Indiana Supreme Court lets stand ruling against Purdue in records dispute


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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has let stand a lower-court decision that a report concerning the ouster of the Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne chancellor is a public document, despite Purdue's protests.

The justices voted 3-2 this week to hear Purdue's appeal of a state Court of Appeals ruling that the report is a public record, according to online court documents. That means the ruling stands.

Michael Wartell sued the university in state and federal courts over being forced to retire at age 65 as leader of the Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne campus in 2011. Wartell is claiming discrimination and harassment by the university under then-President France Cordova. Wartell claims Purdue had never previously enforced its policy requiring university executives to retire at 65.

Purdue is still fighting to keep the report secret, despite state and federal rulings. The school claims the report contains confidential information.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Miller Jr. ruled last week the report by investigator John Trimble needed to be given to Wartell's lawyers. The judge said Trimble didn't tell Wartell he was an attorney for Purdue, an indication that Trimble was acting as an investigator.

Purdue's attorneys have asked the judge for a protective order, under which the report would be disclosed only to the parties in the lawsuit and kept from anyone else.

Purdue oversees the 13,000-student IPFW campus. Wartell led the campus for 18 years, and the Purdue Board of Trustees turned down a resolution from the IPFW Senate asking that he be allowed to stay on until its 50th anniversary in 2014.

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