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Protests erupt after PNW announces name change on diploma

Students at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, protested Monday,  October 1 after the university announced that the diploma is changing from a Purdue University diploma to a Purdue University Northwest diploma.

Thomas Keon, chancellor of PNW, sent a university-wide email on Sept. 28 announcing that the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved the change of the diploma for May 2019.

“The significance of this change for Purdue Northwest is further cementing our unique identity as a university that is strong, vibrant, innovative, diverse and increasingly a competitive choice for exceptional, nationally-recognized undergraduate and graduate education,” Keon said in the email.

Kathleen Franklin, junior communication major at PNW, said that the students were promised a Purdue University diploma and that students were not consulted about the diploma change.

“I believe it should stay the same,” Franklin said. “If they must change it, I believe student and faculty input is a must before they do anything permanent.”

Julia Cook-Jones, senior human resource management major and communication minor, said she feels PNW is driven by profits and not by their students.

“Their mission statement, vision and purpose are all fake,” Cook-Jones said. “Students have a Dean of Students so our voices can be heard, however, we are still silent.”

Cook-Jones said that the university has ignored students since Purdue University Calumet and Purdue North Central unified in 2016 and became Purdue University Northwest.

“This is more than just a name change on a degree, this is about unification,” Cook-Jones said. “Unification relates to the common interests of humanity. Did the chancellor ask us how we feel? No! Did he do a petition? No! Did he tell us face to face? No! What chancellor hides behind an email instead of understanding what his students need to be academically successful?”

“Protests are made to hear the voices of others. We were granted with the First Amendment for a reason,” Cook-Jones said. “PNW does not listen or understand the needs and wants of their students. We need to protest for a number of other issues, such as making this a parent-friendly campus.”

Franklin said she is protesting because the student’s voices are not being heard.

“I believe that the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees see us as dollar signs and not as people,” Franklin said. “To some alumni, this is their entire life’s goal, so to be ignored feels like a slap to the face.”

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