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Indiana University Northwest

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IU Northwest vice chancellor proud to be your consumer advocate

Pellicciotti’s business columns have served community for past 18 years

IU Northwest file photo
Joseph Pellicciotti

The IU Northwest campus community knows Joseph Pellicciotti, J.D. as a lawyer, professor and vice chancellor; a trusted colleague from the School of Public Environmental Affairs (SPEA); and the administrator who’s occupied the same corner office in Lindenwood Hall for much of his 30-year career.

But the greater Northwest Indiana community knows him as their consumer advocate, their go-to guy for advice on anything that can help them navigate the murky waters of consumerism. Whether it’s avoiding identify theft and fraud, getting the best deals and saving money, or steering clear of snafus with the law, the Vice Chancellor for Administration has a tidbit of wisdom to impart every single week about being a smart consumer.

You’d think he’d run out of ideas, having written nearly 650 articles for the business section of The Northwest Indiana Times for the past 18 years. On the contrary, Pellicciotti says. The consumer affairs area is so broad, with constant changes in the laws, not to mention a myriad of topics in energy savings, transactional overviews, product safety, technology, investment and business opportunities, and an endless array of the latest scams.

Pellicciotti treats his insightful 250-word snippets as strictly a volunteer endeavor. He sees the consumer column as a public service, a duty that tends to be woven into the very fabric that comprises a SPEA faculty member, in particular. Public service is also an important component of IU Northwest’s commitment to actively engage in its surrounding communities, he noted. It’s the reason he began the column, Pellicciotti says, and it’s why he continues writing it.

Readers of the column no doubt appreciate that Pellicciotti does the laborious job of digging up information and uncovering just the right government resource – details people need to know but don’t necessarily want to expend the energy to seek out themselves.

“I try in my columns to translate the complexities of consumer law into understandable terms that people can use,” Pellicciotti says. “We are all consumers, and being a consumer isn’t an easy job. There are so many choices and threats, with many opportunities to make mistakes in an area that we all must navigate daily.”

Pellicciotti believes that the federal and state governments provide a wealth of free consumer information that is very useful and he frequently advises readers on where to get credible professional advice.

“I believe that reminding people that the government provides this kind of information helps at least in a small way to build a bond between citizens and their government,” he says.

Seeing his words posted on an occasional bulletin board or having the piece “re-tweeted” serve as hearty reminders that his advice is indeed relevant to people’s lives. At least three to five ideas are floating in his mind at any given time, he says, drawn from his daily life, tips from others, a newscast, or an article he’s read lately.

In coming weeks, Pellicciotti says readers can expect some tidbits on energy conservation, as well as identity theft, which continues to be a top consumer complaint. To read Pellicciotti’s columns, future and past, visit They appear in Saturday’s business section.

Pellicciotti’s other volunteer memberships include various positions with the Lake County Community Corrections Advisory Board; the Ernie Hill, Sr. Humanitarian Service Award Selection Committee; and the Military Service Academy Review Board for the First U.S. Congressional District of Indiana. Most recently, he began serving as the shared ethics officer for the Lake County Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, representing several communities that are seeking to promote ethics within their workforces.


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

Related Links

The Northwest Indiana Times