Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Shooting On Campus???

So, are people and/or animals safe at university sponsored events? Apparently the answer is no. What is more disturbing loyal readers is that like many police incidents the post incident response is often poorly managed to the point of raising serious questions about the competence of the entire agency involved. To wit, I present the following as I understand it. Mind you, I am awaiting a response from a FOIA request submitted yesterday.

On Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at or about 6PM, a certified member of the CSU Police Department discharged his firearm killing a canine, possibly two, and injuring the owner of the second canine, prior to the Jazz in the Grass event held on campus. The owner of the second canine suffered a gunshot wound to the foot requiring emergency surgery. I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the victim of this incident both on her injury and the loss of her canine companion. As a dog owner, I can only imagine how I would feel as a result of a dog attack and police weapons discharge.
As frightening as this event appears to have been, what is more disturbing is the aftermath. As I have been trying to piece together what happened, more questions emerged about how the university is handling this event. If I understand generally accepted police procedures around service weapon discharges, a few things need to happen in the immediate aftermath of an incident. 
First, the crime scene must be cordoned off, the service weapon placed in evidence for ballistic examination, all spend rounds and casings recovered, both from the environment, victims and deceased, animal or human. If this were a Chicago Police Department officer, there would be alcohol and drug testing per General Order G03-02-06
Second, the officer involved in the shooting should be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 
Third, the university community should be notified that police activity was occurring at the event location and to stay away as not to contaminate the crime scene. 
Fourth, the university should have some press contact so that it doesn’t appear that the institution is attempting hide such a serious event. 
Fifth, the Board of Trustees should be notified of this incident. It is, after all, them who will be named parties in the lawsuit and them who will have to decide how much to pay in the settlement of that lawsuit. Surely, they wouldn’t want this to go to trial and risk a much larger judgement.  
Finally, if the officer who discharged his weapon is of a sufficiently low rank (officer or sergeant) that a qualified lieutenant or captain can conduct the investigation, I would imagine the investigation could be managed internally. If , however, the officer involved is a captain or chief, that investigation should be managed by another law enforcement agency. In this case, I would imagine that the Illinois State Police would handle the investigation because it is inappropriate for subordinates to investigate superiors. This is clearly a conflict of interest. If the Chicago Police Department is investigating, it also may be a conflict of interest, given the chief’s prior affiliation with that agency. 
As it seems that the ISP is not involved I am left to question why not. Is the university police chief hiding something? As a decades long serving peace officer, I am sure he would be familiar with standard investigative procedures. Why is he not on administrative leave? Why wasn’t his service weapon taken into evidence? Why isn’t the ISP handling this investigation? What impact could a botched investigation have on the inevitable law suit by the victim of this shooting? 
As these questions don’t get answered, as has been the practice of this regime, more questions will emerge. Having only worked at a police department for four years, I don’t have the depth of experience to know what the policy is for this type of situation. That is why I submitted a FOIA request so that I could generate more informed questions and provide a better analysis of this situation since it appears that the university is going to remain silent.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chicago State University: Unsafe for Dogs and Concert-goers?

Are public events at Chicago State safe for persons and dogs? From what I hear, we have our very own version of Dirty Harry (or Barney Fife if you prefer) who recently shot up the town. Can anyone confirm this?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Welcome to the New School Year and Back to Business as Usual: The Administration Threatens Staff and Faculty and Screws the Students

As we all know, the problem at Chicago State is that a “small group” of "disgruntled" faculty oppose the Watson administration. As Angela Henderson’s recent complaint alleged, this benighted group neither recognizes the greatness of Watson and his various cronies, nor endorses any of the “positive educational advances and changes” this fabulous administration has visited upon our humble school. Now that a new school year is beginning, we again see how masterfully our wonderful administration operates and what deep regard they have for the faculty, staff and students here at Chicago State.

First, we have the recent communication from the kingdom of Human Resources. This ridiculous e-mail includes standard administrative/Human Resources fare: threats to withhold paychecks, threats to discontinue calculating accrued leave balances, and threats to discipline employees and/or supervisors. The offense: not filling out your electronic timesheet! Imagine that! An administration that ignores lies and cheating on applications/resumes/dissertations by high-level administrators threatens to discipline its employees, those ubiquitous “little people,” for not submitting a form.

The threat to withhold paychecks seems to contravene Illinois law, which says nothing about a paycheck being contingent upon filling out a form:

The threat to refuse to calculate benefits seems to violate the CSU-UPI Contract, which says nothing about sick leave accrual being contingent upon filling out a form:

I have e-mailed Renee Mitchell and asked for clarification on this matter. I will let you know how (or if) she responds.

Second, we just went through another bloodbath as the administration cut courses with its usual steely resolve. Here are the guidelines for chairs to use in creating their course defenses. You’ll note the highlighted part, essentially a comment about putting asses in seats. Is this the pit into which we have descended? Are we now a totally for-profit, bottom-line kind of organization? I was struck by the absence in this memorandum of any reference to the humanity of our students and faculty. As a result, I will endeavor to put a human face on the bean-counting calculations used by the administration to cull our courses.

In our department, we had a number of courses cut. In several cases, the enrollment made the cuts inevitable. Altogether, it appears that of the six faculty (the administration granted, through the grievance process, one of our faculty members a sabbatical just a few days before the beginning of the semester) who are teaching in the Fall, four had at least one course eliminated, with one of our faculty dropping from four courses to two, or a part-time load. Two course cuts, however, were extremely problematic. One survey class contained 8 students. Typically, we get an influx of students into courses immediately after the cut sessions. I believe that the enrollment in this course would have reached between 12 and 14, based on historical trends. For 4 of the 8 students enrolled in the class, its cancellation resulted in a drop in their credit hours from 12 to 9, making them part-time students and creating potential financial aid difficulties. Three of these students are First-time full-time Freshmen, the basis for the calculation of our graduation rate.

While the loss of this course presents obvious problems for students dependent upon financial aid, the administration’s elimination of the second is unfathomable. That course is offered once a year and is a requirement for all undergraduate majors. It contained 6 students with at least one other student planning to register for the class. This student is graduating in December and needs the course to fulfill the requirements for his degree. The department chair made the best argument he could for the retention of this class but the powers-that-be decided they knew best. The decision to cut this class resulted in 5 of the 7 students being reduced to 9 credit hour course schedules. I suppose that making it more difficult for students to complete their degrees by cutting required courses is one of the “positive educational advances and changes” I fail to recognize.

Who in this administration knows how to run a university?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's a New School Year and the Stench from the Cook Building Still Permeates the Air: How the Administration Ignores or Reinterprets the Law. How to Throw Away $100,000. How to Foster Insecurity.

Ostensibly, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) commits public institutions to transparency, in the belief that public scrutiny is an important safeguard against institutional corruption. In Illinois, however, the laws governing the “free flow of information” and that purportedly ensured “transparency” were “neither adequately enforced nor broad enough to create a government that is sufficiently transparent, open and responsive to its citizens’ requests for information.” Thus, “public officials can conduct business without the public’s scrutiny,” which facilitated “a culture of corruption.” A 2009 report by the Illinois Reform Commission found FOIA compliance particularly problematic. In a 2006 report, the Better Government Association found that only thirty-eight percent of 408 government offices responded to legitimate FOIA requests. An additional thirty-nine percent provided no response. The association also found disturbing the significant “level of resistance, obfuscation, and outright hostility that greeted the ordinary citizen asking to see public records.” In Illinois, the lack of adequate laws created an “atmosphere in which corruption thrives, cynicism increases and accountability diminishes.” Given the information contained in the Reform Commission report, one might conclude that public officials in Illinois were not particularly interested in combating the state’s endemic corruption.

Illinois Reform Commission, “100-Day Report,” April 28, 2009, 7, 35-36. Accessed here: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/reformnow/Documents/press%20releases/IRC%20100-Day%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf.

Chicago State University’s FOIA component could have served as a model for the commission’s report. Although FOIA requests have resulted in a considerable amount of information coming from university sources, Chicago State’s customary responses certainly reflect “resistance, obfuscation,” and even “outright hostility.” A brief comparison with the FOIA practices at the University of Illinois is instructive. At Illinois, the university maintains a publicly accessible FOIA log that includes (for all three campuses) the date, the name of the requestor, a description of the original request and the university’s response to the FOIA request. According to the Illinois Board of Trustees, in calendar 2013, Illinois received 621 FOIA requests. Requestors subsequently submitted 12, or 2 percent, (13 according to the U of Illinois FOIA office) to the Public Access Counselor for Review.


I maintain an unofficial FOIA log for my own requests since there is certainly nothing like the Illinois FOIA log available on the Chicago State website. Since August of 2013, I have submitted at least 18 FOIA requests. Chicago State has responded within the statutory time limit on five occasions. The other 13 requests necessitated appeals to the Public Access Counselor for review. The reason for the requests for review in 12 cases was the university’s complete failure to respond within the prescribed time limit, which constitutes a denial. Of the last 10 FOIA requests I have submitted (since December 2013), the university failed to respond all 10 times. While the University of Illinois system complies with the FOIA law 98 percent of the time, here at Chicago State, I have had to appeal to the Public Access Counselor in 72.2 percent of my FOIA requests. I think it possible that the Chicago State administration does not want to give me the requested public information.

Despite the administration's obstructionism, FOIA requests submitted by Chicago State faculty have nonetheless revealed a disturbing pattern of administrative incompetence and fiscal mismanagement. Recently, the university spent $100,000 to hire a search firm to conduct a search for a new Provost. The end result? Seemingly nothing since it appears that Angela Henderson still functions as the university’s Interim Provost. How and why did the university spend that kind of money? The answer to how is rooted in current Illinois law, a resolution passed by the Chicago State Board of Trustees and a Human Resources policy that, I believe, goes far beyond the intent of the law.

On January 1, 2013, a new law went into effect that prohibited the use of external search firms in hiring except for “in the hiring of the President of the University or (ii) in the case of when the President of the University and the Board demonstrate a justifiable need for guidance from an individual or firm with specific expertise in the field of the hiring. The University shall implement a policy under this Section, including qualifying criteria,within 6 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly.” In response to this restriction, Chicago State’s administration requested carte blanche to use search firms for other administrative hiring, based on “qualifying criteria” far in excess of what appears to be the law’s intent. On March 8, 2013, the Chicago State Board acquiesced to the university’s “desire” to create “the option of using search firms in the following additional categories of possible searches: vice presidents; deans and health science faculty with terminal degrees.”

The policy that the university finally adopted is even more expansive, with so many “qualifying criteria” that a search firm could be used for almost any hiring (HR Policy Manual, p. 37). That is how this law:

Became this policy:

So, armed with dispensation from the Board and itself to hire a search firm for a new provost, the university did so. Why? The answer to that question is complicated, although I think not particularly opaque. First, Chicago State hired its old reliable search firm, the Hollins Group, the folks who brought us Wayne Watson in 2009. They paid them $100,000 to conduct a search that was already rigged. This meant that the “search committee” created for the provost search would have little or no input into the winnowing of the applicant files. Most of us have had the experience of spending time and effort on a search or other type of committee with a nil net result since the administration (read Wayne Watson) chose to do nothing about whatever recommendation the committee submitted. Clearly, the insider choice of Wayne Watson was his old sidekick, Angela Henderson. It is difficult to imagine how the Hollins Group would produce a list of finalists that would not include Henderson. In any real competitive search for someone to be the chief academic officer of a doctoral degree granting university, someone with Henderson’s non-existent scholarly credentials would not even meet the basic requirements of the job (of course, even here at Chicago State, she was possibly qualified to apply for an entry-level Assistant Professor’s position). Since the applicant group for Chicago State’s provost position did not include any finalists with a similarly meager C.V. (Wayne Watson did not apply), the four finalists included three persons who actually had some qualifications, along with Henderson. Could not this have been done more cheaply than the $100,000 price tag for the Hollins Group? The obvious answer is yes. However, the use of the Hollins Group made the potentially pesky faculty and staff irrelevant. Since the Hollins Group anointed the four finalists, the probability of the “right” candidate emerging out of the applicant pool could potentially be guaranteed. So, either way the search concluded—with a new permanent provost or with the current interim provost in place—the use of the Hollins Group was bound to be a waste of $100,000 of the taxpayer’s money, save to insure that the “right” candidate came out of the herd. Take a particular look at the second document.

Of course, at Chicago State, it is hardly standard procedure to have expeditious searches for administrative positions. An examination of the last two organizational charts published by the university demonstrates that reality while it also shows how this administration uses “interim” administrative appointments. On July 31, 2012, of 20 key administrative positions at Chicago State—Deans of six colleges, Dean of the First Year Experience and Dean of Students; Four Vice Presidents (Administration and Finance, Provost, Enrollment Management and Sponsored Programs); Six Directors (Intergovernmental Affairs, Budget and Resources, Counseling Center, Financial Aid, Institutional Research and Meetings and Events); the Registrar and the Internal Auditor—4 were staffed by “interim” administrators and 3 were vacant. Looking at these same 20 positions now, it appears that 12 are filled by interims and 2 are vacant. In a little more than two years, the number of interim appointments has tripled and the total number of interim/vacant positions has doubled. 16 of the 20 administrative positions are filled by persons who were not in those positions in 2012. Currently, Chicago State has extant job announcements for only 4 of the 14 interim/vacant positions. How does all this administrative upheaval serve the university? Not very well.

None of this is necessarily a reflection on the ability, performance or commitment of the occupants of those interim positions, rather the proliferation of interims speaks to an administrative culture which, at the top, values uproar and uncertainty over consistency. The precarious nature of administrative employment (except for a select few) seems far from optimum and creates the potential for university operations to suffer. As an example, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is new. The previous Dean of the university’s largest college had been an interim appointee since at least 2011. There have been at least three fruitless searches for a permanent Dean. Why? Only Wayne Watson knows the answer to that question. Currently, the Financial Aid Director’s position seems to be vacant. Given the problems in that area, should filling that position be a priority? Apparently not, there is no current job announcement on the CSU website. Finally, I have heard from various administrators about the paperwork bottleneck in the provost’s office; apparently important paperwork frequently goes in and comes out long past the time it needs to be processed, if it comes out at all. Sort of like this:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is This Extortion? Musings About Libel and Lawsuits

Although I appear as the chief protagonist in the theatrical libel/slander lawsuit filed recently by Angela Henderson, my exclusion from the list of defendants offers me an opportunity to comment on the on-going litigation. I have to say that I am still shaking my head at that particular complaint. In this post, I will offer some analysis and interpretations that have resulted from my perusal of that fascinating document.

Since material for complaints comes primarily from the complainant (lawyers function mainly as stenographers during that process), Henderson’s suit provides a clear view of the administration’s position on a number of issues. Frankly, you can almost see Wayne Watson’s behind Angela Henderson’s complaint.

Early on, the complaint makes sure to announce that at Chicago State there exists “a small group of disgruntled faculty . . . that has attempted to put a stop to the positive educational changes being made at the university.” Who says there are positive educational changes occurring at Chicago State? Why our friends at the HLC. Unfortunately, one of those “disgruntled” faculty members, namely me, does not share the HLC’s enthusiasm for Watson’s leadership genius, as continuously articulated by the heroic great man himself and validated by the HLC. Unfortunately this portion of the complaint does not describe the “positive educational changes” to which the document alludes.

In fact, through the complaint, I found out that I was the leader of the “disgruntled” faculty members. In my capacity as leader, I proceeded to download Henderson’s dissertation (a public document on a public website), “in order to undermine her reputation and credibility by falsely claiming that she engaged in plagiarism.” This behavior, of course, simply hews to my already established leadership pattern of “undermin[ing] the university and attack[ing] certain administrators, including Ms. Henderson.” All of this material appears on a single page of the complaint (page 2), offering a parade of accusations supported by nothing more than assertions from someone who has already demonstrated considerable difficulties with the truth.

The next page offers more of the same. Here the complaint runs into some difficulties because it expresses Henderson’s belief that I simply used a “software program” with all its inherent flaws, to detect Henderson’s plagiarism. As the complaint points out, “the software program cannot be relied on alone to detect plagiarism.” What a surprise is in store for Angela and her lawyers on that count!

Finally after rambling through the various examples of persecution visited upon Henderson by me, the complaint gets to the point. It has three parts: 1) Since the “generally accepted definition of plagiarism is intentionally (italics in original) taking the work of another and attempting to pass that work off as your own”; 2) “By definition, honest and unintentional mistakes are not plagiarism”; and 3) “Ms. Henderson has denied any allegations that she plagiarized her dissertation, in whole or in part.” Are these assertions not an admission that Henderson’s dissertation contains “honest and unintentional mistakes” and that while she really did not “intentionally” try to pass the work of other scholars as her own, she still did so? Do these assertions not weaken the argument that the plagiarism accusations were “false” and designed to “undermine” her “reputation and credibility at CSU”? (page 3)

How about the argument that the "generally accepted definition of plagiarism" requires that the plagiarizer "intentionally" commit the offense? Here is a sample of definitions, from universities, the American Psychological Association, the Modern Language Association and dictionaries, including Black's online law dictionary. You will note that none of these definitions require intentionality. Neither does UIC's Academic Integrity Policy. It looks like the definition of plagiarism is not exactly what Henderson wishes it were:

On page 4, the complaint finally gets to the two defendants, UIC Provost Lon Kaufman and Graduate College Dean Karen Colley. For the next seven pages, the document throws out a number of accusations, none of which include any specific libelous comments. Apparently, the only comment made publicly by either of the two defendants was Colley’s quote in the January 14, 2014 Tribune story, a boilerplate comment to the effect of UIC taking plagiarism allegations seriously. The final seven murky pages features a series of accusations that attempt to connect the defendants with violations and improper disclosure of Henderson’s privacy and FERPA rights because they had responded to a newspaper reporter’s questions. Henderson’s complaint accuses Kaufman of a “long standing personal and professional relationship” with Jodi Cohen, the reporter who wrote the January 14 story. Henderson offers no evidence of this relationship.

Another assertion supported by no evidence appears on page 7 when Henderson claims that at least "five other dissertations from the nursing program that had been checked against software programs which received higher or worse scores on the plagiarism index than hers did." And, "at least another 30 UIC dissertations, in addition to the [previous] five . . . also showed high or problematic software scores." Does this passage not confirm that Henderson's dissertation was "high" or "problematic" in terms of its plagiarism? The remainder of the complaint is a convoluted mélange of assertions and allegations, none of which contain any reference to comments made by the defendants, orally or in writing to any third parties. Here (http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/illinois-defamation-law) is the legal definition of defamation (and libel, slander):

Of course, the truth is always a defense against defamation/libel/slander:

In its concluding paragraphs, the Henderson complaint apparently claims that the publicly published dissertation is somehow part of Henderson’s privacy rights as a “private academic matter”, which UIC is “required . . .to keep . . . private.” The complaint asserts that “the matters disclosed . . . related to Ms. Henderson’s private, not public life,” and that “the allegations were not of legitimate public concern.” Henderson’s complaint reiterates her claim that “the aforementioned allegations of plagiarism against Ms. Henderson are false.” (pages 9-10).

Given the complete absence of defamatory comments from the two defendants, one might wonder what this lawsuit is designed to achieve. There are a number of questions that need to be answered: 1) did Henderson plagiarize? 2) Since the answer to that question is yes, what should the penalty be for her plagiarism? 3) Did UIC violate FERPA in disclosing “private academic matters”? 4) Did UIC officials libel or slander Henderson? Based on the material in the complaint, I have come to several conclusions about that. Readers are certainly free to draw their own conclusions.

1) It seems likely that the academic administration at UIC intends to rescind Henderson’s degree, an action I consider completely appropriate. In her complaint, Henderson references the 14-member Graduate College Executive Committee’s recommendation that she “revise” her dissertation. If the UIC administration had accepted that recommendation, this issue would be resolved. The decision to impose more severe discipline is clearly within the purview of UIC’s administration.
2) If that is the case, the lawsuit becomes more understandable. It is a pre-emptive strike against the University of Illinois at Chicago, an attempt to extort them to desist in their efforts to rescind a degree Henderson clearly did not earn.
3) Since Henderson did, in fact, plagiarize her dissertation (according to the UIC College of Nursing’s Academic Integrity Policy), statements asserting that she plagiarized are, in fact, true.
4) Since statements about Henderson’s dissertation plagiarism are true, they cannot be libelous or slanderous.
5) Whether UIC violated FERPA or whether UIC officials committed libel/slander have nothing to do with the reality of Henderson’s plagiarism.
6) If Henderson wishes to pursue an action for FERPA violations, the appropriate venue is Federal Court.
7) By filing this action, Angela Henderson has put herself into a unique position. Instead of being able to run roughshod over a powerless student with few financial resources or political connections, she is now pitted against the largest university system in the state, one with significant resources and political influence. It seems a high-stakes gamble and we will see how it works out for her, and more important, how it works out for UIC and CSU.

It will be interesting to see how long this drags on.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who Are The Banned?

So about a month ago, I made reference to "The Banned" and promised to provide more information on this small but apparently growing group of citizens. To that end, I submitted a FOIA request to get a better handle on this banning situation.

This was the university's response.

Of course this poses a dilemma in terms of privacy afforded by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Let me explain. 
If you read the response from the Office of Labor and Legal Affairs you will see that their denial is based on their interpretation of FERPA. The crux of the issue is this. If a student is banned from the university,  then they by definition they could be considered a danger to the university community. Otherwise, why would they have been banned? If the university community is not informed that a student has been banned how would say, the instructors of record know that the student is no longer authorized access to a public institution? Would the instructor(s) of record  then be guilty of allowing the student access to a university office, classroom or laboratory? Would that faculty member then be subject to sanction under Article 5 of the faculty contract? Would other university employees, who were also not informed, be subject to discipline by allowing a banned student on campus? That sounds very much like a set up for all parties involved. So if I understand this correctly, the university bans a student, doesn't tell anyone that they are banned and then waits to see if the student returns, conceivably to transact legitimate business, possibly to return library books or  request a transcript. If they do return, possibly to pick up a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, the faculty member is then complicit in the student violating the banning that the faculty member knew nothing about. Hmmm. 
So with the university's new "See Something, Say Something" initiative, how would the banned miscreants be reported if no one knows they are banned? And the university's response is that you can't know they are banned because of FERPA.
The situation described above is confusing enough. FERPA protects student privacy. Public safety may be compromised but privacy is protected? 
What happens when the banned person is not a student but a former faculty member? Several disturbing issues arise here. 
First, every person in the United States is protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. This amendment provides for due process and equal protection. What was the due process afforded a former faculty member who was informed she was banned from the university? If there was no due process, might a federal law suit be in the offing? I raise this point because what was sent to me by the university included no information about non-students. I take that to mean that there is no policy. 
Secondly, is a former faculty member afforded privacy protections as the students are? Obviously, banning a former faculty member is a serious matter. So what protections do university students and employees have from someone who was summarily banned, apparently without due process? As a former colleague this person may have been engaged in a joint research project with me. Now that a banning has occurred does my research stop or does their participation stop?
These are all questions that the administration is incapable and/or unwilling to answer. My question is why. Is it because there is no viable policy making and policy review process at this institution? Is it because those most vulnerable are subject to rule by fiat by a petty dictator? Or is it just the ineptness of an administration whose failure has been well documented in this forum as well as others? The administration seems more concerned about satisfying petty slights than protecting the safety of the university. 
That is unconscionable!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

U of Illinois to Angela Henderson--We're not Impressed

Here's the response by the University of Illiois president to the recent propaganda piece in the Sun Times. The article is here: http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/29263112-474uic-provost-not-demoted-just-took-another-post.html. We'll see if there's any response from the "journalist" who wrote the original article.

A Guide to Angela Henderson's Plagiarism is Now Available for Our Readers

For all readers of the blog, I have created a PDF file with the majority of plagiarized passages from Angela Henderson's dissertation, a plagiarism bibliography that references most of the sources from which she took her material, and copies of the title pages and highlighted plagiarized material from the various articles from which she stole her material. For anyone interested in looking at this summary, send me an e-mail at rbionaz@att.net and I'll forward you a copy. Also, I can send along the highlighted version of her plagiarized dissertation if you're interested.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More on the Henderson Libel/Slander Lawsuit: The Offenses and Defenses of the Watson Administration

Given the spate of allegations and assertions included in Angela Henderson’s recent libel/slander complaint, a few points might benefit from some clarification. Most important I think, are Henderson’s denial of any wrongdoing and the assertion in her claim that the plagiarism charges are lies.

There seem to be several bases for these assertions: 1) my efforts to undermine her reputation with false claims; 2) a convenient definition of plagiarism that requires it be intentional; 3) the implication that because other UIC dissertations displayed evidence of plagiarism, Henderson’s should not have been scrutinized.

In the nearly seven months since Henderson's plagiarism became public knowledge, Wayne Watson has done nothing to protect the academic integrity of Chicago State. In fact, he told one former administrator that the plagiarism allegations against Henderson amounted to "academic rape." This is part of the tried and true Watsonian tactic of attacking the messenger when any unpleasant truths are revealed about his administration. In the entire time Chicago State has suffered this president, I cannot recall a single instance when he admitted any culpability for anything. It is simply not permisible to level any substantive criticism against Watson or any of his cronies.

However, in Henderson's case, her dissertation was originally a public document, available for anyone to examine. Since I have a copy, I am able to analyze the dissertation. Here are some relevant facts: As I have said before, the dissertation includes at least 84 passages or complete sentences plagiarized from other sources. There are 19 major sources for this material, only seven of which appear in her text or bibliography; 1 source appears in the text but not her bibliography and no references to the other 11 appear anywhere in the dissertation. There are 50 pairs of quotation marks in the dissertation. Henderson quotes herself 4 times, 41 are quotes detailing questions in either studies by other authors or Henderson's own study, 3 are quotations from literary sources, one quotes students in the Henderson survey, 1 is a quotation from one of the studies that constitutes her "review of the literature." In the entire dissertation there is not a single page reference to any exact language.

Here is the Academic Integrity Policy of the UIC College of Nursing:

" . . . Similarly, using someone else's exact words must be indicated by enclosing those words in quotation marks . . . and giving the exact reference and page number where those words can be found. It is intellectual theft to use someone else's words or work product without giving them credit for the work through adequate attribution. Students who plagiarize in any of their work at the University are subject to Student Disciplinary Action."

I will leave it for the reader to decide where the truth lies in this ongoing tragedy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Angela Henderson's Lawsuit Against UIC for Libel/Slander

Here is the complaint filed by Angela Henderson against UIC. The parts I find most compelling I've highlighted in yellow. On the cover page, note that the lawsuit is for Libel/Slander:

On this page, you'll see that I am the "leader" of the "disgruntled" faculty attempting to "undermine" the university as well as "stop" its advancement. Also, the one major accomplishment of Watson's regime, the accreditation that we would have gotten with anyone as president, is again trotted out as a one size fits all defense of the administration's competence. At the bottom of the page, a clairvoyant Henderson informs the court of the motives behind my examination of her dissertation:

This page features the various defenses of Henderson's plagiarism. Henderson might have made an attempt to get her facts straight here (see item 16):

From the Tribune story of January 14, 2014:

Again, Henderson should strive for at least a modicum of accuracy (see item 31):

Here is the only time Colley is quoted in the January 14 article:

On this page, the complaint asserts that the educational qualifications of the highly-compensated Chief Academic Officer at a Doctoral granting public university are "not of legitimate public concern."

Given the kind of suit Henderson has filed, it might be instructive for readers to research the criteria for libel/slander/defamation as well as the defenses against those allegations.