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Purdue’s inconsistency put back on display

Before Purdue officials decided in 2011 to show IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell the door when he turned 65, they had granted exemptions to their mandatory retirement policy seven times since 1996. Less than two years after Wartell’s forced retirement, they are granting exemptions once again.

Purdue’s board of trustees granted tentative exceptions to Purdue North Central Chancellor James Dworkin and Purdue College of Engineering Dean Leah Jamieson at their meeting last week.

“(Dworkin)’s now partnered with (Purdue Calumet) Chancellor Tom Keon in what we think is an exciting opportunity to draw two campuses closer and create some savings,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “This is no time to let him stop, and I hope the board will insist to let him carry on.”

Daniels also offered some interesting comments on regional campus autonomy in addressing the proposed Calumet/North Central merger, particularly in light of IPFW’s experience.

“We are not going to tell them how to do this,” he said of the regional campus leaders. “We are not going to micromanage it. At this point at least, there is nothing that needs the board’s ratification. We try to operate on the basis of as much autonomy as possible for the various regional campuses. They know their students, they know their community and they know their region.”

It probably helps that Dworkin is supporting the consolidation, of course.

Daniels, coincidentally, turned 65 last week. He won’t require an exemption from the retirement policy because it doesn’t apply to administrators who have yet to qualify for the university’s minimum retirement benefit. The same clause applies to current IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein, who turned 65 the year after she was appointed.

It is clear that what Purdue does with retirement and age is more of a management tool than an actual policy, something officials use to manage people in leadership positions. Wartell, who apparently irritated some he reported to or worked with, was shown no evident effort to consider granting him an exemption.