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Settlement reached in former IPFW chancellor's lawsuit

February 4, 2015

Attorneys for Purdue University say the school has settled a federal lawsuit over the forced retirement of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne's former chancellor.

The school's attorneys said in court filing Monday that Michael Wartell's lawsuit "has now been resolved," but that filing included no details of the settlement.

Messages left Tuesday seeking comment from Purdue's attorneys and Wartell's attorney, Blake Hike, were not immediately returned.

Wartell was forced to retire in 2011 at age 65 under a mandatory retirement age policy he alleges was not enforced against any other senior administrator.

Purdue replaced him with a 64-year-old woman, Vicky Carwein, and she assumed his duties in September 2012.

Wartell sued Purdue in federal and Tippecanoe County court in 2013, claiming discrimination and harassment by the university under then-Purdue President France Cordova.

His federal suit states that in late 2010 or early 2011, Cordova announced in a meeting that, before her term as president was over, she wanted to increase the number of women in the school's administration.

Purdue oversees the 13,000-student Fort Wayne campus, which Wartell had led for 18 years. The Purdue trustees turned down a resolution from the IPFW Senate asking that Wartell be allowed to stay on until the school's 50th anniversary in 2014.

The settlement ends years of wrangling over a report prepared by an attorney who investigated Wartell's removal, The Journal Gazette reported.

Purdue officials fought to keep secret that report, which was completed in February 2013 by an attorney who turned it over to a group of Purdue board members. They found that no discrimination had taken place.

Purdue refused to make the document available to Wartell's attorneys, citing attorney-client privilege and claiming the document was not a public record.

The newspaper reported that records released Tuesday by Purdue show it spent about $19,000 to prepare its report on Michael Wartell, but it then cost the school more than $153,000 over 18 months fighting to keep it from the public, the media and Wartell's attorneys.

Purdue released the documents nearly six months after The Journal Gazette requested information on how much Purdue spent fighting the report's disclosure.

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