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Ex-IPFW chancellor Wartell sues Purdue, alleging gender discrimination

He says former school president wanted a woman in his post

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 1:00 pm

The former chancellor of IPFW has filed suit against Purdue University, alleging that he was targeted for compulsory retirement as part of a drive to hire more women administrators.

Michael Wartell served as chancellor for almost 19 years, until June 30, 2012. The university refused to grant Wartell a waiver to work beyond its mandatory retirement age. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, Wartell is asking for reinstatement as chancellor and back pay, among other compensation for the damage he says he suffered.

Without explaining where the account came from, Wartell's suit alleges that “In late 2010 or early 2011, (former Purdue President France) Cordova announced at a meeting that before her term as president was over that she wanted to increase the number of females in the Purdue administration. Cordova specially pointed to a picture of Wartell on a board and said, 'I am going to replace this one with a woman.'”

Vicky L. Carwein was chosen as IPFW chancellor, replacing Wartell, in June. Wartell was 65 when he became chancellor emeritus; Carwein was 64 when she was hired to replace him as chancellor.

A Purdue spokesman chose not to comment on the suit. He said Purdue does not comment on current litigation.

Wartell alleges that he was the victim of gender discrimination, that Purdue violated his right to due process in its investigation of his discrimination complaint, that Purdue breached its contract with him in the course of investigating the discrimination claim and that it breached its employment contract with him in compelling him to leave the chancellor post.

Wartell's lawsuit said he filed a discrimination charge against Purdue with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC dismissed that charge in January.

Besides Purdue itself, Wartell's lawsuit names as defendants Alysa Rollock, the university's vice president of ethics and compliance, and trustees Michael Berghoff, JoAnn Brouillette, Michael J. Birck, John D. Hardin Jr., Keith J. Krach, Gary L. Lehman, Miranda McCormack, Thomas Spurgeon, Donald Thompson and Bruce White.