Purdue students react to new IU trident on Indianapolis Campus

Students at IUPUI came back from Spring Break to find a new addition to the middle of campus. An Indiana University banner now takes up a majority of the glass space on one side of the Campus Center, and an IU Trident hangs from its belltower. This change comes as IUPUI is set to split into IU Indianapolis and Purdue in Indianapolis officially on July 1. However, many students are still reluctant about the impending divorce, and had strong reactions to the change. 

“The split isn’t supposed to happen until July 1, yet the campus has already put IU Indianapolis signs all over campus, on light poles, and buildings as well as on the tunnels and the Campus Center,” said Olivia Pedigo, a leadership studies student. “The only place Purdue students sort of feel welcomed is in the ET building where inside everything says Purdue, but even outside, the building sign marker says IU Indianapolis.” 

Of course, the IU Trident has been on several other facilities for decades. In fact, IUPUI’s first student-run newspaper published an editorial questioning why that was back in 1985. 

The Campus Center was a symbol of unity

To Pedigo, however, the Campus Center was a symbol of campus unity.

“The Campus Center was an inclusive part of IUPUI…. the same way that the IUPUI school spirit song talks about ‘raising by the power of two, both IU and Purdue,’” she said, “and it’s no longer a symbol uniting the entire campus.”

Pedigo still has concerns over the split, and is convinced that money, rather than students, was the biggest motivating factor for it. She claims both universities have failed to give any concrete answers as to how splitting up would create jobs and benefit the community. 

“Many students…. didn’t want the universities to split up, they just wanted Purdue to be more involved in the programs it was giving degrees to,” Pedigo said. 

A difference in marketing between IU and Purdue

Purdue’s marketing campaign leading up to the official split has been less notable than IU’s. The University held “Purdue Day” earlier this semester, bringing icons of the West Lafayette school including the Big Bass Drum and a statue of Purdue Pete, but other plans remain unclear. 

That marketing difference may reflect the fact that Indiana University Indianapolis will remain a core campus within the IU system, while Purdue in Indianapolis will become a single entity with Purdue West Lafayette, under the same administration, and same student government.

In fact, the Purdue West Lafayette campus student government unilaterally voted in January to that effect. Their newly proposed bylaws allow for elections to take place on the Indianapolis campus to install a Vice President, three senators, and three more senators from each respective college within the University.

According to Andrew Askounis, Vice President of the Purdue Student Government, only one person has filed for candidacy in the Senate, and two people have filed for the Vice President – Indy position. The deadline to file has passed for the latter. He mentioned, however, that there may be opportunities in the future to apply to the Board of Directors.

Other students react

“We’ve heard they are building another campus on Indiana Avenue and renting ET from IU until the campus is finished being built,” Pedigo went on. “We’ve heard that they are going completely online and erasing departments not involved with engineering such as the organization leadership department. So many students have seen and heard so many different things and no one actually knows what is going on.”

Adam Hallowell, a senior majoring in organizational leadership, confirmed that classes had been moved entirely online for him next semester. 

“Seeing the IU Trident on the side of the campus center is bittersweet,” said Hollowell. “It really means an end to an era.” 

Jack McClanahan, a computer science student, said he believes that the addition of the trident may signal a shift away from the collaborative culture among Purdue and IU students

“One of my favorite things about the school was the fact that it was basically Purdue and IU students working and learning together,” he said. 

Pedigo agreed, mentioning that many students came to IUPUI to avoid the rivalries of the two main state university flagship campuses.

“So many students came to IUPUI because it was an opportunity to go to a campus without any stupid rivalries and had the opportunity to earn two degrees from two universities at the same time for the same price,” she said. 

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