When someone runs afoul of Watson or one of his pets, the administration finds ways to retaliate. Even something as run-of-the-mill as a philosophical disagreement can subject the person daring to express an independent interpretation to the full weight of the Watson revenge machine. The administration particularly likes to pick on the powerless. Their goal seems nothing less than the complete destruction of the person who had the audacity to disagree with Watson or one of his minions.
The Willie Preston situation offers a textbook example of the kind of retaliation against its critics that this administration practices. In 2013 and 2014, Angela Henderson and the CSU administration took several actions against this CSU student: through the Office of Student Affairs, the administration intervened in a student election to void Preston’s election as Student Trustee on the CSU Board; subsequent to the election, Angela Henderson filed a groundless complaint against Preston that resulted in a “no stalking order of protection.” This complaint stemmed from Preston’s verbal disagreement with positions expressed at a meeting on campus. Ultimately, the administration used the order of protection as a pretext to expel Preston from the university and to brand him an “American terrorist.” The CSU police arrested Preston twice on campus, once for an alleged trespass and another time for appearing at a public meeting to express his point of view. Even though Henderson was not in attendance at that meeting, other administrators summoned the police who arrested Preston for violating the order of protection—in full view of dozens of persons.
In Preston’s case, Chicago State’s abuse of power caused financial hardship: Preston had to retain attorneys to defend him against the spurious charges filed by Henderson and the administration. In addition, the nature of the charges caused Preston to suffer public defamation of his character. The administration apparently used its political connections to ensure that a judge would issue a “no-stalking” order, and Preston’s first attorney—someone acquainted with persons in the CSU administration—offered him legal advice that would benefit the CSU administration, not his client.
Despite his economic hardships and the inability to marshal the political influence wielded by the administration, Preston persevered. He found an attorney willing to contest the order of protection and on Friday, December 19, a circuit court judge in Markham voided the ridiculous “no stalking order.” During the brief hearing, the representative of the Attorney General’s office assigned to the case admitted that no grounds ever existed for the issuance of the original order. Unfortunately, the Assistant Attorney General’s rapid capitulation prevented the judge from asking questions that would expose the scope of the wrong committed against Preston. Nonetheless, the judge’s ruling represented a complete repudiation of Henderson’s complaint. Just as an aside, how much did the state spend on this bogus prosecution? I guess the staff in the Attorney General’s Office have nothing better to do.
Of course, Willie Preston’s travails are hardly over. He still must deal with the pending criminal charges and he still desires to be re-admitted to Chicago State. However, since the basis for much of the action against him is now null and void, must not those subsequent actions also be null and void? I will let the lawyers argue that. In any case, congratulations to Willie Preston for standing up to the administration’s thuggish attempt to destroy him and for exposing their perfidy and abuse of power. Interesting that whenever the CSU administration steps outside the area of its political reach how repugnant its actions seem to arbiters and observers (see James Crowley for example). The closer you get to these people, the worse they look.