Friday, October 24, 2014

Want to Know How Much Money Our Board Members and President Contribute to Chicago State? Here's the Answer

The simplest response to the question just posed by my distinguished colleague is that Wayne Watson simply cannot raise money for Chicago State. A look at the overall fundraising since 2008 dramatically underscores that point. Between 2008 and 2011, the university received a modest $1 million a year in contributions, with a high of $1.37 million in 2011, the year Julian Scheinbuks contributed $1 million to the Chicago State Foundation. Subsequent years have seen a steady decline, to $933,000 in 2012, $725,000 in 2013 and $508,900 in 2014. The 2012 figure includes $533,000 from Walgreen’s to the College of Pharmacy, the 2013 amount includes a one-time $200,000 contribution from the liquidation of the Emil Jones, Jr., Youth Foundation, and the 2014 total includes almost $200,000 in corporate donations to the College of Pharmacy. Along with the $1 million 2011 contribution, these one-time contributions for which Wayne Watson likely did little or nothing (except for the Emil Jones contribution, that cost the City Colleges more than $75 million in no-bid contracts for Jones’ nephew and son-in-law) account for $1,733,000 or nearly 50 percent of the 3.5 million in contributions to the CSU Foundation since 2011. That means that in those 4 years, other contributions have totaled around $450,000 per year.

Recently, I noticed on the Chicago State Foundation’s web page a series of files titled “Honor Role of Donors” for fiscal years 2008 through 2014.

The website is here:

This material details all the contributions by corporations and individuals from 2008 through 2014. It paints a disturbing picture of the fund-raising abilities of Wayne Watson and highlights another demonstrable failure in his administration of this university. Here are some of the key findings, based on a cursory examination of the voluminous data:

1) Wayne Watson’s administration has not moved the school’s faculty to contribute. A look at the 2014 information reveals that fewer than twenty faculty members gave any money to the foundation. As one of the majority of faculty who gave nothing to the school, I can say without hesitation that my reticence to contribute is primarily related to the continued mismanagement and corruption demonstrated by the Watson administration.

2) It appears that somewhere between 30 and 40 administrators contribute, another fairly small percentage of the total number of administrative personnel.

So, the response from the staff and faculty here at the school can hardly even be described as tepid.

Perhaps the most disturbing information contained in these files is the almost complete lack of financial support for the school from Wayne Watson and the members of Chicago State’s Board of Trustees. As you know, these people are currently very busy trying to micro-manage the affairs of the Chicago State Faculty Senate. Perhaps they should concern themselves with the affairs of the university rather than worrying about a faculty governance institution about which they clearly have little or no understanding.

One of the key parts of a university president’s job is fund-raising. Typically, members of university boards of trustees are expected to be high-level donors to the schools they govern. Let’s see how much money our “leaders” have committed to this school since 2008.

Between 2008 and 2014, sixteen different persons have occupied positions on the Chicago State Board of Trustees (not including the student trustee). In seven years, those sixteen persons have contributed a total of $15,295 to the CSU Foundation. Here is the breakdown by individual board member in descending order of largest to smallest contributor:

1) Richard Tolliver (2008-11): $4150
2) Peggy Montes (2008-09): $3815
3) Gary Rozier (2009-13): $2035
4) “Z” Scott (2009-13): $1600
5) Nikki Zollar (2013-): $1150
6) Spencer Leak (2013-): $525
7) Horace Smith (2013-): $520
8) Leon Finney (2008-11): $500
9) Adam Stanley (2011-12): $500
10) Julie Samuels (2009-11): $150
11) Anthony Young (2011-): $150
12) Lisa Butler (2009-13): $100
13) James Joyce (2011-): $100
14) James Reynolds (2008-09): $0
15) Betsy Hill (2008-11): $0
16) Michael Curtin (2011-): $0

As I said above, the total contributions from these sixteen come to $15,295. In contrast, Sandra Westbrooks, Provost from 2008-13 contributed $17,740, or $2500 more than these sixteen Trustees. The six members of the current board, all of whom have expressed their unwavering support for Wayne Watson’s bullshit “vision,” have contributed a grand total of $2445 since 2011, with the Board Chairman, Anthony Young, contributing the generous total of $150 in three years. This is how the Board supports the university that their favorite son is currently in the process of destroying.

Now we come to the great man himself. I understand that when she served as president, Elnora Daniel believed in contributing to the CSU Foundation. I have been told by several more senior faculty members that she saw herself as the leader among contributors as well as for the university. Now, I am hardly pining for the days of Elnora Daniel, but it is notable that in fiscal 2008, when she had been removed as president and was on sabbatical, she contributed $1,000 to the Foundation. Since 2009, Wayne Watson has contributed a total of $3400 to the CSU Foundation, bringing the grand total of contributions from the university president and its board to the princely sum of $18,695 in six years. Watson’s contributions average out to $680 per fiscal year for someone who was making at least $400,000 per year in salary and pension until his overall income was recently reduced. However, that paltry sum is far more generous than the $159.32 per year each board member has averaged since 2008.

Obviously, money is not the only way to demonstrate commitment to Chicago State but for those persons charged with raising funds for the school and for those persons whose service on a university board of trustees should obligate them to financially support the university, their penuriousness makes a statement. Especially for the board members, who do not work here and who consistently demonstrate the grossest ignorance of events at the school, their unwillingness to contribute demonstrates how little they believe in the school they are charged with governing. They most likely would not send their children here and they sure as hell are not giving us any money. These people have done grave damage done to the school by enabling Watson's disastrous leadership. Why are they on the board, exactly?

A question

So I was advising a couple of students recently who were concerned about how many courses they had left to finish their degrees because they have to pay out of pocket. That had me thinking about how much money the university raises to assist our students directly. Does anybody have any ideas about the university's fund raising?

A Confession: How Phil Beverly and I Rule Chicago State

Apparently someone on the Chicago State Board of Trustees refers to Phil Beverly and me as “troublemakers,” implying that most of the problems at Chicago State are our responsibility. Since we’ve obviously been unmasked by that eagle-eyed guardian of Chicago State’s welfare, I suppose it is time to admit what the Chicago State Board already knows: Phil and I (particularly Phil) run Chicago State and have for years. What follows is our confession.

As you have undoubtedly observed, there is a misalignment of power here at Chicago State. Phil and I hold all the governing power, with the administration functioning solely at our command. The proof of that is everywhere, particularly in the various depredations suffered by our poor administrators—those unfortunate blameless victims. Here is what Phil and I have done over the years to create this untenable situation:

When we took over the school in 2009, we were determined to drive it into the ground. To that end, we thought it necessary to hire people who would assist us in that effort. We did not have to look far for likely candidates. Right here in Chicago we found all the ineptitude we needed. First, for our figurehead president, we selected Wayne Watson from the City Colleges. This career political hack and administrative mediocrity (at best) perfectly blended zero academic achievement with a divisive, vindictive and paranoid management style. He would be perfect!

Installing Watson as our figurehead was easy, we just got his pal Leon Finney to ramrod his appointment through the Board while our colleagues who were not in on the fix wailed at the unfairness of the whole process. We got a good laugh out of that one, imagine those fools thinking they had any input into the process for selecting a president. After all, we had jobs and contracts for our pals at stake. We needed a local empty suit to provide cover for our schemes.

Next, we proceeded to hire some top-level administrators who had little or no experience in four-year universities, or in any academic setting for that matter. Always working through our stooge Wayne Watson, we orchestrated the hiring of a new chief legal mind, a new Human Resources Director, a new police chief, two from the City Colleges, all with no experience in four-year schools. As a reward for a good beginning, we let Watson hire his girlfriend into a shiny new senior administrative position we created just for her. We also made sure she falsified her degree credentials and work experience so she looked like a viable candidate when, in fact, she possessed no qualifications for such a lofty position. Her performance in a variety of administrative positions has long since validated our assessment of her worth. More on her later.

Getting a good start in the administrative ranks was only one strategy we employed. In 2010, we gave Watson his head and allowed him to arbitrarily decide that the “standards” at Chicago State needed raising. As a result, Watson mandated two curriculum and degree changes without going through the appropriate curriculum process. Even though he had no data suggesting the necessity of such changes, his intuition told him that both changes would be useful.

Also in 2010, we determined that Watson needed to fire one of the university’s legal counsels, James (Jim) Crowley. We knew that Jim was causing a lot of trouble with his insistence that Watson release records under the Freedom of Information Act. Full disclosure of this information might threaten Watson’s pension and jeopardize the contracts we were already starting to award to our cronies. Although Watson agreed with Crowley that the university should release the relevant records, we forced him to take a hard line, threaten Crowley, fire him and ultimately try to destroy him through spurious ethical complaints. We were not going to allow this guy to jeopardize what we were building—we squashed him like a bug.

Also in 2010, we moved Watson’s girlfriend into another, higher-paying administrative job in which she could do even more damage, this one in Enrollment Management. We gave her a nice raise after only a few months at Chicago State and watched in admiration as she set about her task. Of course, we created this position just for her and eliminated her previous position; after all, it was no longer necessary. Finally, in our crowning achievement, we forced Watson to fire Chicago State’s most visible employee, the iconic Haki Madhubuti. Madhubuti had been critical of Watson’s selection and his academic credentials and body of work made our president’s meager (read nonexistent) scholarly credentials pale in comparison. We simply could not have that guy shooting off his big mouth and embarrassing Watson. He had to go.

Unfortunately, our strategy for destroying the school had not borne fruit. Our enrollment actually increased in Fall 2010, to 7362. We needed to make some additional moves to insure that we would begin to shed students. In 2011, just to stir up chaos, we made Watson reorganize the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education. Ultimately this spurred the Faculty Senate to take steps to protect faculty governance on campus, a result we were able to use against that body later.

Our key move in 2011 was the hiring of Angela Henderson as the Vice President of Enrollment Management. First, we rigged a search and wrote a job description so tepid that almost anyone with a modicum of administrative experience anywhere would qualify for the position. Unfortunately, Henderson’s qualifications still did not fit, she had no experience in enrollment management and only a limited amount of the kind of upper management experience expected of a person at this level of responsibility in a university. She also had degrees in business and nursing, with the Master’s degree being her highest achievement. We encouraged her to falsify her application by claiming she would receive a Ph.D. (in nursing) in June 2011, even though she had apparently not even begun research on her project. Since we had concerns that members of the search committee might figure our that we were trying to foist another crony hire on the university, we opened the position for only a short time, generating an inadequate list of candidates. In this group, Henderson looked like the best of a bad lot so her application got through and we were ultimately able to force Watson—who to his credit kept insisting that she was not qualified for the job—to hire her even though he argued that she should not be hired because of their long-standing personal relationship and the fact that her husband was Watson’s personal attorney. Despite Watson’s objections, by July 1, 2011, we were able to hire Henderson.

Soon after bringing Henderson into the Chicago State “family” (for a model, see the Corleones), we had to manage a financial aid scandal. Of course financial aid fell under Enrollment Management, which, until Henderson’s hiring, was run by our old friend Cheri Sidney. This public embarrassment to the university gave us scant pause, however, we just told Watson (who wanted to take full responsibility for the fiasco since it happened nearly two years into his watch) to deny any responsibility and blame the problems on previous administrations. Reluctantly, he did so. When we hired Henderson, we again forced Watson to promote Sidney, this time to a Vice President’s position, which she still holds. When the Fall 2011 enrollment figures came out, we were relieved to see that we had lost 480 students, to 6882. It looked like our strategy was working. Now that we had the major pieces of our destructive “team” in place, we turned to other items, one perceptually important.

At the beginning of 2012, Phil (as Chicago State’s Svengali) and me (as his chief road dog and sidekick) had to make sure people didn’t connect us with all the negative things going on at Chicago State. Some administrators had already noticed Phil’s hold over people and how he managed to attract almost mindless followers. The answer: we would have to be critical of the Watson administration. However, because we knew how attentive people on the Board of Trustees and in Springfield were to the goings-on at Chicago State, we would have to do something to guarantee that our criticisms were blunted.

As a result, we decided on a strategy of infringement of free expression. We had to squash dissent lest it thwart our plans. In quick succession, we forced an unwilling administration to create and disseminate two ridiculous policies: the computer usage and communications policies of 2012. Although both were masterpieces, succinct and elegantly written, they encountered stiff resistance from the faculty. In addition, the communications policy generated national ridicule for its obvious attempt to silence criticism. Secure in our knowledge that we had averted the crisis, we turned to other matters, although it would be necessary to occasionally refresh our dissenting credentials.

In Fall 2012, the enrollment took another plunge, to 6107. Although Wayne Watson frantically urged us to change course before Chicago State suffered further damage, we ordered him to stay the course and continue with the destruction of the school. We also insisted that he interfere in the DAC drafting process across the university, again in the guise of “raising standards.” Regretably, in November, we ramrodded a vote of no-confidence through the Senate which barely passed by a 28-2 margin.

And, of course, we manipulated Watson into taking the heat for what ultimately became our nefarious pride and joy, the rigged Criminal Justice search of 2012—the hiring of two unqualified candidates into full-time tenure-track positions—which took place with virtually no faculty involvement in contravention of university policy.

In March of 2013, that horrible Board of Trustees attempted to victimize Wayne Watson by removing him as president. We could not allow that bunch of crusading morons to ruin what we had carefully built. Thus, we had to mobilize the “community” to support our figurehead and we also had to put pressure on the Illinois Governor not to re-appoint those troublesome naysayers on the Board. Thankfully it all worked out and Watson emerged from the crisis seemingly stronger than ever. The effort to destroy Chicago State could proceed as planned. The governor ultimately appointed a Board that would rubber-stamp anything Watson (and we) wanted.

In July 2013, we forced Watson—again contrary to his wishes as he pointed out how ludicrous the appointment of a Provost without even entry-level qualifications would look—to make Angela Henderson the Interim Provost. We were gratified to see the Enrollment plunge again for Fall 2013, this time to 5701, a testimonial to the performance of the two top persons in that unit—Angela Henderson and Cheri Sidney.

As the 2013-14 school year began, it became apparent that we would have to do something about that pesky Faculty Senate. There were several troublesome individuals in that body who obviously opposed the Watson regime and the direction in which it was taking the school. In order to avoid suspicion, we had to go along with their complaints. The only solution: get rid of the Senate. We started out innocuously enough with informal conversations between the executive committee and university officials. At the end of October, we told Henderson to send a memorandum threatening the Senate with irrelavence if it did not adhere to its 2011 constitution. However, in January 2014, things went horribly wrong, which forced us to escalate our attack on the Senate.

When Henderson came to work for Chicago State, it was our intention to eventually make her provost, then even possibly president (once Watson had reached the end of his usefulness). Needless to say, having someone with an M.B.A. or M.S. in Nursing would simply not do, she needed a Ph.D. Fortunately, she was languishing in a Ph.D. program at UIC. We determined that all she needed to complete the degree was a dissertation, which Phil and I wrote for her. Unfortunately, we were not particularly conversant with academic standards in nursing so we missed a few quotation marks and references here and there. This created no problem during the process at UIC since we had created a completely ridiculous committee including Watson and the other primary researcher in Henderson’s project. However, some anonymous person discovered the obvious plagiarism and reported it to UIC, while claiming to be one of us.

While this was an embarrassment, we were not worried about the consequences since we had ordered Watson to take no action (he wanted to fire Henderson because of the obvious discredit her plagiarism brought to the university) and we knew that the Board would stand up for cheating and academic fraud by one of the school’s top administrators. Nonetheless, because we believed the source of the plagiarism report to be a member of the Faculty Senate, we redoubled our efforts to destroy that body. By early 2014, we had forced the Senate into holding an election that we planned to discredit immediately. As it stands today, the Senate is not recognized as the Board stepped up and did our bidding. Hopefully, we have heard the last of that bunch of malcontents.

In February 2014, we achieved the pinnacle of success with the jury verdict in favor of James Crowley. While the original decision cost the school over $3 million, the total is quickly approaching $4 million. During the proceedings, we ordered both Watson and Patrick Cage to be dishonest under oath and Watson took the blame for our vindictive and retaliatory firing of Crowley in 2010. Of course, even though the case is a loser, we will not permit acknowledgement of that fact, we are continuing to force the university to throw good money after bad in a purported appeal attempt. Even though we were unable to destroy Crowley’s life, the final, albeit unintended, result exceeded our wildest dreams.

As another school year starts, we look back with pride at our efforts to destroy this school. Enrollment has dropped to 5211 with no signs that the decrease will be stopped. The administration is riven by our cronies and we are still forcing Watson to do our bidding in terms of interference in places he simply does not belong. We have used our considerable political and media influence to plant unflattering stories about Chicago State in local and national outlets, further discrediting the school and damaging its reputation. Most assuredly, we will continue to use our powerful positions to take the school down the road to perdition. That is our confession.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Inexplicable Reorganizations, This Time at the Top

As always, Chicago State’s Internal Operating Budget offers interesting insights into the operation of our university. While the fiscal information is, as usual, enlightening, I want to focus on the various reorganizations that have taken place since last fiscal year. Two things immediately stand out: 1) The administration has apparently acknowledged the various Enrollment Management failures by removing a number of functions from the control of that kingdom. 2) Not surprisingly, the President has increased the size and scope of his office’s operations. Here are the details:

In my September 26, 2014, post, I noted that Angela Henderson said at the September 19 Board meeting that “Retention is not Enrollment Management.” Since the 2011 establishment of the budget sub-unit of “Improve Retention and Graduation Rates (Org. Code 434 in your budget book), that office has resided in Enrollment Management. Suddenly in 2015, it appears under Academic Affairs. Possibly cognizant of this fact, Henderson went on to blame the Faculty, Chairs and Deans for Chicago State’s never-ending enrollment decline. As she told the Board: “We have metrics and we have goals, and some programs met their goals, and some programs did not.” So, beginning in July 2014, the administration will be able to pass the blame for enrollment losses on to the academic side of the university. After all, we are the people who are unable to (or unwilling to) recognize the honor Wayne Watson has bestowed upon us by “raising standards.” Additionally, the administration has removed the Offices of Academic Support and Graduate Admissions from the Enrollment Management unit and placed them into the university’s Academic Affairs component. So Enrollment Management now washes its hands of the graduate programs, academic support, and most important, student retention—at least in terms of culpability for the additional enrollment declines sure to come.

In one of the highlights of the the September 19 meeting, Watson, as usual, blew smoke up the Board’s collective behinds. Here’s what he said in his president’s report about the enrollment decline (Watson’s comments begin at the 9 minute mark of the first recorded segment):

Since we are at the start of the academic year, I’d like to take a moment to address enrollment. Institutions across the country are experiencing a deline in enrollment, including CSU, however, CSU has set enrollment goals and implemented strategies to increase its enrollment. We will have a more in-depth report later. What you’re going to hear is that we exceeded our new Freshman goals, ah, but you’re also going to hear that there’s certain areas, HSI and male goals that we have achieved, but overall, we have had a decline in enrollment, and that is a reality, and we are disaggregating it, studying it, and try to make sure that we understand what is happening. Um, we’re coming up with strategies, ah, we, ah, we’re working with our faculty, our staff . . .” What does any of that mean except that this man has no idea what to do? Even more important, he is incapable of acknowledging that the major problems currently plaguing Chicago State reside side-by-side in offices 313 and 314 in the Cook Building.

Nonetheless, Watson and the president’s office have reorganized a number of other components out of Enrollment Management. The Latino and African American Male Resource Centers are now under the presidential umbrella, along with the Counseling Center and the Abilities Office. Finally, the president’s office has assumed control of the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Student Affairs. While the first four moves seem somewhat baffling, the last two make perfect sense given the administration’s propensity to meddle in student affairs and rig their elections. Wayne Watson also now has is own personal spokesperson. Tom Wogan no longer works in Marketing, he works directly for the president.

The majority of these organizational changes defy logic, something hardly new to the Watson administration. In addition, they are consistent with previous arbitrary administrative practices and possess the character of moves made out of desperation, or downright panic. As perhaps even some members of Watson’s inner circle are beginning to realize, the great man is simply not up to the task of being a university president, frankly he never was. We have a president who is drowning—although neither our Board or any Illinois power brokers seem to want to acknowledg his situation—our challenge is to avoid being pulled under the water with him.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It is Past Time to FOIA the Administration's Case Against the Faculty Senate

Because I am sure the administration's attack on the Faculty Senate results from a thorough investigation of the alleged improprieties in the Senate's election of February 10-18, 2014, I am today filing this FOIA request. Clearly a step as consequential as withdrawal of recognition from the Faculty Senate must be supported by documentary evidence of wrongdoing. Since the administration has not yet shared any of that evidence with the Senate, it seems appropriate to find out what they have. Since the Senate's Executive Committee demonstrated its commitment to a resolution of this current difficulty, I think it is time for the administration to demonstrate its commitment to the same outcome. I feel confident that when we know exactly what the administration's allegations entail, we will be able to address their concerns. The only goal of the Executive Committee is a resumption of normal faculty governance processes. This is my humble contribution to that effort:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More thoughts on the Administration's Survey to Dismantle the Faculty Senate: "I will not be completing this survey without more information..."

The survey many (apparently not all) faculty have received this weekend has elicited more than a few discussions online here and among faculty and I believe it will continue at the UPI membership meeting tomorrow. 

This survey illustrates the Administration and Board of Trustees' naked desire to take over the CSU Faculty Senate and turn it into its own rubber stamp, a body that will not trouble it when the Administration tries to do things like mandate curriculum (senior/M.A. theses), institute your department's DAC, or impose faculty members in your department (Criminal Justice hirings) in trumped up searches --the only kind they know how to run. They've already neutered the SGA (invalidating their elections last year). Now the Faculty Senate is targeted with the same excuse to shut it down. Who's left then? Look out UPI. 

At any rate, our colleague, Dr Arthur Redman, offers this assessment of the administration's attempt at surveying the faculty. He is allowing me to print his comments here: 

"One of the advantages (or disadvantages, depending on your perspective) of teaching social research methods is the development of a very critical eye regarding surveys.

If one of my students submitted this in class he or she would receive a D (for effort only). Not only is it poorly developed, it has the worst type of research design possible in surveys (10 open-ended questions). Moreover, it fails completely in one key element. To wit, every survey should have a clear introduction which identifies the survey-writer/s, the intended purpose of the survey, and how its results will be used. This survey does none of those things. It merely says that it is gathering information for an "ongoing conversation," and that we should send it to our chair, who will send it to the Dean's Office, which will forward it to "the administration."

I will not be completing this survey without more information. I want to know who sent it and what they intend to do with it. I further recommend that all of us exercise great caution with this survey. I am cc'ing Dr. Jones in hopes that we can get clarification on this survey."

Thanks Art. 

Random Thoughts on the Recent Survey

The recently circulated Senate survey is the predictable outcome of the Watson administration’s utter failure at Chicago State University. This sophomoric attempt at data collection would be laughable of its implications were not so serious.

It is an ironic piece of work don’t you think? The ethically bankrupt members of this administration, those cheaters, plagiarizers, academic nonentities, liars under oath and their army of incompetents who have brought Chicago State to the brink of disaster presume to pass judgment on the probity of the faculty’s governing body.

The allegation of improprieties in the February Senate election is not supported by a single shred of evidence. Based on the complete lack of evidence, I say they are simply lies, fabricated for the sole purpose of providing cover for this most recent assault on the faculty at Chicago State. A number of persons at this school can attest to the myriad ways this administration decides on an outcome then shapes the facts to suit that preordained result. They do it in academic affairs matters, personnel investigations and disciplinary findings. They did it to the Student Government Association and now they are trying to do it to the Faculty Senate.

Now, Wayne Watson and his minions have arrogated to themselves powers that are not permissible for the administration to exercise, based on the university’s governing documents. Given their proven ability to perform disastrously, it is impossible to imagine anything worthwhile emerging from this recent fiasco. The combination of ignorance and arrogance is always dangerous and this administration possesses a seemingly unending supply of both. Conversely, the members of this administration have no capacity for shame. You would think that after their abominable performance at this school that simple decency would dictate that they resign their positions. You would think that after being exposed as liars and frauds, they would be embarrassed enough to remove themselves from the university environment. Of course, you would be incorrect, instead they prance around and play university administrator.

The daily debacle that defines the Watson administration harms us all: the considerable number of competent administrators striving to do their best under difficult circumstances—victims of arbitrary and vindictive practices and inconsistent application of policies, the faculty who teach in deplorable conditions and with ever shrinking resources, the staff who work under a constant shadow of fear, whose daily experience often includes unreliable but highly-paid supervisors failing to competently perform their jobs, and most important, our students who make prodigous sacrifices to go to school and who have a right to a degree that means something.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Administration Takes a Giant Step Toward Total Control of Chicago State's Faculty: What Will We Do About It?

Today, you should have received in your e-mail something from the administration titled "Questionnaire About Faculty Senate." This is ostensibly a survey designed partly to assess the faculty's feelings about the current controversy between the Faculty Senate and the administration. Of course, that controversy has not yet been resolved as we are awaiting the Board's response to our recent communication and the Attorney General's Office has not yet made a determination as to the validity of the administration's FOIA request.

That does not prevent our administration from moving preemptively to establish a new faculty governance structure at Chicago State, one likely to be more amenable to Watson's failed administration. There are a number of problems with this survey, not the least of which is the Chicago State Board of Trustees own Governing Policy. This policy states that the structures of campus organizations "shall be determined by the constituencies they represent." Thus, any discussion of the structure of a faculty governance body must be faculty driven. In this case, the administration is asking the faculty to give their opinion on ten different items, submit that document to their respective Department Chairs who will submit it to the College Deans who will then tally the results and submit them to the administration "for their consideration." Is there any doubt about the outcome?

Look at the first bullet point. This is "part of an ongoing conversation"? Between who and who? The administration has certainly not spoken to the Faculty Senate, except to issue ultimatums. Have they talked with anyone else? Are these people even capable of telling the truth? Then take a look at the ten questions. Most revealing, I think are numbers 2, 6 and 8. Question 1 asks whether mediation is a viable option then question 2 makes clear that the Faculty Senate will be “suspended.” Question 6 asks faculty members to weigh in on whether non-unit A faculty should be included in the Senate and whether their right to vote should be subject to yet-to-be determined “prescribed limitations.” Finally, question 8 asks faculty to decide whether each college should have equally represented, which would result in colleges with 6 percent of the faculty possessing 20 percent of the Senate seats or a college with 53 percent of the faculty also possessing 20 percent of the Senate seats. What about the Library and Counseling? Will they also be part of the equal representation scheme?

All of these possibilities raise the specter of administrative interference (again) in legitimate faculty functions. Obviously, a Senate configured with a large number of non-tenured faculty would be in a highly vulnerable position. Similarly, equal representation would allow the administration to potentially exercise a great deal of influence over that “representative” body. This reminds me of the “company unions” of the 1920s, where the company’s administrators selected the leaders and shaped the agenda of what they cynically refered to as unions.

Neither the administration nor the Board has ever responded to any of the numerous policy recommendations and resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate. Now, however, the administration is interested in the structure and activities of that body. This is nothing more than a naked attempt to take even more power (what little remains) from an apathetic and often supine faculty. While the “survey” raises a number of questions for me, I will save them for later. The most important question I have now is this: what should we as a faculty do about this? I await your response.

What’s worthy of honor on the CSU Website?

Posted at the request of our colleague Janet Halpin:

This post has been stewing in my computer for awhile. I’m submitting it now because my dear friend YS is waiting for something entertaining to appear on the blog.

Several weeks ago the CSU home page carried an announcement of the great honor bestowed on our Chief Counsel, Patrick Cage: Top General Counsel, at the August 2014 First Chair Awards Conference and Gala. Wow. I looked at the First Chair Website ( and learned that, at the banquet attended by almost 400, the breakdown of awards was as follows:

Top General Cousel (including our own P. Cage)—56
Top Assistant General Counsel—62
Top Litigation Counsel—24
Top Compliance Counsel—10
Top Real Estate Counsel—11
Top Corporate Counsel—30
Top Intellectual Property Counsel—5
Top Healthcare Counsel—7
Top Legal Department—2
Top Private Equity Counsel—1
Top Employment Counsel—11
Rising Stars—20

Firms and companies included BMO Group, Walgreen’s, The Newport Group, Sunoco, Inc., Sears Holdings Management Corporation, to name just a few. The list of companies was almost exclusively from the private sector. The total number of awards was 239. I kind of feel sorry for the remainder of the almost 400 in attendance, who did not win an award.

While not mentioned on the University webpage, I would like to bring to the University’s attention a recent award received by one of CSU’s English faculty. Dr. Christine Ohale, Professor of English at CSU, was named one of the top 15 professors in art programs in the Chicago area by The Art Career Project. I checked out the website and learned that TheArtCareerProject is a national initiative to attract students to professions in the arts. There are similar lists for San Francisco and New York: a total of 45 honorees nationally. Which institutions were represented in our region?

Discipline: Institution
Architecture: DePaul University
Graphic Design: Columbia College of Chicago
Drawing and Painting: School of the Art Institute
Music: North Park University
Journalism: Northwestern University
Art History: University of Chicago
Theater: Loyola University
Industrial Design: University of Illinois at Chicago
Radio/Television/Film: Northwestern University
English: Christine Ohale, Chicago State University
Graphics: Illinois Institute of Technology
Music: University of Chicago
Fine Arts: Roosevelt University
Art History: School of the Art Institute
Music: Harper College

For each awardee there was a thumbnail sketch of their work and value to student learning. Christine’s spoke to the intersection of her work with art, to her expertise in African literature, and to her strong rapport with students in her classes. Furthermore they stated clearly that, while she was not in an art program, they wished to make an exception in order to honor her accomplishments and sensibility.

Now, why was Mr. Cage’s award so prominently displayed on the University webpage, while Dr. Ohale’s was not? Congratulations, Christine.

Dr. Janet Halpin
Professor of Geography

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Update on the Faculty Senate Controversy

Wayne Watson does not like people who disagree with him. Wayne Watson has a documented history of retaliating against people who disagree with him, sometimes with disastrous results for the school with the misfortune of employing him (see Maria Moore v. District 508 and James Crowley v. Wayne Watson for two prominent examples). Wayne Watson and his administration are not above perverting the democratic process and rigging elections if they do not get the results they want. In May 2013, the administration voided a legitimate student election because the winning candidates were avowed Watson opponents. Now, the Watson administration has set its sights on the Chicago State Faculty Senate. They claim, with no evidence and no specific allegations of wrongdoing, that the Senate’s February 2014 election to amend its Constitution featured “irregularities” and disfranchised eligible voters. Bullshit.

The Board of Trustees does not care about Chicago State’s faculty. In fact, they do not even want to hear from them—save for those faculty in complete agreement with Wayne Watson. As a result, they believe everything Watson tells them. If he claims the Faculty Senate election needs to be investigated, they take that as gospel. After all, Wayne Watson has consistently proven himself to be infallible. Thus, the Board of Trustees declared the Senate to be invisible, no longer recognized by that august body. All because of voting “irregularities” and disfanchised eligible voters. After all, Wayne Watson told them so. More bullshit.

However, after various ultimatums from our administration and the Board, the Faculty Senate finds itself in the position of being not recognized and unwillingly participating in the farce currently playing out at Chicago State. Although the matter of the administrative demands and subsequent FOIA requests is still in the hands of the Illinois Attorney General, neither the administration nor the Board desired to wait for their decision. No worries about due process here, they just went ahead and de-recognized the primary governance body for Chicago State’s faculty.

Why? Perhaps because the Faculty Senate has been unpleasantly disposed to oppose the disastrous Watson regime. Perhaps the two no-confidence votes in Watson and his faux-Provost stung the poor man. The answer? Do away with that troublesome group and put a more amiable bunch in their place.

As previously noted on this forum, the administration seems to believe that more than 350 faculty were eligible to vote in the February election. In fact, just over 200 unit A faculty were eligible. This misunderstanding could have been resolved with a simple request from the administration. Instead, without a shred of evidence or even an allegation of wrongdoing, the administration formulated a list of six demands. Eventually, the list grew to seven, as enumerated in the FOIA request by Patrick Cage and as parroted by the memorandum from the Board of Trustees.

Since the administration is doing nothing and since the Board only seems interested in re-issuing previous ultimatums, it devolves upon the Senate to attempt to solve this brouhaha. Accordingly, this morning the Senate Executive Committee sent the following letter to the Board of Trustees. A copy of this letter also went out to unit A faculty this afternoon:

The Senate election was not a referendum on Watson's leadership but the results were overwhelmingly in favor of all nine proposed amendments. Not a single one of the amendments received more than three negative votes. The Senate Executive Committee believes that this controversy can be resolved and is willing to work toward that end. That is our only goal. We will gauge the good faith of both the administration and the Board by their response to our letter. I for one, am not particularly sanguine about the outcome.