates from IPFW.
In January, the Legislative Services Agency proposed IU leave its IPFW campus.
IPFW Vice Chancellor of Financial and Administrative Affairs David Wesse said, “The two presidents of both Indiana University and Purdue University are currently in discussions formed by legislation to bring about an amicable separation.”
Until the final decision is reached, the library is planning the adjustments needed to make the shift to a Purdue library.
Truesdell said she hopes this change does not take place.
“IU brings its own special contributions to our area,” Truesdell said.
However, according to Truesdell, if Helmke does become a Purdue library, one of the first things to possibly leave is IU’s catalog IUCAT. Purdue’s catalog, THOR, would then take its place. This could be an adjustment to students who are accustomed to IUCAT.
Not only would the catalog appear different on a computer screen, but Truedell said there is also a chance about 332,000 books would need new barcodes to align with this new catalog. This process would include placing a new barcode sticker on the books.
“It’s not just a matter of putting the new barcode on,” Truesdell said. “You have to link the barcode to the record in the catalog.”
Truesdell said this job would take approximately five minutes per book which adds up to about one year of ten people working 40 hour weeks. This process will only be necessary if any IPFW barcode numbers overlap with those already in the THOR catalog.
According to Truesdell, there is no set number for how much keeping all databases would cost; however, she said it would be the most expensive part of switching to a Purdue library.
According to Truesdell, IU currently provides Helmke with 67 to 100 databases that Purdue does not own.
Truesdell said, “We’re assuming that we would have access to some of Purdue’s databases.”
If IPFW wants continued access to IU’s databases, they may have to pay out of pocket or negotiate a contract with Purdue to cover the cost. If neither of those options work, IPFW would have to discontinue their subscription to those databases, according to Truesdell.
Purdue Trustee Michael Burghoff said there is no final decision yet. Due to this, the fate of Helmke Library remains unknown until the universities come to an agreement.
Written By: Kale DeVoe, Cody Neuenschwander, Brice Vance
The Indiana-Purdue Student Government Association held open forums to help this year’s student election be more centered on candidates’ platforms. Events like these have not been used in the past couple election years, according to the student government coordinator.
Victoria Spencer, the university staff member responsible for overseeing the function of the student government, said making students aware of the candidates plans if elected between April 18 and April 23 is an issue “we have struggled with.”
“We are trying to bring back more intentional election events,” Spencer said. “It is something that has somewhat gone by the wayside.”
Last year, the student government did not host any forums or debates between candidates because there was only one contested election. Three of the four candidates ran unopposed.
IPSGA hosted two debate themed open forum events with candidates on April 5 and April 6. Spencer said the forums increase student involvement in the elections. Spencer estimated 90 students attended the two events.
Spencer said these events “force the candidates to put themselves out there, and run on a platform…as opposed to, ‘Hey here’s some candy. Please vote for me.’”
Student body president candidate senior Aleksandr Bogun said he was not pleased with the student response to the election.
“After getting people to sign my petition [to run for student body president], I had only ten people ask me what I actually want to do,” Bogun said. “The amount of students that actually care is really small. That shocks me.”
Spencer said she hoped these events would curb disinterest and “make students actually care about this.”
“These students represent you,” Spencer said.
Wade Smith, who is currently in his second year as student body president, dropped out of the campaign. He explained the role of the student body president as being “an advocate for the students.”
“They are a face for anyone to go to if they have questions concerning IPFW or IPSGA,” Smith said.
During his presidency, Smith has led initiatives to bring water bottle filling stations and more recycling bins to campus.
This year, Bogun and sophomore Andrew Kreager are running to fill Smith’s position.
Bogun works for IPSGA as an office administrator, and said he interacts with students daily. He also won Homecoming King in 2015. Kreager is a member of the student senate.
Beyond this year’s organized election events, both candidates use flyers in their campaigns. Bogun and Kreager both said they want their flyers to spur conversation with students about their platforms.
“The main thing is for people to notice you. I am trying to get my name out there,” Bogun said.
Bogun said he wants to connect the university’s departments together to promote and encourage growth on campus. He also expressed concern about students losing places to hang out due to ongoing construction.
Kreager said if he becomes president, he wants to be a voice for students among the potential recommended changes in the LSA report.
“I want to focus on the survey,” Kreager said. “I feel there has been no student input. I feel like getting student support might sway some of the things happening on campus.”
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.
Written by: Kashay Bowens, Jeran Lantz-Robbins, Charlotte Stefanski, Emily Yager
The College of Arts and Sciences working group recently submitted a proposal in regards to the college’s general education requirement, which included an interdisciplinary education course, something most of the group thought would be a positive experience for students, said Jeff Malanson.
Malanson, the chair of the committee, said the working group spent two semesters on forming the proposal, but one idea they kept coming back to was an interdisciplinary course.
Janet Badia, the director of women’s studies and a member of the working group, said, “In its ideal form it would entail three professors teaching the class together. It would be team teaching importantly in the sense of all three professors being present in the class for all sixteen weeks.”
An example she gave included a class covering the human body. She said each professor would give a perspective from the humanities side, the social sciences side, and the science side.
According to Malanson, the course would be problem based class taken during a student’s freshman year. The course would teach students how experts from each discipline would approach the same topic.
“Instead of an intro to science, it’s a specific issue that they might be passionate about,” Malanson said. “It gives them this opportunity to engage in a more meaningful learning experience from day one that might help them feel more engaged with the university.”
Malanson said the course could also be used as a recruitment tool for the university.
“I’m not saying we’d be the first to ever do it, but it’s not a common thing, and especially not for students who are coming to a regional campus that has far fewer resources than IU or Purdue,” Malanson said.
The group is made up of 16 members, each being from a different department within the College of Arts and Sciences. It was formed in the fall of 2013 when IPFW implemented a new general education program.
“When our general education system changed, it created certain issues in the curriculum that the faculty felt needed addressed,” Nancy Virtue, a French professor and member of the working group, said. “The working group was charged with exploring how we might address certain weaknesses in the current requirements.”
According to Malanson, four of the group members voted against the proposal in its entirety, not just the interdisciplinary course. Those who did not agree with the interdisciplinary course were concerned about the logistics of maintaining the course.
“It probably would be very difficult for smaller departments to lend faculty to teach that course, so it would not have the full flavor of all the College of Arts and Sciences disciplines,” Timothy Grove, an associate professor of physics at the university, said. “I would argue that it’s not really a matter of teaching methods. It’s more a matter of give a dose of this, give a dose of that. It’s more of say filling out a shopping cart list than anything I would consider a teaching method.”
“The next thing up in this process is figuring out how we can actually do this responsibly. We don’t want to adopt a set of requirements that we can’t actually give our students in a meaningful way,” Malanson said.
According to Virtue, the proposal currently sits with the College of Arts and Sciences executive committee, who are currently determining the next steps in how to move forward with the proposal.