...Well, I looked at my watch
I looked at my wrist
Punched myself in the face
With my fist
I took my potatoes
Down to be mashed
Then I made it over to
That million dollar bash
Ooh, baby, ooh-ee
Ooh, baby, ooh-ee
It's that million dollar bash...
Ah yes, another go-around on the CSU Merry-go-round and where it stops, nobody knows...
At any rate, after a week of thinking about it, the CSU Board of Trustees decided to play it cautiously once again, as one commentator said, a Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement policy. I was thinking of my fifth-grade nun, Sister Mary Reginette, telling us that a dilemma is like a mule tied evenly between two feeding troughs who dies from starvation because he can't decide which one to eat.
So just what happened here? The Board voted NO to Dr Watson's sabbatical (uh-oh, shoulda taken that deal last week--$250,000 for a year off of "research" although Dr Watson seemed ultimately to need a family leave, but why quibble at these distinctions now). So that deal is off. The Board also said it found enough evidence to pursue an investigation into various allegations about Dr Watson's actions (was this in hiring? I can't remember) and they were giving him and his attorney some time to respond to these allegations--June? Unfortunately, this is going to drag out through April, May and into June. No resolution about this until the end of June of this year. The board also voted to delay election of new board chairperson. The next board meeting is in May.
So just what happened here? What does this all mean? Not sure yet exactly. The church and community leaders and I guess Emil Jones seemed to take it as a vindication of Dr. Watson with all the righteous Jesus language and promises to be more involved in CSU. These same folk said more or less the same thing when Leon Finney brought them up to advocate on Emil's choice in 2009 at the Trustee meeting back then. They come, they go, they really are disconnected from the place. I am not their audience why should I listen to them?
So just what happened here? There was no vote to retain or dismiss Dr Watson as president. He is still in the president's office. No police force is hustling him off campus. But there is a big matzo ball hanging out there. Is he a lame duck? Death by a thousand paper cuts? What does the Trustees' investigation have on him? If he and his lawyer can't explain himself then will we be going through all this in June? Does the board plan on firing if he can't explain this item? Since there is no money on the table any longer can we hope for him to just resign and leave peacefully? (I know, I know LOL).
Matzo Ball #2. How is governance on this campus going to take place? Relations between the President and the Board, the President and the faculty, are now so abysmally low with many sides distrustful. Can these relations heal? Does anyone even want to try? Not a lot of love lost across campus constituencies.
Public Comment after the Board's announcement of all the above. I stopped listening to it after the third or fourth minister got up and started talking Jesus to us and fire and brimstone about putting Wayne Watson on trial as if we all weren't sinners. Oy veh. I wasn't their intended audience anyway so why bother listening. What do these church people really know about CSU? And puh-leeze, Victor Henderson, VP Angela Henderson's husband, Dr Watson's "personal" attorney, spouting scripture in his public comments? This after a week of slimey tactics maligning two board members, the provost and the president of the faculty senate and a most aggressive campaign to portray his client as, well, a modern-day Jesus Christ. What is the definition of blasphemy these days? Hypocrisy seemed to rule. Self-described "taxpayer" Hermene Hartman, publicist for the southside politicians, bitterly claimed her right to 20 or 30 minutes of fame at the microphone (or that's what it felt like anyway) when told her two minutes were up exclaiming on something or other about Dr Watson. Alderman someone or other was there, but no Jesse Jackson, some rep. I was really hoping to hear that guy. I left when godfather Emil Jones got up to bloviate about the challenge to his power over his personal fiefdom we call CSU. As a faculty member, I wasn't his audience anyway.
The highpoint of this long afternoon as it often has been was our students. They are tuned in and turned on to us and most spoke more eloquently than all the bluster coming out of the southside minsters' mouths. This was where the sincerity was all day, their hearts were in it. I only wish it hadn't had to end in tears for a couple of them. At any rate, we'll see them and ourselves through the next few months of limbo.