Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If You're Wondering Why We're in Trouble, Take a Look at the Enrollment Management Report to the Chicago State Board

“On a personal level, I am disappointed that the Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate would engage in public discourse about any of our colleagues. Those individuals mentioned in your document are professionals who command respect in the higher education marketplace because of their experience and documented capabilities. As higher education leaders and managers, their qualifications are unimpeachable. Our students, employees, and other stakeholders are the beneficiaries of the much needed depth, range, and scope that they bring to their work—all of which are essential to the effective operation of a modern urban university.”

Wayne Watson, Response to the Shared Governance Committee of the Chicago State University Faculty Senate and the UPI Local 4100. November 13, 2012.

We have a wonderful example of the “documented capabilities” of Watson’s “professionals who command respect in the higher education marketplace” in the Enrollment Management report submitted to the Chicago State Board of Trustees for its September 17, 2014 meeting. The report is nothing but a parade of jargon and empty rhetoric—bullshit that addresses none of the substantive problems facing Chicago State. It fails to offer any concrete proposals to stem the cataclysmic drop in enrollment that is continuing in fall 2014. Finally, it is an embarrassment to the entire academic community at this university. Sent by a university administrator to Chicago State's governing board, this report demonstrates a startling lack of literacy and a degree of sloppiness that would be unacceptable in a high school paper. All-in-all, this document falls far short of the literary standards expected at any institution of higher education.

This report is not a blog post or a casual communication on Facebook. There is no evidence of editing and little evidence of any serious attempt to communicate anything clearly. The combination of meaningless rhetoric and abominable writing serves to make this report opaque and uninformative. Perhaps that is by design.

Here is the title page. You'll note the report ostensibly comes from the president's girlfriend, the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management:

Take a look at the "highlights" on page 2. I've marked in yellow those I think are most ridiculous and attenuated. Readers can make their own choices. These points raise the following questions for me: In the third bullet point, what do the "in the Grazz" programs have to do with Enrollment Management? Have we realized any enrollment gains from those programs? Where do we find the dashboards to which bullet point five refers? In bullet point eleven, the report tells us that 310 people attended the "New Student Orientation." Unfortunately, we are not told how many of those persons actually enrolled. That information might be useful. At the bottom of the page we get to the bad news, enrollment is down 6 percent. These figures are outdated, enrollment is currently down 8 percent.

Take a look at the two highlighted paragraphs on page 3. Nonsensical jargon seems an apt description. Or, how about a succession of clich├ęs? What is the relationship between our "environmental footprint" and enrollment?

Skipping ahead to page 5, we encounter the critical university "brand" (possibly the one Patrick Cage so zealously defends):

The depressing enrollment statistics appear in more detail on page 6. Perhaps no one will read this far, after all it's six whole pages. Note the jargon. Note the style.

The report mercifully ends with an incoherent paragraph on page 8:

Producing and disseminating a piece of writing as bad as this is simply unacceptable. This is the best we can do?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Things on the front page of a university website...


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Chicago State Website: What Do We Look Like to the Outside World?

"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."

quote attributed to Jessica Mitford, author (The American Way of Death), journalist, and civil rights activist (1917-1996)

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Quote from numerous advertising slogans, original source unknown.

Chicago State continues to hemorrhage students. The grim enrollment statistics tell the story; students do not enroll here and a large number of the students who are enrolled do not stay here. In this post, I will explore the role played in our enrollment difficulties by the university’s web site. In my estimation, a look at the site is likely to leave an imaginary prospective student with one of the following impressions that lead to one important question: 1) the articles on the school’s web site are often replete with basic errors in grammar and style. If the university presents itself in such a sloppy and unprofessional way, is it a school I want to attend? 2) I do not see much about students, faculty or programs. In fact, the web site seems to exist to trumpet the achievements and activities of a variety of administrators (particularly Wayne Watson). Since the school chooses not to advertise its academic strengths, maybe it does not have any. Again, is it a school I want to attend? Based on the enrollment declines Chicago State has experienced, the answer seems to be a resounding no.

Here is what that imaginary prospective student looking at the web site for the first time would see this morning:

As you can see, under the “University Gateway,” the “s” is missing from what clearly should be the plural of “student.” The blurb on Chicago State’s “Women’s Soccer” (no team, just “Women’s Soccer”) uses the contraction “it’s” rather than the possessive, “its.” Four of the five “news” stories prominently feature administrators: Wayne Watson, Patrick Cage and Denisha Hendricks, the new Athletic Director. Who are these people? If our imaginary student further peruses articles on the web site, s/he will find more sloppy and unprofessional writing. Problems with punctuation, oddly placed dependent clauses and insipid passive constructions plague several articles.

Going deeper into the Chicago State web site, the imaginary student soon realizes that of the ten most recent news articles, seven feature picture(s) of Wayne Watson and/or quotations by Wayne Watson. Now the student becomes curious and googles Wayne Watson and Chicago State University. The Wikipedia article on Chicago State says that the school has accreditation, that’s good, but it also says that the school’s provost might have plagiarized her dissertation and that “under Watson’s tenure” the school has been named as a defendant in “several high profile lawsuits,” one of which resulted in a multi-million dollar loss. Oh my, that’s not so good.

The imaginary student finds the lead article on the web site really baffling. What does an award for being a “Top General Counsel” mean exactly? What is a “General Counsel”? The student dutifully googles Patrick Cage and finds a number of entries, none of them flattering. He has made several attempts to stifle dissent at Chicago State, he does not know the difference between “tenants” and “tenets,” he was heavily involved in egregious and apparently discriminatory employment actions that resulted in the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the school. Why would anyone give this guy an award?

Finally our imaginary student decides s/he has seen enough. Chicago State is not the place to go.

Frankly, this fictional account is a somewhat mediocre attempt to express my frustrations with a university gateway that is often amateurish, sometimes illiterate and always a narcissistic celebration of various administrators. Does any prospective student give a damn about an award to Patrick Cage? Does anyone care about Wayne Watson? Are either of these two guys going to be a magnet for potential students? Is there nothing else on this campus to talk about?

In my estimation, a university web site should be a polished, professional representation of the school. However, our web site is an embarrassment. No one writes perfect prose but the university web site is not some web blog or casual opinion site. The written material that appears on our web pages should be scrupulously edited. It is not like listening to Watson’s extemporaneous ramblings—always turgid, pedantic and inarticulate. The written stuff must be correct when it finally appears. No viable university site should produce the kind of horrific written material that appears on Chicago State’s web pages. If the articles on the web site look plain dumb, we all look stupid. In the same vein, if the university does not possess sufficient self-respect to ensure that its public pronouncements are as articulate as possible, what conclusions is the reader likely to draw?

From a tactical standpoint, I find the web page focus on Wayne Watson and other top administrators unfathomable. Watson has been the cause of a variety of public relations disasters. Only weeks after the judge in the Crowley case called him a liar, only weeks after the court affirmed the huge award against Watson and the university, our school prominently features him on the website? Similarly, our public relations folks make their lead web page story about the attorney who has brought nothing but public scorn down on the university? I realize that there seems to be an eerie serendipitous relationship in the timing of negative press coverage and awards given to our administrators, but enough is enough. What are we to expect next? Perhaps someone could give an award to Angela Henderson for the Nursing “dissertation of the year”? How about a guest appearance by Elnora Daniel to talk about how to use your credit cards responsibly? Or maybe Dolores Cross could write an article about how to handle federal financial aid money? The more Chicago State’s web site focuses on the school’s administrators, the wider the disjuncture between fantasy and reality becomes.

The people responsible for Chicago State’s public image receive nice salaries for their efforts. I do not think it is too much to ask that they produce material that is reasonably articulate and thoroughly professional. If there is no one in the administration capable of writing a simple declarative sentence, perhaps we could find someone. For goodness sake, have someone edit your stuff so it does not embarrass us all. Finally, I humbly suggest that our public relations people eliminate the constant references to persons who have brought the university into such disrepute. We apparently cannot do much to end the putrid Watson regime. Nonetheless, we can change the public face of the university. Our survival might just depend on it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Anthony Young's Slobbering Obeisance: Wayne Watson is a Man of Great Character--He Who Must Be Obeyed. His Opponents? Degenerates Unworthy of Anything but Contempt

The recent memorandum from the Chicago State University Board of Trustees (which a number of faculty, me and other members of the Faculty Senate included, never received) demonstrates the existence of a curiously inverted power relationship: instead of governing the university, the board serves Wayne Watson. The welfare of the institution, its students, staff and faculty be damned, the board serves Wayne Watson. Listen to the students, staff or faculty? The board only listens to students, staff and faculty who support Wayne Watson and wax enthusiastically about his tremendous leadership. While university boards are supposed to exercise independent oversight, this board includes members with personal and/or political ties to Watson, members who have benefitted financially from their association with Watson and an hapless student trustee who is somewhat unlikely to dissent in any meaningful way. The Chicago State Board is not an independent Board of Trustees which explains many of the seemingly insoluble problems afflicting the university.

Here are some of the key events that support this argument: On November 6, 2012, the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in the president by 28-2 with 2 abstentions. A great deal of evidence of Wayne Watson’s failures as measured by his contractual criteria provided support for this no confidence vote. The Senate President communicated the justification for the vote along with the tally to the Board of Trustees. The members took no notice. The December 14, 2012 Board meeting included no reference to the Senate’s vote. The first reference to the no confidence vote appears in the minutes of the March 1, 2013 meeting, when a faculty member commented on the vote.

After the circus-like meetings of March 1 and 8, 2013, Governor Quinn did not reappoint the board members who apparently wished to discharge Watson. Ultimately, Quinn appointed three new members and the new board’s first meeting on May 17, 2013, resulted in a resounding affirmation of Watson’s presidency: “Trustee Joyce also stated that President Watson has the unanimous support of the Chicago State University (CSU) Board of Trustees.” No more worries about potential investigations or possible dismissal for Wayne Watson.

On September 20, 2013, the new board extended Watson’s contract for two years, through June 30, 2016. In moving to extend Watson’s contract, Anthony Young said: “The present board has expressed its faith and commitment with Dr. Watson. We agree with his vision for the university and support him wholeheartedly.”

On January 14, 2014, the news of Angela Henderson’s dissertation plagiarism provided embarrassment for both Chicago State and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Predictably, Watson took no action against his long-time crony. With the academic integrity of Chicago State riding on their shoulders, on February 11, 2014, the school’s board said this: “The Chicago State University Board of Trustees accepts the PhD conferred on Dr. Angela Henderson by the University of Illinois and the current process being followed. Therefore, the Board supports Dr. Henderson in her role as the Interim Provost and Senior Vice President. The Board also expresses its full confidence in President Watson.”

In May, a number of Chicago State faculty signed an open letter to the board expressing their concern with a number of important issues, particularly the board’s apparent unwillingness to take seriously faculty’s concerns about the the multiple issues plaguing the university. The letter demanded that the board members do something to “save this university from further needless embarrassment and damage.”

A short exchange of letters ensued. The board’s final communication informed the faculty that “it is important to reiterate that the Board supports President Watson and the administration,” and noted the “positive feedback we have received from students, staff, and community stakeholders, as well as several of your colleagues.” The upshot of the board’s letters? Anyone who supports Wayne Watson is always right, anyone who opposes him is always wrong. Here's the faculty's letter to the board on May 7, 2014.

Here's the board's response of May 27, 2014:

Here's the board's letter of June 27, 2014, telling the dissenting faculty to shut up:

This right-wrong binary is apparent in other matters under the board’s purview. Any policy the promulgated by the university administration must be adopted as soon as possible (witness the recent Cyber-bullying policy). In conrast, the board has ignored resolutions or policy suggestions coming from the Faculty Senate. In fact, during my entire time in the Faculty Senate, I am not aware of any resolution or policy suggestion submitted by that body that has generated any response from either the administration or the board. Frankly, the board could not care less what the faculty thinks, although the board has made exceptions for any faculty member who agrees with Wayne Watson.

So, Watson and his administration are infallible in the eyes of the “independent” Chicago State University Board of Trustees. A brief examination of the recent Crowley trial provides insight into the character of two of the members of the administration most responsible for the recent Anthony Young letter—Wayne Watson and Patrick Cage.

As I demonstrated in previous posts, Wayne Watson has had no problem telling lies to the Board of Trustees. He displayed his penchant for untruthfulness during the Crowley trial. You might recall that Judge McCarthy indicated that the testimony of both Watson and Cage had been “impeached” during the trial. That is a polite legal euphemism for saying that they both made statements that were subsequently demonstrated to be untrue. Here’s Watson’s untruth: Watson claimed under oath that although appointed president at Chicago State effective July 1, 2009, he did nothing offficially until October 1. Watson said he only attended some generic orientations but otherwise had no influence on the day-to-day operations of the school. However, because of the potential problems with his retirement, Chicago State received FOIA requests from SURS seeking to determine if Watson was actually working prior to October 1. In an affidavit, Watson apparently claimed that he had no quarrel with Crowley over the SURS FOIA requests because, in July 2009, he had ordered Crowley to comply with those FOIA requests. Watson and his attorneys apparently realized that Watson’s admission would constitute a violation of SURS retirement rules so they submitted a second affidavit that removed the offending language. Obviously one of Watson’s under-oath statements was untrue. Most important, one jeopardized his retirement. As you can imagine, counsel for the plaintiff had a field day with that discrepancy.

As far as Patrick Cage’s problems, they revolved around the actual firing of Crowley. The university apparently had an exclusive contract with Pepsi-Cola during the time Crowley served in the Jones Convocation Center. According to testimony, faculty complained about seeing Coca-Cola trucks at the center (really, faculty?), a violation of Pepsi’s exclusive contract. These “faculty” complaints spurred Cage to ask Internal Auditor John Meehan to audit Crowley’s operation. Meehan found this request puzzling since he had done an audit only a few months earlier and another one was scheduled to begin in less than three months. In a classic example of how Chicago State’s administration conducts their star chamber style investigations, Watson fired Crowley before the completion of the investigation—Meehan wrote the investigative report some weeks after Crowley’s termination. Cage tried to pressure Meehan to find in his audit report that Crowley had “misused” public funds. According to Meehan, Cage was the originator of the charge that Crowley had misused public money and Meehan told Cage that he would only disclose accounting errors, that the determination of whether those errors constituted “misuse” would have to be made by the administration. On the stand, Cage could apparently not remember whether Pepsi or Coca-Cola held the exclusive contract and the discrepancies between his account of events and Meehan’s raised substantive doubts about Cage’s credibility.

So, our all-knowing board has decided that the credibility of administrators like Cage and Watson far outdistances the credibility of Watson’s critics. So be it. I can say, however, that in nearly 23 years of law enforcement, I certainly never changed my testimony, had my testimony “impeached,” or lied in a courtroom. Nonetheless, as the board makes clear, my integrity is questionable and my concerns are worthy of nothing more than condescension and paternalistic disapproval.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TO Board Chair Anthony Young: Get Real. Even YOU don't share governance with President Wayne Watson.

Anthony Young sent us faculty an email today. Interesting that he wants to communicate with us but will not reciprocate. Letters sent by you, an individual, or you together with colleagues begging for the board to pay attention to hopeless state university merely nets you a form letter saying not to bother them. But here is a letter from FOW Board Chair Anthony Young. Oh, I guess we'd better "Listen Up." Long and short of it: the Board of Trustees is not going to recognize the Faculty Senate, I suppose it will be disbanded unless...(read below or check your email).

Apparently soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many faculty have been complaining about the faculty senate. That is, sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many faculty are complaining to the administration, not to their fellow faculty members. Just like ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL   those students complaining to the administration about how much the faculty persecutes them. 

The final paragraph of this letter is the most cynical statement of all:
"The Board firmly believes that Chicago State University deserves to have a strong, effective Faculty Senate. Therefore the Board encourages all University faculty members to become more involved in the shared governance process and work to re-establish the Faculty Senate..."

Is Anthony Young foolish or cynical? "Shared governance," yeah, right. Shared Governance are two words you haven't seen written here on this blog in a long time because in March of 2013 President Watson and his best buds in the southside political machine and churches swarmed Governor Quinn into overriding Young's predecessor, Gary Rozier, and two other members who finally wanted to put an end to the Watson patronage pony. Any shred of shared governance that might have existed on this campus ended that month. Tell me Mr Young, whatever happened to the much-touted "University Shared Governance Committee?" Why was their survey never made public? Why was the HLC monitoring report such a trumped up document with no real "communication" about its contents communicated before it was sent off? Shared Governance, PUH-LEASE. No one (even all those faculty members who you believe are complaining to the administration) believes anything but that Wayne Watson wants to centralize and control everything on this campus in the president's office. Neither the Provost Office nor the Board of Trustees operates as independent overseers of this university. My goodness, he's even got you, the chair of the Board of Trustees, writing this letter. Where are the signatures of your fellow board members? 

Anthony Young spare us your phony concern for shared governance and "faculty complaints." Like your friend Wayne Watson, you only listen to whom you want, and you are fooling no one with this bluster. You will not achieve UNITY at this university by trying to enforce UNIFORMITY. Shut down the Senate,  shut down student newspaper, shut down the SGA, you will still not be able to shut us up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lies and More Lies: Here's the Truth About Watson's "Raising Standards."

As I said in my previous post, Wayne Watson is a proven liar. To demonstrate this, I will begin again with a quote from the May 9, 2014, board meeting: “Let us not lose sight of the fact that, this is another area that we have raised standards, in terms of admission standards, we’re not admitting students today that we admitted four years ago, five years ago, and that can have an effect upon the number of students that you get in.”

Although the board members believe anything Watson says because they are either complicit in his failure or simply too uninterested to question what they are told, we do not have to be afflicted with the same myopia. In fact, there is actually extant evidence that will enable us to evaluate Watson’s claim about “raising standards.” The following information comes from either the university factbooks, university catalogs, or the admissions portion of the university web site.

First, here are the admissions standards from the 2002-04 university catalog for both freshmen and transfer students. Although they are hardly rigorous, for freshmen, you’ll note the minimum ACT score and the coursework requirement:

Here are the admission requirements from the 2010-12 undergraduate catalog. You’ll note that there is a combination of ACT/GPA for admission and that the minimum ACT score has dropped to 16. There is still required course work for incoming freshman. Transfer students can no longer transfer a grade of “D.”:

Here are the admission requirements from the current 2014-16 undergraduate catalog. You’ll note that there is now no minimum ACT requirement and the coursework requirement has vanished:

Here are the admission requirements for Fall 2015 from the university website. You’ll note that there is again a minimum ACT requirement of 16. You’ll also note that the university has resurrected the coursework for incoming freshmen, although now it is “recommended.”:

To summarize, in 2002, the university required an ACT of at least 17 in addition to a list of mandated high school courses for incoming freshmen. Transfer students had to have a 2.0 GPA and anyone with 30 or fewer semester hours had to supply ACT or SAT scores. By Fall 2010, the university had dropped the minimum ACT score to 16, retained the required high school course work for incoming freshmen and allowed no “D” course work to be transferred. For 2014, the catalog indicated no minimum ACT requirements and had eliminated the mandatory high school course work. The prohibition against the transfer of “D” grades remained. For Fall 2015, the minimum ACT of 16 has been resurrected and the mandatory course work will become “recommended.” The university continues not to accept grades of “D” in transfer credits.

Given the history of admission requirements at Chicago State, it seems clear that the Watson administration has reduced the minimum ACT score, eliminated the required course work for incoming freshmen, while eliminating grades of “D” from acceptance as transfer credit (I am not aware of any program that accepted grades of “D” in their majors, so these grades are in general education courses). On balance, it seems like the Watson administration has reduced admission standards at Chicago State.

If, as Watson claims, more rigorous standards might be expected to “have an effect upon the number of students you get in,” then the opposite should be true: less rigorous standards should result in higher enrollment numbers. A considerable body of data exists to enable us to test that hypothesis. We already know about the enrollment declines, 22.6 percent from 2010 to 2013. In addition, during the Watson presidency, freshman admits declined 49.7 percent, from 544 in 2010 to 276 in 2013; transfer admits declined 16.4 percent, from 640 in 2010 to 535 in 2013; transfers from community colleges mirrored the overall transfer admit decline of 16.4 percent, from 396 in 2010 to 331 in 2013; city college transfers also dropped by 14.2 percent, from 253 in 2010 to 217 in 2013. Dismal statistics—each and every one—that offer evidence of a university in deep trouble.

There are two other measures of interest relative to Watson’s claims of “raising standards,” and his assertion that all the faculty are thrilled with the results of his efforts (since we had no idea of what we were doing until the great Wayne Watson arrived). Between Fall 1999 and Fall 2007, the average ACT score of Chicago State’s freshmen admits rose nearly every year, from a low of 17.6 in 1999 to 19.2 in 2007. Under Frank Pogue in 2008, it dropped slightly, to 19. Under Wayne Watson, the average ACT score began at 17.7 in 2009, dropped to 17.3 in 2010 and in 2012 and 2013 reached 18.5. So, the Watson administration raised the standards that it had reduced (prior to Watson, the last time the university’s ACT dropped below 18.5 was 2004). Thus, Watson credits himself with “raising standards” that, when measured in average ACT scores, he had been responsible for dropping below the lowest figure recorded since 1999. This does not seem to indicate more rigorous standards.

There is also the matter of retention rates under Watson. In the 12 years (from Fall 2001 through Fall 2012) the university has data for student retention, the yearly average has only dropped below 55 percent in four years, three of them under the Watson administration. The Watson administration also recorded the only sub-50 percent retention rate since 2001 (48.4 percent in Fall 2011). The most recent retention figures show a 54.7 percent rate, comparable to Watson’s overall retention rate of 54.6 percent (compared to 57.4 percent under Daniel and 57.7 percent under Pogue). While the Watson administration’s retention performance is not dissimilar to his predecessors, the dramatic reduction in the number of incoming freshmen reduces the actual number of students returned each year. For example, in 2010, 277 freshmen returned for their second year, in 2013, 144 returned, a decrease of 48 percent. None of these numbers augur well for the future health of the university under a Watson presidency.

These figures further demonstrate a fundamental truth of the Watson administration at Chicago State. Students do not come here and they do not stay here. All indications point to another dramatic decrease in our enrollment this fall. This is a fact that neither Watson’s fawning sycophancy toward the board nor his outright lies to that body can obscure.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wayne Watson Lies to the Board of Trustees

Wayne Watson is a proven liar. Just read the McCarthy opinion. Look at the minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings, or better yet, listen to the recordings as much of the commentary never makes it into the minutes. In the May 9, 2014, board meeting, Watson told an outrageous falsehood. It beautifully reflects his contempt for the truth, his contempt for the board, and his contempt for the intelligence of the students, staff, faculty and administrators at Chicago State. Do yourself a favor and check the recording. Watson's comment begins at 56:39 of the first segment. It's available here: http://www.csu.edu/boardoftrustee/meetingrecordings/audio/FBMpartone05092014.mp3:

“Let us not lose sight of the fact that, this is another area that we have raised standards, in terms of admission standards, we’re not admitting students today that we admitted four years ago, five years ago, and that can have an effect upon the number of students that you get in, but as you see our goal is to increase the number of students that we bring in, but also increase our standards . . . so, standards are changing at our university, as I think you heard Dr. Henderson, the Provost, make reference to the fact that we meet every Tuesday and Thursday with faculty, by department, faculty are telling us, department by department, that they see a difference in the quality of students that they have in their classes, they see a difference, I mean there’s not one department we go to, where faculty do not just volunteer that statement. That there definitely a difference in the quality of students that we have.”

So fellow faculty members. Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson meet with you every Tuesday and Thursday. You have also praised him for the increased standards he has applied to Chicago State's students. Can anyone out there verify that any of this has taken place? I can say with certainty that the one and only meeting these two had with our department occurred in January and there was certainly no one extolling the virtues of his "increased standards." Honestly, this man truly has no shame. He continues to spread bullshit around so thickly that we're up to our knees in it.

A Note to our Deans, Chairs, and "Silent" Faculty: The Enrollment Numbers for the Fall Look Dismal, Wayne Watson Scams the Rubes.

As we begin another semester, many of you have doubtless noticed the ease in finding a parking space in the various university lots. Could this mean our enrollment is down again? If we go back to the May 9, 2014, Board of Trustees meeting, we find that the enrollment report puts a positive spin on the school’s future enrollment level. Often, the kingdom of Enrollment Management sends out a sacrificial lamb to the board meetings since the top administrators seem too busy to attend. This time, Latrice Eggleston of IER delivered the happy news. Of course, the credulous (to be charitable) board members accepted the report with nary a substantive question.

The highlights of the report:

Of course, Wayne Watson took the opportunity to blow his own horn:

Given this good news, we can expect enrollment for Fall 2014 to reach around 5900 (5872 would be a 3 percent increase), a nice turnaround from the dreadful decline we have seen every year since Fall 2010. However, any claims by the administration that they’re turning the enrollment catastrophe around must be viewed with skepticism. In fact, the Watson administration’s enrollment projections are completely wrong. But Watson’s big con covers up his failings (again) in that area and gives that ridiculous board the cover it needs to look the other way while it continually issues mindless statements of support—ignoring mountains of evidence detailing Watson’s colossal failure. These are the current enrollment facts:

As of Wednesday, September 3, 2014, Chicago State’s enrollment totaled 5011, a decrease of 499 students from September 3, 2013, and a decrease of 690 students from the final total of 5701 students in Fall 2013. These figures translate into a drop of 9.1 percent from the previous year and a drop of 12.1 percent from the final Fall enrollment totals. Registration for the regular session is over and the special session begins September 15. Using last year’s statistics, the enrollment change from September 3, 2013 to September 27, 2013 (the official ten-day count) was an increase of 191 students. A similar increase this year will bring the final Fall enrollment to 5202. Unless the university embarks on a concerted campaign to register students in local graveyards, it seems unlikely that the enrollment will move that much, although it is possible. Most alarming, enrollments are down in every category: undergraduate, down 10%, graduate, down 7%, certificate, down 37%, pharmacy, down 3%, doctoral, down 16%. Given these dismal numbers, I expect that our enrollment will decrease between 8 and 9 percent this fall.

If our enrollment decreases to 5200, that represents a loss of 2162 students since Fall 2010, or 29.4 percent. Frankly, anyone familiar with Wayne Watson’s performance as City Colleges Chancellor then Chicago State President would expect nothing less. In the last 8 years of “leadership” at City Colleges, the system saw its enrollment decline every year but one; Watson’s final year when the system increased by 83 students. At Chicago State in 2009-10, the enrollment increased from 7235 to 7362 in Fall 2010, an increase of 127 students. Overall, during Watson’s tenure at City Colleges, the system shed 27,356 students. Added to the estimated 2162 who have fled Chicago State during Watson’s tenure, he is responsible for an aggregate drop of 29,518 students at two different institutions. The fact that any board allows this man to continue to wreak havoc on higher education is a testimony to the unfitness of the members of those boards. How many times can you listen to the same nonsense before you realize something must be done? Apparently indefinitely. Of course, you tenured faculty who think you can hole up in your offices while this passes can choose to believe the administration. After all, maybe the school will gain nearly 900 additional students in the next week.

Writing an extremely uncomplimentary article in the Chicago Daily Observer on March 13, 2013, Daniel J. Kelly observed:

Perhaps someone in a position to do something about the continued dishonest farce playing out at Chicago State should take note. Perhaps the members of the Chicago State "family" who have done so much to further the interests of this disgraceful administration should also take note.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wayne Watson in Court, Ronnie Watson at the OK Corral: Photos Acquired Surreptitiously

Here at the Crony State Faculty Voice blog we try our best to keep our readers current with important events on and off campus. As some of you are aware, over in the Cook building, our management "team" works really hard to insure a quality education for our students and to make sure the Chicago State "family" is familiar with the Chicago State brand. Just look at the website to see what is important to Watson's hand-picked administrators. Always remember: he got us accreditation! We would have been lost without him. Here's a candid photo that I believe depicts our hard-working administrators planning enrollment strategy for the school (or it may be from the cut session, I'm not completely sure):

I've got some other exclusive photos for you. As you know, Wayne Watson recently got his butt kicked in court again, this time by the trial judge in the Crowley v. Watson case. I've managed to get some photos of the trial. Here is a shot of Wayne Watson just after he finished testifying (or was it testilying?):

You'll recall that the judge called his testimony "absurd," which seems somewhat charitable. Here are some first-year law students discussing Watson's testimony after his bufoonish appearance on the stand:

When the day of the McCarthy opinion began, hopes were high. Here, Watson, Cage and the Smith Amundsen counsel discuss their chances. Even though the decision could go either way, they feel good about the case and themselves:

Unfortunately, Watson's (and Cage's) testimony was insufficient to move either jury or judge to see things his way. Here's a candid shot of Watson, Cage and one of the Smith Amundsen attorneys reacting to the McCarthy opinion:

Finally, here's a shot of our intrepid Chief of Police following his shooting spree at the recent concert. Instead of giving him an entire magazine to empty into dogs and people, he's been restricted to what you see in the photograph.

If anyone has any other candid photos they'd like to share, send them along.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Confessions of a Communist; Or, Wayne Watson is the Real Racist

I confess (a relic of my Mexican Catholic upbringing).  I am a Communist.  As far as I know, I am the only openly communist faculty member at Chicago State U.  To be specific, I am an anarcho-communist.  This means that I believe in a world based on the politics of true democracy (one person, one vote) whereby each person has a say in the day-to-day decisions that affect them and the economic principle of ‘from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need.’  While there are many more details about how such a society could come about and be managed, these two principles are at the core of what I know ‘Communism’ to be.  For more information on anarcho-communism read the works of Peter Kropotkin or the useful two-volume book, The Anarchist AFAQ.

I confess also that I am a Mexican of indigenous descent whose father understood himself to be 'White' of Irish descent.  I learned lessons about racism from the time I was able to comprehend the stories my mother told me and the experiences of being 'Mexican' around 'White' relatives and strangers and being 'White' around 'Mexican' relatives and strangers.  I ‘learned’ that 'White' men were the racist oppressor; which always puzzled me since my father was 'White.'  Only later did I learn that 'Mexicans' could oppress 'Mexicans.'  I learned about assimilation as well.  I learned how to worship a god of a colonizing people and thus, I was Catholic.  I learned only much later about the nature of indigenous spirituality and its connection to place and the land.  In the simple Christian god-fearing/atheist binary, I would be considered an atheist. But, that simplicity does not do justice to the myriad world religions and spiritual systems including the one to which I adhere.

I confess also to being a faculty member; something Wayne Watson knows very little about.   Like my faculty colleagues, I am someone who has dedicated my life to the student-teacher relationship and who believes in the seriousness of the vocation of higher education.

I confess.  I am a light-skinned, Mexican anarcho-communist faculty member with a place-based animist spirituality.  These aspects of my identity are central to why I have been an anti-racist, pro-working class activist since I was a child and why I have fought for a better society based on anarcho-communist principles for most of my adult life.  They are why my research has been on Black-Mexican relations, hip hop culture and, currently, food justice in Chicago.  My political, cultural and vocational identities are why I spend my summers and most of the rest of the year working to build a just, local food economy on the Southside of Chicago and help hundreds in communities suffering from food apartheid learn to take control of our health and welfare through producing our own food.  It is also because of who I am that I continue to teach at Chicago State and fight for a better university for all who work and study here.

Importantly, my skin color, ethnicity, spirituality and political beliefs have nothing to do with Wayne Watson’s criminal failure as President of Chicago State University nor his racist vindictiveness.

So, why is this confession necessary?  Because the only argument that Wayne Watson and his regime are able to mount against those of us who criticize them is that the resistance is made up of white, communist, atheist professors (read racists) who pick on students and Black women.  Instead of dealing with the substance of the argument, Watson and his apologists and backers engage in racist “us vs. them” labeling. This allows FOWs (Friends of Wayne) and those who quietly acquiesce to the desires of Wayne to go along with the regime’s crimes and mismanagement while keeping their jobs.  It justifies their hiding in the corner and turning the other way or, as one administrator did recently, stay secure in her ignorance by remaining in a room so as not to witness Watson’s crimes; see the Miller case described below.  It is also a convenient excuse not to go against power and be able to continue to claim that they are somehow still ‘for the people’ or 'pro-Black.'

Meanwhile, this race loyalty apparently only extends to the wealthy and sharply-dressed among us.  Many run to support Wayne as a great Black educational leader while doing nothing when Black students’ education suffers due to crony hiring or when Black students are arrested and beaten or when Black staff and faculty lose their jobs.  Watson’s crimes, mismanagement, ethical violations and repressive actions have been chronicled on this blog with the result that the blog became a target of censorship.  Those who speak up against or refuse to serve the regime are met with repression and retaliation. See the court cases of Crowley, Meeks, Preston, Bailey, Miller, Bionaz and Beverly for examples.  [NB: The majority of these plaintiffs identify as Black].

Wayne Watson is the real racist.  He does the hiring and the firing.  He is the responsible party.   The repression, violence and abuse of State power at CSU would not occur if our student body was not primarily Black.  In any other situation where a Black population is being discriminated against we call it racism.  When an institution shows that a valued resource is systematically denied a particular group based on their race, we recognize this as institutional racism.  State agencies have been used to violently repress Black people and other subordinated ethnic groups since the beginning of the colonization of the Americas. Today, a video of the police beating of a Black man is evidence of ongoing racism in our country; not to mention the all too common killings of Black men by cops including the recent chokehold death of Eric Garner.  You can see the video here: http://time.com/3016326/eric-garner-video-police-chokehold-death.  In addition, there is a long history of using the State and its police to limit Black access to resources such as education, health and life. We normally refer to these State abuses as racism.  Regulations, laws and traditions that limit Black access to universities such as Hopwood v University of Texas (1996), alumni preferences, and the like are correctly labeled racist.  But, in the Orwellian world that is CSU those labelled racist are the ones who have pointed out and fought against Watson, et.al.'s abuses against thousands of Black people on this campus.

What do we call violence against students at CSU?  A recent video on youtube shows police violence against graduating student, Jokari Miller, at the May 2014 CSU Board of Trustees meeting while President Watson, administrators and Board of Trustees members look on.  The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEXfi818rIM What this video does not show but more than a dozen witnesses saw was the use of the same type of chokehold that killed Eric Garner.  This time the criminal choker was Chicago State University police’man’, Mike Jones.  If these were White cops at a White institution beating a Black man, we would easily describe this as racist and call for the firing of the President and replacement of the Board of Trustees.  But, these were Black cops beating a Black man while a Black university president and Black Board Chairman of a predominantly Black institution stood watching.  So, what do you call it?  I call it racism.