Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Flesh-Eating Bacteria that is Consuming Chicago State. Administrative Necrotizing Fasciitis Threatens Our School

As he has demonstrated over his sixteen-year career as head of City Colleges of Chicago then president of Chicago State, Wayne Watson is not exactly a talented administrator. However, he is good at rewarding former employees, friends and other connected persons with lucrative jobs at nice salaries. His successful efforts to expand the administrative ranks at Chicago State have been chronicled in earlier blog posts. In this post, we will explore the mechanics of hiring your cronies and paying for their salaries with taxpayer dollars. It is as simple as a corner shell game.

The basic structure looks like this: the administration creates a new administrative position, often with no apparent reason or need. This position is sometimes advertised, sometimes filled internally, but on most occasions, there is no money specifically appropriated for the salaries of the newly-minted (or recycled) employee. No problems there, just take the money from one of the many funds scattered around the university—funds that provide the opportunity to spend literally millions of dollars with no real accountability. The new position never appears in any form submitted to the state as the university makes no request to the legislature for its creation. While the funding for the position comes from other accounts, typically in the second year, the newly created position appears in the Chicago State budget as an appropriated position. I do not know if this is legal in the state of Illinois, but it is certainly poor accounting and budgeting practice and results in a budget submitted to the Board of Trustees that does not reflect the reality of how funds are expended at the university. Let me explain.

First a disclaimer: I am not an accountant and although I have some knowledge of public budgeting, it all came from my experiences in California. Nonetheless, I will endeavor to be as accurate as possible with the caveat that some of the conclusions I am drawing might be in error. I take full responsibility for those possible mistakes and would appreciate correction and clarification where I depart from established procedures here in Illinois.

In a properly constituted public budget, appropriations are approved by the funding body (local, county, state or federal governments). The appropriations are to be used for specific purposes. For employees, each person holding a position is identified by a number, (at Chicago State called a position number), the job is classified by a specific code (there may be only one such job or there may be hundreds), the budgetary sub-unit is identified and a specific dollar amount is assigned for the incumbent’s salary. Typically, public budgets have only a minimal amount of money available for discretionary spending. This precise budgeting dramatically reduces opportunities for political mischief with public funds.

Here at Chicago State, that situation is quite different. There are eight sub-accounts that contain monies available for potential discretionary spending. These include: 1) The Provost’s Pool (appropriated for Faculty); 2, 3, 4) Pools for each College Dean (appropriated for Administrators, Faculty, Civil Service); 5,6 ) Funds for salary increases and terminal payouts (appropriated for Faculty); 7, 8) Contingency Funds (appropriated for administrative need). The total initial appropriation for all these accounts in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013 comes to $12,281,292.

While a vast amount of this money is undoubtedly committed, there is sufficient elasticity in these accounts to enable the Watson administration to generate $1,866,662 of new spending on freshly created administrative positions and raises for other administrators. This money went to the salaries of the employees occupying the 18 newly created administrative and 2 newly created faculty positions. In addition, the administration filled 4 vacant (appropriated) administrative and 1 vacant faculty positions, reclassified 4 employees from faculty to administrators and granted raises to two administrative employees. The total cost of all these administrative actions came to $3,160,114 in fiscal 2012 and 2013.

The movement of monies in and out of accounts to fund these various moves demonstrates how the Watson administration prioritizes its spending. It always has money available for another administrator, particularly one who comes with the right pedigree. A few examples will illustrate this point. These examples neither suggest that the employees played any part in the financial shell game nor do they suggest that they have any particular personal connection with Wayne Watson. They simply illustrate the way Chicago State’s administration conducts its financial business.

Watson hired Maricela Aranda, a long-time City College employee, as an Associate Vice President of Administration and Finance on August 8, 2011. Although former Vice President of Administration and Finance Glen Meeks neither desired nor needed another Associate Vice President, Watson brought Aranda on board at a salary of $114,996. Of course, no line existed for such a position which meant that no funding existed either. In order to pay her salary, the university transferred $39,000 appropriated for administrative salaries from the Associate Vice President/Controller’s Office, another $34,614 from the same sub-account appropriated for Civil Service salaries and $41,382 appropriated for Civil Service Salaries from the Bursar’s sub-account. According to the Budget Change Form, these transfers were to be permanent, funding Aranda’s salary without the university justifying her position to either the board or the legislature.

On March 13, 2012, the administration transferred $98,412 from a faculty to an administrative budget line to fund the salary of Bernie Rowan, the new Director of Assessment. Most interesting, the funds transferred came from what should have been a defunct sub-account, one for the old History, Philosophy and Political Science Department, eliminated in fiscal 2011. Nonetheless, even though the department no longer existed, appropriated money apparently still did.

In August 2012, three new faculty members joined the Criminal Justice department. Although the original position announcement was for only one position, at a budgeted salary of $50,004, the three new faculty were hired at a total salary expenditure of $233,010. That meant that another $183,006 had to come from somewhere to fund these positions. In this case, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences coughed up the money as the university transferred the $183,006 from the Dean’s Pool to cover the salary expenditure shortage.

Perhaps the most egregious example of how the administration has manipulated funding to increase the administrative ranks is the case of Napoleon Moses, hired in 2012 as Watson’s “Chief of Staff.” The funding for Moses’ $154,992 salary came entirely from funds appropriated for permanent improvements. In other words, money originally earmarked for “construct[ing] buildings, purchas[ing] land or for major rehabilitation of existing facilities” (taken from: went to pay a generous administrative salary. Given the condition of Chicago State’s infrastructure, it is easy to understand how Wayne Watson would find the addition of another person to the turgid administrative ranks more important than using these funds for their intended purpose.

Overall, of the $3,160,114 the administration spent on administrative additions in 2012 and 2013, $548,248 had originally been appropriated for faculty salaries, an additional $77,196 had originally been appropriated for civil service salaries, and $154,992 had originally been appropriated for “permanent improvements.” Clearly the budget presented to the board and the state did not accurately reflect the way those monies were spent.

Here at Chicago State, we already know that “we hire our friends” is more than a motto, it is our creed, a proven way of doing business. Now, thanks to the miracle of FOIA, we are able to track the way the university moves money around to achieve its goal of turning the school into a place where any incompetent but well-connected boob can land a cushy administrative position. This is what our administration practices and stands for.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Scams and Frauds: The Watson Administration at Chicago State

How would Chicago State be different with a viable president and administration? First, the president would occupy her/his time doing things appropriate to the position: burnishing the school’s public image, fighting for increasingly scarce public funds, raising money and increasing the university’s benefactor base, establishing an open and honest working relationship with the local media, establishing an open and honest working relationship with faculty, staff and administrators, protecting the academic integrity of the institution by enforcing industry-wide academic standards.

Instead, this is what exists here: the president does severe damage to the school’s image and to the relationship between faculty and the administration. He involves himself in activities like interviewing candidates for various positions (including adjunct faculty), he hires cronies and pays them lavish salaries for poor performance, he has his legal “team” attack free expression and bring in the power of the state to physically crush the dissent of the powerless, he condones lying and cheating on the part of his senior administrators. His apparent inability to discharge the duties of his office along with a propensity for vindictiveness and retribution have exposed the university to constant negative publicity, to financial loss and have created a toxic campus atmosphere. Simply put, Watson is a divisive figure, playing staff, students and faculty against one another and attempting to co-opt certain segments of the faculty in support of his dystopian “vision” for Chicago State.

If this were a university dedicated to academic excellence and integrity, we would not have to suffer the indignity of employing at least three senior administrators who have misrepresented themselves in their application materials. If we had a president dedicated to academic excellence and integrity, these persons would never have been hired. In the event that one or more slipped through the screening process, as demonstrable evidence of their mendacity surfaced, terminations would have ensued. Of course, we have seen nothing of the sort. For two of these persons, the result has been a reward for lying and even cheating to obtain a terminal degree. That state of affairs demonstrates the true feeling of this administration regarding academic integrity: it is simply to be treated as a scam, applicable perhaps to the “little people” but not relevant to anyone highly placed in the administration.

As revealed on this blog over the past several months, the university has participated in the construction of an alternative (and false) reality for a number of its administrative employees. For example, Angela Henderson appeared as Angela Henderson, Ph.D., several months before she received her degree from the University of Illinois Chicago. Currently, Henderson’s brief biographical sketch notes that “Prior to joining CSU, Dr. Henderson served as Provost, Dean, Department Chair and tenured professor at various institutions of higher education.” Napoleon Moses, who apparently left the university May 15, 2013, continued to appear on the web site as the Chief of Staff until about one month ago. Renee Mitchell, who holds a D.M. degree from the University of Phoenix continues to be presented on the web site as Renee Mitchell, Ph.D.

This false information on the university web site is contradicted by public records, most available from Chicago State. As reported on this blog several months ago, as early as November 27, 2012, Henderson appeared on the web site as a Ph.D. Of course, she did not receive the degree until August 11, 2013. The information on the Chicago State web site about her work history is simply false. According to her own resume, Henderson’s only prior college academic experience includes four years as an Assistant Professor (1994-98) and two years as Department Chair of Nursing (1998-2000) at Olive Harvey College. Her administrative experience includes two years (a misrepresentation in her resume of her experience) as Dean of Instruction (2000-02) at Olive Harvey, then several administrative positions from 2002 through mid-2011 at the City Colleges of Chicago District Offices. Hardly experience at “various institutions of higher education.”

As previously reported on this blog, Henderson also provided false information on her application and resume about her pending Ph.D., claiming she expected to receive the degree in June 2011, or 8 months prior to receiving IRB approval to begin her research. Of course, her dissertation became an issue at the end of last year as it proved to be extensively plagiarized. Although we continue to await the decision of the University of Illinois at Chicago regarding any consequences of Henderson’s cheating, the plagiarism in her dissertation is both extensive and demonstrable.

In addition, the administration has apparently concocted a cynical defense of Cheri Sidney’s falsified 2009 resume. It is all the fault of Human Resources. Some nameless, faceless person in that unit incorrectly entered a non-existent degree for Sidney on her hiring form. When Human Resources discovered the error, they told Sidney not to worry about it that it would be fixed, then neglected to correct the mistake. Again, this ridiculous version is demolished by the official record. The lies about Sidney’s educational credentials appear on her resume, a document prepared by her, not by Human Resources. As previously reported on this forum, in 2009 Sidney claimed a M.A. in “HR Management.” She did not receive a Master’s Degree until June 2013 and it was from the DePaul School for New Learning, in “Applied Professional Studies.” While in most organizations, this kind of dishonesty would result in a person’s firing, at Wayne Watson’s Chicago State, it is a reason for promotions and raises. At how many other universities is a totally unqualified employee who happens to be the president’s girlfriend the occupant of a senior administrative position at a six-figure salary?

Of course, the ultimate insult to the Chicago State University community would be the elevation of Angela Henderson the position of Provost. Given Wayne Watson’s proven disregard of academic ethics, it seems like this is the most likely scenario.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Not Everything Is Negative!

So loyal readers, I have been accused by the Crony State University regime of only communicating negativity about the university through this humble electronic forum. This,  of course isn’t true, but when the truth is unflattering, attack the truth teller.
I do have good news out of the bad news of the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou. The “poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist” made her transition yesterday. Dr. Kelly Ellis, of the CSU English Department, will be appearing on Richard Steele’s Barbershop Show on WBEZ, 91.5 FM, a National Public Radio station on Sunday, June 1st, at 3PM to discuss the life and work of an American literary icon.

And while we're "searching" (or whatever you want to call it) for a provost --H.R. might want to doublecheck those curriculum vitae for False Degrees

Well, you've got to give the state of ILL credit. They do act like they are concerned with integrity in their public institutions. Here they are enacting a law against those who obtain a job by falsifying their credentials. Enforcement of it? Hah! That will be another thing--just call in your political buddies and "integrity" becomes negotiable. If that doesn't work--get Governor Quinn to stifle reform.

Anyway, a young colleague forwarded this and wondered whether it would have any impact on the current leadership at CSU (or the search for such). Since we are very inconsistent with when and what or to whom we compel compliance you can bet it will be applied with full force and vigor to a faculty member found with a false degree that much is certain, but some people are more equal than others on this campus. At any rate, it's on the books--have a glance at it:


Public Act 93-0239

HB1448 Enrolled                  LRB093 06893 NHT 07039 b

AN ACT regarding higher education.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The Criminal Code of 1961 is amended by adding
Section 17-2.5 as follows:

(720 ILCS 5/17-2.5 new)
Sec. 17-2.5. False academic degrees.
(a) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly manufacture
or produce for profit or for sale a false academic degree,
unless the degree explicitly states "for novelty purposes
only" .

(b) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly use a false
academic degree for the purpose of obtaining employment or
admission to an institution of higher learning or admission
to an advanced degree program at an institution of higher
learning or for the purpose of obtaining a promotion or
higher compensation in employment.

(c) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is
guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) In this Section:
"False academic degree" means a certificate, dlploma,
transcript, or other document purporting to be issued by an
institution of higher learning or purporting to indicate that
a person has completed an organized academic program of study
at an institution of higher learning when the person has not
completed the organized academic program of study indicated
on the certificate, diploma, transcript, or other document.
"Institution of higher learning" means a pUblic or
private college, university, or community college located in
the State of Illinois that is authorized by the Board of
Higher Education or the Illinois Community College Board to
issue post-secondary degrees, or a pUblic or private college,
university, or community college located anywhere in the
United States that is or has been legally constituted to
offer degrees and instruction in its state of origin or

Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 07/22/03

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Where is Compliance and Communication on the Provost "search?" And does anyone (including HLC) care?

The HLC monitoring report is due on June 1st. The “university community” (sometimes known as the "CSU family") is supposed to be able to comment on the report to be submitted. I heard we were supposed to have 2 weeks to do that. So where is it? Something is posted on cougar connect (see the link below), but really, is this what the university has to say about communication and compliance? If HLC buys this then there is a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell them. Can someone please enlighten us as to whether this is the report and where do we submit our comments on the document? Of course, since it is so close to the date of submission how will the university truly take the university community's comments into consideration? Will this be another trumped up phony document and at this point will it matter?

If you can log in to cougar connect the accreditation stuff shows up on that page. The document on communication and compliance is linked as an odp document. If you can't read that try converting it to a powerpoint document. 

The HLC communication and compliance report hits very closely to the charade played out on campus this week and next. Does anyone really believe that Angela Henderson will not be granted the provost's position? She is Wayne Watson’s anointed successor for CSU president after all. She needs this provost gig to get to the big office. And of course, the Board of Trustees is in Watson's pocket, there is no independent oversight of the university ---something the HLC claims to be concerned about but in reality ignores. How can AH not get the job when WW already paved over the plagiarism issue in the minds of the Board of Trustees at their “emergency” meeting in February? They told him to fire her, he dissuaded them and then persuaded them to wait until UIC ruled lest Mr. H. (atty. for both AH and WW) sue them. How can AH not get the job when WW was on her dissertation committee? when she has been his loyal soldier for all that time at City Colleges and here? He is the giant on whose shoulders she stands—read the diss for this specific reference. How can AH not get the job when the job ad was tailor-made for her and is quite extraordinarily so unlike any other provost job ad you would find at any other institution calling itself a university? Finally, how can AH not get the job when the Hollins Group, the search firm that helped Leon Finney and Emil Jones ensure Wayne Watson's ascension to the CSU presidency, is involved in yet another one of these bogus searches?

And herein lies the question of compliance. In concocting the provost search the way H.R. Director Renee Mitchell and the administration did, is CSU in compliance with state law and the CSU Act itself?  The CSU Act, the law that established CSU as a legitimate body, says that the university may not pay a search firm for anything but a presidential search (see110 ILCS 660 Section 5-175). For any others--provost, vice president searches-- there must be board of trustees' approval.

(110 ILCS 660/5-175) 
    Sec. 5-175. Search firm prohibition. Charges for the services of an external hiring search firm may not be paid from any source of funds, except (i) in the hiring of the President of the University or (ii) in the case of when the President of the University and the Board demonstrate a justifiable need for guidance from an individual or firm with specific expertise in the field of the hiring. The University shall implement a policy under this Section, including qualifying criteria, within 6 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly. (Source: P.A. 97-814, eff. 1-1-13.)

Past provost searches on campus have not used search firms. When Beverly Anderson was hired as provost under Elnora Daniel a colleague on that search committee told me, "we did everything ourselves, we did not have a search firm."

Three FOIA (freedom of information act) requests I made this spring for information about the Board's charge to establish the committee or their reasons for authorizing the use of a search firm for a university provost search has netted nothing. The university lawyers who handle the FOIA requests cannot provide documents because there are no documents. "The university does not have records responsive to your request." Where is the university's compliance with the Illinois statute?

We know that Dr Watson, the Human Resources Department, and the legal department unilaterally and without consultation of faculty changed the long-standing university hiring policies that had faculty and deans at the center of the job searches and decisions. Under their revised hiring policies the president is placed at the center of all hiring on campus. This remains unchanged even after HLC's pointed statements about faculty dissatisfaction over this change.

As to the composition of the current provost search committee compare the role H.R. took on for itself in being the sole arbiter as to participants with the "charge" and directions the Board of Trustees gave in 2008 when constituting the committee for the presidential search. Betsy Hill, chair of the Board, set the tone for a legitimate search. That the search was co-opted and maneuvered by board member Leon Finney and ended with the resignation of all but one member of the Search Advisory Committee is another story--see blog posts from 2009 to refresh your memory on that. 

For the record, when the presidential search was conducted, several months in spring, summer, and early fall 2008 were spent taking bids for the search firm contract and interviewing search firms. The Hollins Group appeared late in the process and was pushed through by Leon Finney. At least the process of taking bids was done. Not so in the current provost search. FOIA requests asking for "the names and bids of competitors (including the Hollins Group) received for the CSU Provost Search 2013-2014" were met with the answer: "Please be advised that the University does not have records response to item #2 (contract bids) of your request" (FOIA Response, Feb. 18, 2014). Another FOIA request (May 4, 2014) for "Documents relative to the Board of Trustees' compliance with 110 ILCS 660 Sect.5-175 of Chicago State Law in hiring the Hollins Group to be the search firm for this position" was answered with a list of approved vendors that can be used by the University of Illinois System (FOIA Response May 12, 2014).

The Hollins Group was paid $75,000 in 2008-2009 to bring us a new president who turned out to be someone who was already chosen by Leon Finney and Emil Jones probably before Elnora's last boxes were packed up from the presidential mansion.

The Hollins Group is being paid between $ 70,000-100,000 to run a provost search this year which will most likely end up with the hiring of insider and presidential protege Angela Henderson. How much are we spending to bring other candidates to campus on top of this and on top of the hours Renee Mitchell's search committee put into this? No paperwork on the Board authorizing the use of the search firm, no contract bids from other firms for taking the search on.

Where is the compliance? Where is the independent oversight HLC and the State of ILL claim they demand of their institutions?

Lastly, where is the outrage?

Monday, May 19, 2014

1) Here's How the Administration Structured the Scam; 2) A Qualified Candidate Who Didn't Make the Cut so Our Chief Plagiarizing Officer Could be Among the Finalists

As an informational follow-up to Corday's post, the search for a permanent Provost at Chicago State began around the first of the year. On January 22, 2014, Renee Mitchell, CSU Director of Human Resources and member of the Provost Search Committee sent an e-mail to a faculty member which included the names of the ten members of the committee: 4 administrators: the Dean of the Library, Director of Human Resources, one Department Chair, an Associate Provost, 1 Civil Service Representative, and 5 faculty members, one each from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, Business and Education. According to Mitchell’s e-mail, the committee received “their charge,” and discussed the job description. The committee also “decided . . . to allow the Hollins Group to review all applicants first in order to eliminate those who do not meet the qualifications.”

A glance at the composition of the committee reveals that in a university at which the various colleges have vastly different faculty contingents, the equal representation results in the following ratios: the business member represents 15 faculty, the Health Sciences member represents 16 faculty, the pharmacy member represents 25 faculty, the education member represents 40 faculty, the arts and sciences member represents 127 faculty. Thus the “equal” representation on the committee is far from equitable.

None of this is presented to disparage the work of the committee members. However, the composition of the search committee, the secrecy with which this search has been conducted, and the ultimate products of the search appearing on campus after faculty have departed is reflective of the way we do business here at Chicago State. It is all a scam. We appear to have put together a “representative” body to consider the candidates (which, in actuality is done by the Hollins Group) and then we make sure that the most potentially troublesome university constituency is likely to be unable to attend whatever sham vetting process occurs.

This morning, a faculty colleague forwarded the C.V. of one of the applicants, a person who is not among the finalists. Because this person currently holds a university job, I will not provide any identifying information. However, I can say that the C.V. describes someone qualified for the position, a person with administrative and managerial experience at the university level, someone who received the Ph.D. in the 1980s, attained the rank of full professor and has published extensively. In short, someone who fits the profile of the “ideal candidate” as delineated in the job announcement. Of course, this person had to give way so that Angela Henderson could be included among the final four candidates.

Another observation: Renee Mitchell served on the search committee that brought Angela Henderson to Chicago State in 2011. Renee Mitchell also worked at CNA Insurance at the same time Cheri Sidney reportedly worked for that company. Cheri Sidney also served on the search committee that resulted in Henderson’s hiring. Am I the only one who finds it troublesome that Mitchell served on this committee? That she will again be able to work to reward Henderson with a position for which she is wholly unqualified?

Finally, at least one other administrator on the search committee seems an interesting choice. The Associate Provost for Curriculum and Assessment is included among the committee members. Given the wholesome administrative atmosphere here at Chicago State, it seems extremely likely that person will simply follow the direction of his masters. After all, he’s just deciding whether or not to vote for his current boss. This entire process is a disgrace and Henderson’s inclusion among the finalists is an insult. For insight into how a proper search can be conducted, check the University of Illinois' Board web site for the April 18, 2014 special meeting. You'll find the board's "charge" to the search committee for a presidential search as well as a list (and brief description of their university experience) of the members of the search committee, all in a public forum. Not quite the way we do things here. The Illinois material is available on this site:

A Few Questions for the Provost Candidates

A faculty colleague asked me to post this tonight: 

In light of the announcement to the University community of the four candidates for Provost on a Friday afternoon after commencement on the last day of the academic year when most faculty will have departed campus, I invite my faculty colleagues to consider asking EACH of the candidates any one of the following questions (in no particular order):
  •  what is the role of the Chair of an academic department at a University?
  • what is the role of faculty (or a faculty member) at CSU?
  • how would you handle an instance of significant plagiarism by a graduate student?
  • do you think professional advisors improve academic advising?
    • And what departments (if any) should always have faculty academic advisors?
  • who is (should be?) responsible for academic advising at CSU?
    • And why is it housed currently in a non-academic unit under a non-academically trained Dean? 
    • what are the consequences of this decision (if any) for the perception this arrangement seems to indicate in terms of academic integrity?
  • how would you respond to a conflict of interest accusation?
  • how would you encourage faculty (in all their capacities) to create a positive “academic culture” at CSU in light of the events of the last five years?
  • how would you respond to the perception (if not the belief of some) that “some faculty are more equal than others” on our campus?
  • what would you do if a faculty recommendation for a faculty hire in an individual discipline differed from the Chair or Dean’s recommendation?
  • what is your vision of shared governance?
  • what has been the role of the faculty Senate historically at American universities?
  • when will a Union Contract for faculty be negotiated and voted on only by faculty?
    • And would you support faculty voting on their own contract exclusively?
  • in light of recent events in the  economics program, what is your vision of academic  program review at CSU?
  • how does one “empower” faculty and the academic enterprise at CSU?
  • are you familiar with or have you heard of the “faculty blog?

Additional concerns (time permitting):
  •  what academic discipline is the “department” of doctoral  studies teaching?
  • why are there so many programs in the College of Education and why do they keep changing their names and degree requirements so frequently? Is this common at other institutions you have been at or worked in?
  • what is the different between the fine arts? liberal arts? liberal arts education? and/or a a liberal education?
  • what should “equal opportunity at CSU mean?”
  • how will you respond to faculty who say they have not participated in (nor were they even notified of) any searches or campus visits for several academic Dean positions advertised this term?

 These are only a few questions posed by one faculty member who thought the faculty should really ask (or better, explain) each of these questions to the prospective candidates for Provost. In asking a few questions (usually permitted at an academic enterprise) the hope is these questions might inspire some conversation among faculty too. Please know that there are many other questions that could be offered as this list is not exhaustive. Perhaps our faculty colleagues will be able to come despite the late notice on each of the four days that the four candidates are present to hear their responses. The question now is will the current administration actually listen to (or value at all) the faculty’s impression of the candidates’ responses on these important concerns since there is an absence of a mechanism for faculty input into this important academic search?

So I guess we’ll see…. unless the “fix is in” and this is indeed a colossal waste of time for all concerned rather than an opportunity for campus dialogue and improvement. The timing and manner of the announcement suggest strongly the former. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Prepare for the Latest Chicago State Dog and Pony Show. Watch Wayne Watson Rig Another Administrative Hiring.

Comedy acts often feature a “straight man” feeding lines to the comedian who then gets the laughs. Historically, some of the most famous “straight men” include: Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy fame, Bud Abbott of Abbott and Costello, Dean Martin who paired with Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby for Bob Hope, George Burns with Gracie Allen and Dan Rowan of Rowan and Martin. Although I realize the comparison is not precise, in the farcical 2009 hiring of Wayne Watson, those notable writers, the Hollins Group and Leon Finney, expanded the idea of the comedic “straight man” to include a comedic “straight woman”, Carol Adams, of the duo of Adams and Watson.

Now we have the Hollins Group hard at it again, this time with an assist from Wayne Watson. Rather than the $75,000 Hollins received for the 2009 search, they are getting $100,000 for the 2014 search for Chicago State’s Provost. Somewhat surprisingly, they have generated a pool of four candidates, three of whom actually appear to be well qualified for the position. Of course, we all know that these three persons, Carol A. Blackshire-Belay, Said Sewell and (I believe) James E. Payne are only in the field to provide laugh lines to the anointed candidate, that tower of academic integrity, teaching experience and scholarly accomplishments, Angela Henderson.

First, a comparison between the achievements of the foils and Henderson makes one wonder how in the world any group assessing applicant qualifications for a job like this would construct a group including Henderson. Blackshire-Belay holds a Ph.D. in German Linguistics from Princeton University. She has extensive teaching and administrative experience at universities like Ohio State, Indiana State, Temple, Fayetteville State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Sonoma State. She has published more than 30 books and articles.

Said Sewell received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University. He has nearly a decade of university teaching experience and has served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant Provost (current position) at Kent State University. Sewell is the author of several articles and co-authored/edited three books and is currently at work on two more.

James E. Payne (I believe this is the candidate, the university’s announcement included no middle initial) holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Florida State University. He has extensive teaching and administrative experience at Oakland University in Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State and the University of New Orleans. Payne has dozens of publications to his credit.

In comparison, here are Angela Henderson’s credentials: Administrative positions at Olive Harvey College and at the Chicago City Colleges District Office under Wayne Watson and Cheryl Hyman. Arguably unsuccessful (based on enrollment statistics) tenure as Vice President of Enrollment Management at Chicago State. She is the recipient of nursing and business degrees from University of Illinois at Chicago. Henderson received her Ph.D. in nursing from UIC on August 11, 2013. Her teaching experience includes a few years at Olive Harvey from 1994 to 1998. As for her scholarly production, that is simply non-existent, although she does have an extensively plagiarized dissertation to her credit.

So, how will Wayne Watson manage to slide her into the provost’s position against formidable opposition? Easy, give extra points for their long-standing personal and professional relationship and then rely on the ridiculous job announcement produced by the university. The job announcement is replete with problematic material. On page 5, under “Knowledge, Skills and Abilities,” one passage reads: “The Provost must have the confidence and competence to speak on behalf of and represent the President to internal and external constituencies . . .” Really, a university provost is supposed to represent its president’s interests? What about the interests of the faculty? What about the interests of the students? Now listen to this set of requirements for the top academic official at Chicago State: “To be successful, the Provost should hold an earned terminal degree and have a level of administrative experience that will add value to CSU’s continuous efforts to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the institution’s human, fiscal and technological resources, required by its academic and co-curricular programs.” Who wrote that bullshit?

As I noted in a previous post on this topic, the requirements are ludicrous, designed to fit the particular experience of Angela Henderson while they provide cover for that other towering academic in the Cook building to reward his long-time crony for her loyal service. As this stupid tableau plays out against the backdrop of an empty campus, it seems inevitable that Wayne Watson will deliver another “screw you” to the students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni of Chicago State. Is an insatiable desire to practice vindictiveness the only reason he stays on here?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Academic Fraud Angela Henderson One of the Finalists Selected by the Hollins Group.

It's now official. Our plagiarizer-in-chief is magically one of the top four candidates for the position of provost. Her "meet and greet" is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Is there any affront to academic integrity that the Chicago State faculty will not tolerate? I guess we will find out.

Is the Plagiarizing Crony a Finalist for the Provost's Position?: Will Chicago State Finally Reach its Academic Nadir?

According to more than one administrator, the finalists for the provost's position are going to be on campus between May 19 and May 27. Although their identities seem to be a closely-guarded secret, it seems likely that one of them will be that notable academic fraud: Angela Henderson. It has come to my attention that Watson's defense of Henderson's cheating on her dissertation now includes the assertion that she "didn't do anything wrong." I think this raises questions that should be asked: 1) why did Watson serve on Henderson's dissertation committee? what could he possibly contribute to a Ph.D. dissertation in nursing? 2) since the UIC Academic Integrity policy clearly defines "intellectual theft" as "us[ing] someone else's words or work product without giving them credit for the work through adequate attribution", and 3) since Henderson did this repeatedly (as well as lifting passages with no attribution)in her dissertation, how did Watson come to the conclusion that "she did nothing wrong"? 4) Since Watson recently pontificated at the board meeting about how he had "raised standards" for tenure, how can he ignore the obvious cheating by the administrator ostensibly responsible for the university's academic viability and integrity? 5) Are there no academic standards for Chicago State administrators? As neither Henderson nor Watson would qualify for tenure at this university, I think we know the answer to that question.

Since I have concerns about the potential for this search to become nothing more than another Watson-inspired crony-riven travesty, this morning I sent the following e-mail to the unit A faculty at Chicago State:

Dear Colleagues:

Apparently, the Hollins Group has come up with four finalists for the job of Chicago State Provost, none of whom is yet known to the campus generally. I am concerned that the administration, specifically Wayne Watson, will attempt to foist Angela Henderson on the university as the permanent provost. In order that you be fully informed of why she is wholly unqualified for this position, I am circulating this e-mail. Here are the reasons she should be rejected as a possible candidate: given her non-existent scholarly production and limited teaching experience, she is not even qualified for tenure at this university. She might be qualified to apply for an Assistant Professor's position, but nothing else comes to mind; most important, she has demonstrated academic dishonesty by committing extensive plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation. I reported this to UIC five months ago. Although they have apparently not yet made a disciplinary determination, the dissertation is obviously plagiarized. In order for you to make an informed decision on this matter, I am attaching several items for your review. Of course, you can choose to look at as few or as many as you wish. Should you choose to examine all these documents, I believe you will come to the same conclusion I did. Here is what I am attaching: 1) a copy of Angela Henderson's dissertation with plagiarized passages, "padded" bibliographical entries and in-text citations that do not appear in her bibliography highlighted in yellow; 2) the academic integrity policy from the UIC College of Nursing and the plagiarism standards from APA style; 3) the report I submitted to UIC in December 2013. Please note in the report the number of instances where Henderson lifts passages from other literature reviews and presents this material as her own review, often without any attribution. Of course, if you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


I have no idea if Angela Henderson will be among the finalists for the position. However, even considering her for this position (or, given her demonstrated academic dishonesty, any university position) is a slap in the face to the entire university community. I cannot imagine a more inappropriate person to serve as the chief academic officer of any institution. Although I doubt it matters to that out-of-control dictator in the Cook building, I hope my fellow faculty members agree that students, staff, alumni and faculty deserve far better than this.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Cyber-Bullying (and Harrassment) Policy Comes to Chicago State. Of Course, Only for the Subalterns

Guess what that "distinguished" board of trustees did when they had time to conduct business other than choking out students who had the temerity to challenge Wayne Watson on May 9? They waived the third reading and passed that nine-page cyber-bullying policy. If you are interested in the discussion and the amazingly inarticulate (but painfully and amateurishly pedantic as always) remarks of our faux president, go to the board section of the CSU web site and open the meeting recordings. The discussion of the policy and its passage begins around the forty-minute mark of the first recorded segment. I wonder how the administration will use this new weapon in their war against free expression? What do you think?

Graduation Day Thoughts: Congratulations to Jokari Miller For Graduating! Congratulations to Wayne Watson, Angela Henderson and Anthony Young for Demonstrating Their Ability to Trample the Powerless and Their Committment to Authoritarian Governance

Congratulations to Jokari Miller on his Graduation!

“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police ... yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts. . .” Winston Churchill, Blood Sweat and Tears.

“We despise and abhor the bully, the brawler, the oppressor, whether in private or public life, but we despise no less the coward and the voluptuary.” Quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.

”And when I speak, I don't speak as a Democrat. Or a Republican. Nor an American. I speak as a victim of America's so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy - all we've seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don't see any American dream. We've experienced only the American nightmare.” Quote attributed to Malxolm X

As Chicago State holds its graduation today, perhaps it is time for sober reflection upon what this university has become. Last Friday, May 9, at the Board of Trustees meeting, this purported school stopped being a public university. As administrators and members of the Chicago State University Board of Trustees looked on and did nothing, Michael Jones of the Chicago State police choked and arrested Jokari Miller, a graduating senior, for wearing a baseball cap to a public open meeting. As Wayne Watson and Anthony Young stood only feet away, the police dragged Miller off to jail. Watson had no response, possibly considering the incident another “job well done” in his never-ending effort to destroy any opposition to his cancerous regime, while Young and the board responded idiotically, by promising to enact a “dress code” for subsequent board meetings.

Today, Watson will preside over another graduation ceremony at Chicago State. Following his Kangaroo Court hearing yesterday, Jokari Miller will not be able to attend the ceremony. There will undoubtedly be flowery and fulsome praise for Watson’s “greatness” and “leadership” from a number of sycophants, with nary a reference to how he and his police treated Miller. Also present at the ceremony will be another key player in the administration’s repression efforts, our faux provost “Doctor” Angela Henderson. Will Anthony Young be there to receive the plaudits of the pro-Watson crowd? I suppose we will just have to wait and see.

One of the board members has publicly drawn a stark distinction between the “rightness” of the Watson administration as opposed to the “wrong” stance of his critics. Taking that Manichean argument into consideration, it seems appropriate to examine the two sides of this coin. In terms of repression and oppression at Chicago State, let us reject the notion that the persons doing the oppressing are actually the victims. Instead of believing the administration’s nonsensical rhetoric on this topic, we can examine the behavior of the persons involved in this latest incident.

The real perpetrators of the “violent, harmful or criminal acts” (dictionary definition of perpetrator) are Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson abetted by the board and its chairman, Anthony Young. Simply read the complaint filed by Willie Preston and Brittany Bailey on Monday, simply consider the brutal response to Miller’s baseball hat on Friday. If you are not completely obtuse, you’ll get a pretty fair idea of how these two “leaders” administer this campus, particularly their efforts to neutralize anyone who disagrees with them. Using the power of the state against both Willie Preston and Jokari Miller, the nightmare twins have continued their destruction of the university as an academic institution. In fact, they have worked assiduously to create a 1984-esque police state here on the south side of Chicago, heedless of the damage they are causing to other human beings.

When you consider the empty seat that should have been occupied today by Jokari Miller, also consider the persons responsible for the travesty. For my inert colleagues, I will not waste any more time exhorting you to action. Perhaps you think you can just “ride this out,” in your office, perhaps you don’t like the persons involved in the opposition to Watson, perhaps you are uncomfortable with the “tone” of our rhetoric, perhaps you simply want to safeguard your own position, perhaps you are unwilling to sacrifice the “social capital” you have accrued, perhaps you simply believe that this kind of corruption will never touch you, perhaps you even support Wayne Watson and his regime. So be it.

In any event, here are the perpetrators to whom you are expected to kow-tow. Shame on them for their gross abuse of the power they are supposed to exercise responsibly. As you walk into the ceremony this morning, keep in mind that under that sparkling edifice runs a foul and polluted stream.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Prospective Students Beware; Wayne Watson stop abusing your power

Great publicity this morning in the Sun Times one day before CSU graduates a number of students. All the preening onstage and the puffed up sloganeering that will go on for hours tomorrow about CSU's greatness under the leadership of Wayne Watson, irritating for most of us in past years, is going to be particularly disgusting this year. Jokari Miller, a student who was goaded into a verbal exchange with Wayne Watson by Watson himself, for wearing a freaking baseball hat inside the library at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday that ended with Miller being held in a chokehold, charged with disorderly conduct, and jailed, is facing criminal charges and today has to put up with the indignity of a judicial hearing at CSU's own kangaroo court. He may not be able to graduate from our august institution tomorrow.

I can take Watson's and Interim Provost Henderson's hate speech against the white/atheist/communist faculty "who can't get jobs anywhere else." I can take their contempt for us, but their extreme reactions to African American students who cross them the wrong way is another thing. In the long list of Watson's abuse of his power as president of CSU, this is the most disgusting example. And of course he is supported by that craven disgraceful "board of trustees." And look at who he and Henderson pick on. If what happened to Miller happened to my white sister's white kid, even if the white kid were in his 20s or 30s, she would be in that President's Office with a lawyer on Monday morning with a lawsuit already filed. But my white sister has the resources to do this. Willie Preston and Jokari Miller both had to scramble to get their bail money. Bravo Wayne. Well done Mr Educator of the Year.

And yeah, you're right Dr Watson, we white faculty "got ours." But so did you and your porsche-driving friends.

Good way to teach our students on the eve of graduation: no opposition to presidential will will be brooked. Criminalize the students. The pipeline to prison begins at graduation or the day before.

Check out what the Sun Times has to say about us today.

Sam Charles, Sun Times Breaking News/Voices
May 13, 2014 8:25 pm
Suit: Chicago State administration tried to silence students critical of university

A current Chicago State University student and another who was expelled are suing the university, alleging that after they spoke out against the school and its practices, the administration used “authoritarian” of tactics to silence them and quash any influence they had at the university.

The suit, filed Monday in federal court by Willie Preston and Brittany Bailey, stated that as the two were members of the university’s Student Government Association, they were critical of the university’s administration. The university, they allege, responded by “invalidating” student government elections, suppressing the editorial freedom of and later eliminating the university’s student newspaper and orchestrating a series of unsubstantiated claims to discredit the two, which eventually resulted in Preston’s expulsion and criminal prosecution.

The named defendants included the university’s board of trustees, President Wayne Watson, Interim Provost Angela Henderson, Vice President of Labor and Legal Affairs Patrick Cage, Director of Student Activities and Student Leadership MaToya Marsh and Chicago State University Police Chief Ronnie Watson.

“Plaintiffs were active members of the student government at CSU who spoke out against what they viewed as the autocratic and corrupt practices of several powerful and politically connected members of the CSU administration,” the suit stated.

A spokesman for the university said the allegations have no merit.

“[The complaint] can best be described as categorically untrue,” said Tom Wogan, the university’s director of public relations. “We will allow the judicial process to play out and we’re very confident the university will be vindicated.”

Bailey and Preston began attending CSU in 2010 and have since married, the suit stated.
In the fall 2012 semester, the Student Government Association held elections for several positions, including 25 Senator positions and one Illinois Board of Higher Education Representative position, the suit stated. In September 2012, Preston and Bailey were elected to IBHE Representative and SGA Senator, respectively.

In his role as representative, Preston would be part of university-wide committees, including the budget and tuition and fees committees, the suit stated.

In the spring 2013 semester, Bailey ran for SGA president while Preston ran for Student Trustee, both on a platform of reducing administration corruption, the suit said.

Preston pledged to propose a motion to the Board of Trustees to remove Watson as university president, the suit stated. Bailey also said she would work toward removing Watson from his position.
According to the suit, Marsh — who also served on the university’s Board of Elections — continuously directed students not to vote for Preston and Bailey, instead encouraging them to support three other candidates “who were not political opponents of President Watson.”

On May 1, the first day of voting, one of the three candidates Marsh supported tried to punch Preston. Preston ducked out of the way, but was still suspended from classes and student activities for the upcoming semester, the suit stated. The student who tried to punch him was not disciplined.

Both Bailey and Preston were elected to their desired positions “by an overwhelming majority,” however the Board of Elections “invalidated” the election results on the basis that Marsh had inappropriately interfered with the election, the suit stated.

“So, rather than act to stop Ms. Marsh’s interference while it was happening, the Board of Elections waited until the candidates [the] Defendants favored had lost, and then used Ms. Marsh’s interference against [the] Plaintiffs,” the suit stated.

On Oct. 11, 2013, while serving his suspension, Preston met with the interim director of judicial affairs, who told him that while he could not attend classes, he was still allowed on campus, the suit stated. However, the suit claims a meeting was scheduled for later that day in the presidential chambers to potentially change university rules that would prohibit Preston from being on campus while he was suspended.

Three days later, Preston went to the Cordell Reed Student Union building while an open house for prospective students was being held, the suit stated. After he walked in, he was approached by university officials who told him he had to report to the interim director of judicial affairs. The director informed him that he was no longer allowed on campus because several students allegedly felt threatened by him.

All the students were provided incentives — including scholarships — to complain about Preston, the suit stated.

Less than a week later, Preston was invited to attend a meeting at the CSU’s campus library held by the Illinois Board of Higher Education faculty advisory committee. During the question and answer session, Preston said that he was among many students who believed that members of the administration, including President Watson and Interim Provost Henderson, were engaged in corrupt practices, the suit stated.

Henderson followed him out of the meeting and tried to speak with him, and as Preston left the building, he was arrested by CSU’s campus police and detained at the station for three hours, the suit stated. An officer told Preston that the police showed up because someone called and said he was disrupting the meeting.

Henderson later said she called Police Chief Ronnie Watson directly, the suit said. A trespassing charge was filed against Preston, but it was later dismissed.
“While he was detained, Mr. Preston denied Chief of Police Ronnie Watson’s allegation that he had threatened the Interim Provost,” the suit stated.

On Oct. 23, Henderson filed a petition for, and was later granted, a restraining order against Preston, the suit said.

“Dr. Henderson’s purpose in obtaining the restraining order was to retaliate against Mr. Preston for his speech and ensure he would not be engaging in speech critical of her or President Watson on campus or in her presence,” the suit stated.

Five days later, Preston’s expulsion hearing was held, and a witness for Preston who was present when he allegedly threatened Henderson was not allowed to testify, the suit stated.

During her testimony, Henderson called Preston an “American terrorist.” She added that she was afraid to come to work and that she felt Preston was “prepared to engage in ‘murderous’ activity,” the suit said.

On Nov. 14, Preston was expelled from CSU, but he was never given the meeting’s minutes or told who he could file an appeal with, the suit stated.

Four months later, Preston attended a public meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees. He was arrested for stalking Henderson and violating her no-contact order, despite the fact that she was not present at the meeting, the suit said.

The seven-count suit alleges First and Fourteenth Amendment deprivation, retaliation, deprivation of due process, violations of the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, violations of the Illinois College Campus Press Act, violations of the Illinois State and Chicago State universities law and breach of contract. They’re seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

Preston and Bailey are seeking Preston’s reinstatement at CSU and both of them to be appointed to the student trustee position for one year. They are also seeking Bailey’s appointment as SGA President for one year, the reestablishment of an uncensored, student-run newspaper and the reversal and dismissal of all charges against the two.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Here's a Look at What Our Lavishly Paid Administrators Spend Their Time Doing: Bullying Students, Rigging Elections, Running the Place Like an Amateurish Crime Family

“How a person treats people who have less power than they do is a fundamental test of a person’s real character.”

Willie Preston and Brittany Bailey are strong young people. However, in a contest with the entire weight of the Chicago State University power structure, abetted by the police power of the State of Illinois, they are short of both resources and influence. Their recent lawsuit demonstrates this power inequity graphically as it details the egregious behavior of Chicago State administrators toward them. Through their pleading in the U.S. District Court, we are able to construct a portrait of how a number of the university’s administrators treat persons who disagree with their behavior and who have no ability resist a variety of administrative abuses. The picture is ugly. There is only one permissible multi-part narrative for Chicago State: Wayne Watson as champion of the African American students, opposed by “disgruntled white faculty”; Wayne Watson as the infallible great leader; frankly, Wayne Watson as the heroic educational “reformer”. Any deviation from that party line by anyone risks severe consequences. Neither Willie Preston nor Brittany Bailey subscribe to that narrative and the administration has responded accordingly.

According to the pleading, the administration’s abuses begin with a conversation between Angela Henderson and Preston in Fall 2011. After the “Occupy Cook” event in November of that year, Henderson asked Preston to meet with her. Demonstrating that she viewed Chicago State’s students as a bunch of weak-minded fools, Henderson advised Preston (who she apparently believed had just fallen off the turnip truck in front of the school) that “faculty members were using students to attempt to hurt the President who she said was fighting every day to ensure African American students had just as many opportunities as white students across the state.” Henderson warned Preston that “he should not let a ‘bunch of white, Communist, atheist professors’ trick him.”

In Fall 2012, Preston and Bailey got involved in student government and ran afoul of Matoya Marsh, the Director of Student Activities. Marsh’s constant interference with the operation of the student government went far beyond her role as an “advisor” and positioned her squarely against a number of proposals Preston and Bailey made to improve campus life for Chicago State’s students. They proposed the re-creation of a student newspaper, implementing scholarships and grants for students and the establishment of a system that would reward students for attending poorly populated student government meetings. Preston and Bailey circulated petitions among students to gauge interest in their proposals. In response, Marsh “publicly criticized Mr. Preston during Executive SGA meetings for distributing these petitions.” The proposals generated forceful opposition from Marsh “who did not contend that the proposals violated university regulations, but barred their implementation because she disagreed with them.”

The proposed student newspaper became especially contentious. Marsh said that the “student body could only publish a newsletter under her close direction and approval. When Mr. Preston asked whether they (students) would be able to include in such a publication proposals about changing the administration, Ms. Marsh responded she would definitely not approve that type of speech. Ms. Marsh did not cite to any policy that such speech would violate.”

Apparently feeling the need to apply additional pressure to Preston, at the beginning of 2013, the university began to use the force of its judicial apparatus to involve Preston in a string of judicial affairs complaints that were supported by only flimsy or often simply mendacious claims and/or evidence. Preston met with Watson in February or March 2013. During that meeting, Watson told him that they “should work together because they are from the ‘same hood’ and that he (Preston) ‘should not be hanging around them white communist professors who got theirs and don’t give a damn about you getting yours.’ Mr. Preston told Dr. Watson that he listened to the students at CSU and was acting according to their concerns.”

Shortly after this meeting, Preston announced his candidacy for the position of Student Trustee on the Chicago State Board of Trustees while Bailey opened a campaign for the presidency of the Student Government Association. Their platform included the “reform of CSU policies” and the “enact[ment of] procedures to guard against corruption. Central to Mr. Preston’s campaign was his pledge to propose a motion that the Board of Trustees remove Dr. Watson as president.” These candidacies spurred an immediate reaction from Marsh who first baselessly told Preston that he “was not eligible to run because he had been disciplined,” then urged students to vote for candidates who “were not political opponents of President Watson.” In addition, Marsh allegedly “told other CSU employees to campaign against Mr. Preston.” Finally, Marsh approved campaign material for the pro-Watson candidates but not for Preston and Bailey.

At one point during the election, one of the candidates opposing Bailey told Preston that “Watson had assured him that he would not lose the election (‘we take care of our own’),” and that “even if he received a lower number of votes during the election, he would still win.” However, both Preston and Bailey won their races, necessitating the administration’s intervention into the process. Waiting until their favored candidates had lost, the Chicago State Student Board of Elections invalidated the results, allegedly because Marsh had “inappropriately interfered.”

Ultimately, the rigged election resulted in the elevation of pro-Watson candidates to the Board of Trustees and the SGA. Also, the university ultimately expelled Willie Preston and subjected him to criminal prosecution for alleged offenses against Angela Henderson, offenses that at least one member of the university community described as “a plan they concocted to get him off campus.” The university official wondered “Why do they keep messing with this guy, trying to ruin his life when he’s not even breaking the law? Angela Henderson is not scared of Willie.” Although Preston’s arrests were clearly politically motivated, the university police had to “comply with orders if they wanted to keep their jobs.”

This is what we have at this university. Someone who disagrees with the administration of Wayne Watson, someone who attempts to exercise the right of free expression, is warned, threatened, harassed with judicial affairs complaints and subjected to arrest and prosecution. I suppose this is what the university means when it talks about “progressive discipline.”

Although the statements and behaviors described in the Preston/Bailey complaint are currently allegations, let us take a look at the records of the two opposing camps. On one side, we have the university administration, led by Wayne Watson, a “leader” who on at least two occasions has been found culpable for retaliatory firings, whose “academic” and “teaching” careers are dubious at best, a man who has severely damaged the reputation of one college system and one university, a man who would not have the job he currently holds if he were not a local political hack, and a man who needs desperately to secure what political influence he still wields to hold onto his job.

He is aided by an interim provost whose original application contained demonstrably false statements and whose massively plagiarized dissertation disgraces her. This so-called “Doctor” blights two academic institutions and notwithstanding all the legal nonsense should have been discharged months ago. No need to describe again the various misadventures of our intrepid Chief Counsel who, almost on a regular basis, exposes the university to national ridicule. Another opportunity for bad press will undoubtedly come soon.

The image created by the Preston/Bailey complaint--of a university president and his administrators bullying students, rigging elections and running this “university” as if it were a corrupt political ward or even worse, some kind of fifth-rate dictatorship, would be comical if it were not so true. Is it imaginable that this kind of behavior would be acceptable in any other educational institution? If the faculty at this institution are willing to let this kind of behavior go unchallenged, if they are willing to rationalize the choking of a student at a public meeting for wearing a baseball hat, if they are willing to stand mute or quibble over rhetorical styles while this administration wreaks havoc on this school, then we do not deserve to exist as a university.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This is What Being a Bully Looks Like. Willie Preston's Press Release

Friday, the unprovoked attack on a CSU student demonstrated the depths to which this administration and its flunkies have sunk. Since the beginning of Wayne Watson's tenure as Chicago State president, his administration has made a concerted effort to stifle any opposition, both from the faculty and from the students. There is no need to rehash the various and sometimes sophomoric attempts made by Watson and his minions but I think his pattern of bullying and oppression marks him as a true intellectual coward. Let me explain.

Chicago State University is ostensibly an institution of higher learning, dedicated to the search for intellectual honesty and, if possible, the revelation of truth. In such an environment, there is bound to be discord and disagreement. Indeed, some disagreements can become quite heated as individuals on different sides of an issue passionately extoll the virtues of their positions. Over the past several years, members of the Chicago State faculty have made what I believe is a solid case for Watson's mismanagement and questionable ethical practices. We have provided evidence to support our charges. In an intellectual environment, a viable administration would attempt to refute those charges with evidence of its own and the resulting exchange might even benefit the university, its students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Instead, what have we gotten? Glib sloganeering and empty rhetoric. Bullshit claims of raising "standards," increasing "accountability" and "responsibility." This seemed the tactic of choice until late 2012 when the president and his supporters began circulating anonymous and vicious attacks against sitting members of the Chicago State Board of Trustees Z. Scott and Gary Rozier, then University Provost Sandra Westbrooks, and of course, Faculty Senate President Phillip Beverly. In late February and March 2013, when some members of the board attempted to remove Watson as president, he hid behind a cadre of attorneys, ministers and political figures, apparently unable to articulate on his own a defense of his administration. Instead, we had to listen to his legal mouthpiece compare Watson's travails to those of Jesus or Martin Luther King. Perhaps the most telling evidence of Watson's intellectual vacuity came from his appearance on public television, where he appeared with his mouthpiece who managed to prevent his client from getting himself into trouble.

Ultimately, Watson succeeded in keeping his job. In short order, he fired Glenn Meeks and his administration intruded into the student election in the Spring of 2013. Ultimately, the Watson administration managed to get its chosen candidates into office by having his stooges invalidate the legitimate election results. What administration in any other U.S. university would take such an interest in what is essentially a function of student-run government? Likely none, however, Watson's desire to control all aspects of the university operation, particularly the "message" made it imperative that any potential dissenters be kept out of student government. Deploying the tools at his administration's disposal, Watson moved decisively against students who hold no power and possess few resources. If this is not bullying, what is?

Since Fall 2013, things have gotten far nastier. Willie Preston has been expelled from school and subjected to two arrests. The Watson administration has attacked the Faculty Senate through ridiculous trademark infringement claims. Currently, there is a "cyber-bullying" policy making its way through the board. Undoubtedly it will be approved. We'll see how that goes for the board and the university. If there is any doubt about the ethical bankruptcy of the Chicago State Board of Trustees, here's Chairman Anthony Young on Friday talking about Jokari Miller's arrest: "And before we go to our first matter, I'd like to state to everyone there was an unfortunate incident at the end of our morning session. All of the Trustees regret that incident and we'd like to avoid further incidents if at all possible. This is our board meeting, we don't think it's unreasonable to request for people not to wear hats, considering we're inside. If we ever had a board meeting outside, of course anyone could wear their hat, but we intend to publish a dress code for our meetings in time for the next meeting." Based on this comment, I must assume that Young thinks that choking and arresting someone is an entirely appropriate response to wearing a hat in violation of a non-existent dress code. What will the board do? Make the wearing of certain kinds of apparel a capital crime?

So this is the way Wayne Watson and his lackeys respond to dissent. They use the power of the university to stifle free expression. They engage student stooges to inveigh against the alleged abuse of free speech by Watson's opponents. They use the power of the state to attack and arrest critics. They use their political influence to insulate themselves against the potential adverse consequences of their actions--to good result so far. After all, this is just a university filled with African American students, who really cares about them? Certainly not the administration, the board, or to this point, anyone else in Illinois with the ability to stop this travesty. Cyber-bullying indeed, here at Chicago State, the oppressors position themselves as the oppressed.

This is a press release sent out by attorneys for Willie Preston and Brittany Bailey. We'll see if anyone in the media picks this up.