Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Should Wayne Watson Get Another Day? Are We Better Off Now Than We Were Five Years Ago?

Since today, June 30, 2014, marks the expiration date of Wayne Watson’s original contract as Chicago State’s president, it seems logical that we revisit President Watson’s contract and assess his performance. All the material referenced below is available in the public record, in fact, all of this evidence comes from the Chicago State website or the university’s published Internal Operating Budget. The assessment of President Watson’s performance will be based on the evaluation criteria established by the board in 2009:

Section 2.03 defines 9 general duties the president is charged with performing (2.03a through 2.03i). They include “general leadership for the university,” along with several general statements defining his role as the university president. Section 2.04.b. specifies the seven criteria by which the board will evaluate the president’s performance. These sections will provide the backdrop for this assessment.

The relevant statistical data on Chicago State’s enrollment and fiscal performance in the past five years follows:

1) Enrollment: 6820 in 2008-09 (the last year before President Watson took over Chicago State), 5701 in 2013, a decline of 16.4 percent
2) Enrollment of first-time, full-time Freshmen: 402 in 2008, 225 in 2013, a decrease of 44 percent.
3) Graduation rate for first-time, full-time Freshmen: 13.8 percent in 2008-09, 20.7 percent in 2012-13, an improvement of 50 percent.
4) Retention rate for first-time, full-time Freshmen: 57.7 percent in 2008-09, 54.8 percent in 2012-13, a decline of 5 percent
5) Audit Findings: Since 2010-11, Chicago State has had 120 audit findings, the most of any Illinois state institution. This number exceeds Illinois-Urbana-Champaign’s 111 total during the same period. Although the number of 2014 findings dropped sharply from the previous year, Chicago State, with 3 percent of the state’s university students, generated almost 19 percent of its audit findings. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolls about 8 times the number of students as Chicago State. Between 2003-09, Chicago State generated 74 audit findings. During the Watson presidency, audit findings have increased 38 percent.
6) Fundraising: Contributions to the CSU Foundation under President Watson have averaged $1.15 million since Fiscal 2010. Contributions from Fiscal 2003-08 (Fiscal 2009 is not included as the university president was an interim) averaged $2.13 million. During President Watson’s tenure, contributions have declined 46 percent.

Looking back over the past five years, President Watson’s performance looks like this:


1) Section 2.03: Wayne Watson has, in general, done what the board expected him to do in section 2.03. He has not been derelict in the performance of his general duties, although on a qualitative level, section 2.03.a. and 2.03.e. are not complete successes
2) As he points out often, President Watson presided over the university’s successful accreditation effort.
3) Section 2.04: Under President Watson, Chicago State has succeeded in raising the graduation rate for first-time, full-time Freshmen (2.04.b.(2)). In addition, the Pharmacy program has grown under his presidency, which may be considered a success under the somewhat opaque section 2.04.b.(4).
4) In some cases, on a departmental or individual level, President Watson has made a positive difference for particular faculty, students or staff.

1) Overall Enrollment: down 16.4 percent since 2008-09.
2) First-time, full-time Freshmen enrollment: down 44 percent since 2008-09.
3) First-time, full-time Freshmen retention rate: down 5 percent since 2008-09.
4) Contributions: down 46 percent since Fiscal 2008.
5) Audit Findings: up 38 percent since 2003-09.
6) Graduation rate for first-time, full-time Freshmen has declined slightly for the past three years, from 21 percent in 2011 to 20.7 percent in 2013. Overall, President Watson’s graduation rate is 18.5 percent. While this is an improvement, it still means that 4 out of 5 matriculating Freshmen will not graduate within six years, fodder for the university’s critics.
7) Relations with the faculty: while this is difficult to quantify, the Chicago State Faculty Senate has returned two nearly unanimous no-confidence votes in the president in 2012 and 2014. In addition, the Faculty Senate voted no-confidence in President Watson’s choice for Provost in 2014.
8) University’s Image--Relations with the media: Again, this is difficult to quantify but it seems reasonable to assert that Chicago State’s media image has deteriorated dramatically in the past five years. The Watson administration has generated a number of scandals and the president now speaks only to the sympathetic press, basically refusing to speak to the major city dailies.

As he has done consistently almost since the beginning of his presidency, Wayne Watson fails to perform adequately in sections 2.04.b.(1), 2.04.b.(3), 2.04.b(5-7). In addition, his success in 204.b.(2) is mitigated by the drop in enrollment for first-time, full-time Freshmen and the basically flat retention rate for that same student cohort.

As far as 2.03.a., “General Leadership for the University,” President Watson has demonstrated a number of troubling administrative practices that have resulted in dramatically increased administrative ranks and a remarkable centralization of administrative control in the president’s office. Some relevant data will reveal the accuracy of this assertion. This data is based on a comparison between the budget of 2008-09 and 2013-14:

First, remember that the university’s enrollment has declined by 16.4 percent during this time period. These positions are positions supported by either tax revenue or local income (tuition, etc.) and are part of the budget appropriation. Unappropriated positions are not included in this survey.

1) Budget for salaries: 2008, 56.6 million; 2014, 61.2 million. An increase of 11.6 percent.
2) Overall university budget: 2008, 69.6 million; 2014, 83.9 million. An increase of 20.6 percent.
3) Positions classified as administrative: 2008, 177; 2014, 236. An increase of 33 percent.
4) Administrative salaries: 2008, $13.6 million; 2014, $17.5 million. An increase of 28.7 percent.
5) Tenure, tenure-track faculty positions: 2008, 233; 2014, 207. A decrease of 11.2 percent.
6) Civil Service positions: 2008, 347; 2014, 327. A decrease of 5.8 percent.
7) Total positions: 2008, 757; 2014, 770. An increase of 1.7 percent.

Along with the dramatic increase in Chicago State’s administrative ranks has come a reorganization of the university’s budget units, putting more and more control directly into the hands of President Watson.

In 2008, the university’s budget included 6 budget divisions with 170 sub-units. In 2014, the budget shows 4 divisions with 162 sub-units. The following tables demonstrate the changes from 2009 to 2014:

Several things about these numbers stand out. First, the president’s office has absorbed a number of sub-units previously existing elsewhere. Most notable are the University Police (from Labor and Legal Affairs), Buildings and Grounds (From Administration and Finance) and of course Labor and Legal Affairs is no longer a free-standing budget division, but part of the president’s office. The percentage of aggregate salary increases from 2008 to 2014 for the various sub-units are as follows: Salaries in the president’s office have increased 395 percent; for academic affairs, 7.9 percent; for Enrollment Management, a 48.3 percent increase. In contrast, for Administration and Finance, salaries decreased by 41.5 percent.

The sum of all this is that Wayne Watson’s performance as Chicago State’s president has resulted in more failures than successes and his willful transformation of the university into a haven for well-connected administrative hires seems directly related to a number of the woes experienced by the school. While Wayne Watson has failed to achieve the goals set for him by Chicago State’s board, he has clearly been successful in dramatically increasing the administrative ranks while the school bleeds students. Do you think we’re better off now than we were five years ago?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How About a Mass Resignation Tomorrow?

Tomorrow is another Board of Trustees meeting. Instead of the usual humdrum fare, how about if three of the major architects of the disaster that has become Chicago State resign? For the good of the institution of course. Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if Wayne Watson and his two cronies, Angela Henderson and Cheri Sidney finally dropped the pretense of being university administrators and threw in the towel? I have made this argument consistently and believe that all the evidence to support the cessation of university employment for these three is warranted. However, new evidence continues to reveal itself. At this point, I will depart from my usual practice of posting complete documents and just say that a recent report from an unimpeachable source provides additional justification for the termination of all three.

During his term at Chicago State, Wayne Watson has received numerous accolades for his greatness from organizations with which he had close relationships or personal ties with officials. The judgement by independent observers of his administrative performance has been slightly less fulsome. Here are a couple of tantalizing passages from the (right now) closely held document which, in the spirit of transparency, Watson has apparently not shared with the Board:

As you will undoubtedly note, I have redacted much of this information. However, I think the gist of the comments is apparent. It is past time for these tiresome people to leave this institution.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is the First Amendment Alive and Well at CSU???

So I am curious whether my learned colleague Dr. Bionaz is maintaining the requisite civility standards for this forum. Should he wonder about whether the First Amendment still resides on state property I offer the following for consideration. From the Albuquerque Journal, this story gives me hope that the Constitution is not a suggestion but a reality.
It also gave me pause to consider that it appears that a pattern is forming with regard to a state institution not responding to Freedom of Information Act requests as required by law. Your humble narrator submitted two FOIA requests, one on June 11th, and the second on June 17th. It is the latter request that I am very concerned about.
"(5 ILCS 140/3) (d) Each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request, unless the time for response is properly extended under subsection (e) of this Section. Denial shall be in writing as provided in Section 9 of this Act. Failure to comply with a written request, extend the time for response, or deny a request within 5 business days after its receipt shall be considered a denial of the request. A public body that fails to respond to a request within the requisite periods in this Section but thereafter provides the requester with copies of the requested public records may not impose a fee for such copies. A public body that fails to respond to a request received may not treat the request as unduly burdensome under subsection (g)."

As this reference will attest, the university has 5 business days to respond and as of this post I have received no response from the university. This constitutes a denial of the request under the statute. This is the third request that has gone unresponded to this year. The Attorney General's office has already responded to my first request for review.
What is of the gravest concern to me is the content of the request. As you will see below I am requesting information that has a safety/security component that affects the entire university community. 

Highlighted sections are mine

If people are being banned from campus, then as a member of the campus community, don't I have a responsibility to know who these dangerous miscreants are so that I may dutifully report them to the authorities so that everyone will be safe and no one's feelings will be hurt? I understand state resources are constantly on guard to protect certain administration officials from harm or insults or dirty looks. Hardly what police officers signed up to do I would imagine. 
Yes, loyal readers, you may be as dubious as I am about members of the campus community and/or members of the public being banned from a state university but I am most concerned about the process that led to them being banned in the first place. Please note in my request the second bullet. It seems to me that if someone is banned and there is no policy for banning them that a 14th Amendment due process suit against the university could be in the offing. As officers of the university have fiduciary responsibility for the institution, I would dare say that anyone who participated in such a decision might not be protected under state law. Just a guess because as you my loyal readers know, I only play an attorney in my own imagination much like this regime plays at being university administrators.
I, of course, expect that after my request for review is received, I will be told there are no records responsive to my request, which would then beg the question, are there any persons banned from CSU at all and if there are no records responsive to my request and any of these unrecorded "banned" individuals shows up on campus then what happens. I am curious if the university intentionally chose not to mention its compliance with what I would assume is university policy, to the Higher Learning Commission in its recently submitted monitoring report.

Redactions are mine

It could put the university at risk for another lawsuit and as everybody knows the insurance certainly won't pay for that one.
Loyal readers, do stay tuned to see how this turns out. Maybe your humble narrator will end up on the banned list as well and will need to perform his duties from outside of the confines of this most venerable , (apologies) vulnerable institution.

Monday, June 23, 2014

When Do We Find Out About the New Provost? Will it be our Plagiarizer in Chief?

Since the information about Angela Henderson’s plagiarized doctoral dissertation surfaced in January, Wayne Watson and the Chicago State administration have been basically silent on the matter (save for accusing Watson’s opposition of doing “everything they can to undermine” members of the administration). Now, following a $100,000 search, there is still no announcement whether or not Angela Henderson will be the new permanent Provost at Chicago State. How can she even be considered? I will argue that she should be categorically rejected as a candidate for this or any other administrative position and fired from the university.

There has been no affirmative defense of Henderson’s academic dishonesty. Excuses abound: she only forgot a few citations; she had her FERPA rights violated; the charges are nothing more than “allegations.” Also in response, the Chicago State administration has reportedly “gotten” copies of other faculty dissertations, including mine and Phil Beverly’s—obviously to examine those works for possible plagiarism. According to one administrator, the administration is currently looking at C.V.’s of past Provosts to determine how Henderson’s qualifications stack up against those persons. Of course, none of this addresses the issue of her cheating. In fact, she does not deserve to hold a position at this or any other university. She has not earned that privilege and she did not earn her Ph.D.

In order to support my contentions, I have quantified Henderson’s cheating. First, there a number of irregularities in her dissertation: obviously plagiarized sentences and passages, a “padded” bibliography and textual references. Although the PDF of the dissertation runs 149 pages, the majority of its textual material appears on pages 1-49. Since pages 4-10 are devoted to a discussion of the purpose of the study, the articulation of several hypotheses, a list of definitions and diagrams describing the study’s “conceptual model,” that leaves pages 1-3 and 11-49 (a total of 42 pages) as written text that includes a discussion of literature relevant to the study. An overview of the dissertation reveals that irregularities appear on 36 (85.7 percent) of those pages.

When I began looking at Henderson’s dissertation on December 14, 2013, I quickly realized that it was extensively plagiarized. Obviously, perfection is not the scholarly standard in any discipline although writers should take pains to insure that borrowed material and ideas are properly cited and that material appearing in the text should also appear in the bibliography. If I had found two or three passages that were incorrectly cited or one or two references that did not appear in the bibliography, I would have considered those to be simple mistakes—sloppy but not dishonest. However, what I found was a consistent and repeated pattern of sentences and passages that were obviously taken verbatim from other textual sources, without either quotations or page numbers. This pattern included obviously plagiarized material that I found on 28 of the 42 pages (66.7 percent) I referenced earlier.

In total, there are 45 full sentences and an additional 39 passages, some lengthy, plagiarized on those 42 pages. Henderson’s plagiarism ranges from simply failing to put exact language into quotation marks and referencing appropriate pages to the more serious offense of lifting whole passages from works that are ultimately not cited and presenting that material as her original review of the literature. The following table offers a page-by-page breakdown of the plagiarism in Henderson’s dissertation. I believe it speaks for itself:

As the table demonstrates, on those 42 pages, Henderson’s dissertation includes 77 references to works that are not included in her bibliography. In Henderson’s bibliography are 111 references to literary works. Only 66 of these (60 percent) appear in her text. Thus, Henderson’s bibliography and in-text references are highly suspect.

Almost all of the administrative rhetoric regarding this situation has been circulated in a back-handed way, often through the use of innuendo. In fact, Angela Henderson is not a victim in this situation. She submitted a doctoral dissertation rife with plagiarism and other examples of academic fraud. The University of Illinois at Chicago conferred upon her a degree she does not deserve, that she did not earn and now Wayne Watson seems poised to reward her for her perfidy. Just one look at the C.V.’s of the other candidates for the Provost’s job reveals Henderson’s unfitness for the position—plagiarism aside. However, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which Wayne Watson would bring to Chicago State someone with academic and administrative credentials surpassing his meager achievements. This seems to leave only one option.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Suckering the Illinois State Legislature: Wayne Watson Puts Lipstick on a Pig, Fooling the Rubes

As most regular readers know, this forum has given considerable attention to the enrollment decreases that have plagued Chicago State since the beginning of the Watson administration. The numbers are familiar: from a peak of 7362 in fall 2010 (the beginning of Watson’s first full year as president), enrollment dropped to 5701 in fall 2013 (fall numbers are the official enrollment numbers reported to IBHE and IPEDS). This decline represents a 22.6 percent downward trend. Since I have presented these numbers as aggregate totals, the time seems propitious for a more detailed analysis of where the enrollment problems exist at Chicago State. All of the material that follows is drawn from either the Chicago State 2013 Factbook, or the 2015 ISL Forms, both available on the Chicago State website.

Graduate enrollment has declined from 1687 students in fall 2010 to 1361 graduate students in Fall 2013, a drop of 19.3 percent. Undergraduate enrollment dropped during the same period from 5675 to 4340 students, a 23.5 percent decrease. Demographically, almost the entire drop of 1661 students between 2010 and 2013 is attributable to a dramatic decrease in the number of Black students (1633 total) in the last three years. All other demographic groups combined decreased by 28 students over that three-year period. Thus, the decline in Black enrollment at Chicago State since 2010 stands at 28 percent, the decline in the enrollment for all other demographic groups is 1.8 percent.

As far as enrollments in the individual colleges are concerned, every one lost students, except for the College of Pharmacy, a relatively new program in 2010. The College of Arts and Sciences declined from 2549 to 2350 (7.8 percent); the College of Business from 714 to 626 (12.3 percent); the College of Education from 1391 to 804 (42.2 percent); Special Programs like the now defunct Board of Governors degree program dropped from 1112 to 447 (59.8 percent); the College of Health Sciences decreased from 1023 to 955 (6.6 percent); the College of Pharmacy grew from 266 to 358 (a 34.6 percent increase); and Unclassified students dropped from 307 to 161 (52.4 percent). Primarily because of the severe enrollment declines in the College of Education and Special Programs, the College of Arts and Sciences saw its share of the university’s population grow from 34.6 percent to 41.2 percent from 2010 to 2013.

You would not know any of this if you read the university’s 2015 Fiscal Year report to the Illinois State Legislature. In a memorandum from the President’s Office, Chicago State's administration provides “a few examples of how Chicago State University continues to improve school readiness and success.” A laundry list of endeavors follows. The memorandum extolls the university’s “significant increase in its fall to fall retention rate,” using the fall 2011 and fall 2012 entering Freshmen classes as data for its assertion. The memorandum goes on to claim “Increased enrollment of students in its new programs Masters of Science in Public Health and Masters of Science in Nursing in Fall 2013,” and provides “Enrollment Metrics” as a gauge for measuring the success of its enrollment, retention and graduation goals. Any legislators reading this rosy analysis would think things were going well at Chicago State. However, a look at the actual figures demonstrates the emptiness of Watson’s claims. They seem to fool the rubes in Springfield, however.

Looking at the figures for retention rates reveals that the university experienced a drop in First-time full-time Freshman enrollment of 169 (432 to 263 or 39.1 percent) students between fall 2011 and fall 2012. This number dropped further, to 225 in fall 2013. Thus, the modest increase in retention is offset by the drop in the total number of full-time Freshmen. Altogether, enrollment of first-time Freshmen has decreased from 523 to 225 from 2010 to 2013, a drop of 57 percent. As far as the Master’s programs cited by Watson, the 2013 Factbook does not even record any enrollments for the Master of Science in Nursing, while the Master of Public Health increased from 4 students in 2011 to 17 in 2013, hardly offsetting the aggregate drop of 241 graduate students during a similar time period. Finally, Watson uses the nonsensical “metric” of admissions to assure the Illinois legislature that all is well with Chicago State's enrollment. The memorandum attributes the school's success in this area to “a newly established outreach department and their efforts to rebuild, reengage, expand and introduce partnerships to the Chicago community.” Unfortunately, despite sharp increases in applications and admissions, students are not attending Chicago State. A glance at the 2013 Factbook demonstrates that clearly: while admissions are up, enrollments are down.

While readers are free to draw their own conclusions as to the meaning of this data, I suggest that two things stand out: 1) predictably, Watson is putting the best light possible on disastrous enrollment trends. This includes cherry-picking data to make ridiculously attenuated claims of success. 2) the constituency most affected by the Chicago State’s problems of the last three years are Black students, who are simply providing their assessment of Watson’s effectiveness by leaving the university in droves. As I have stressed in previous posts, the enrollment decline at this school is potentially catastrophic. Does anyone believe that our current administration will be able to staunch the bleeding?

Friday, June 20, 2014

How We Safeguard the Public Trust: Budget Magic at Chicago State

As a continuation of my earlier posts on the budget sleight-of-hand here at Chicago State, I offer a look at the past three fiscal years. Public budgets are designed to be transparent. Monetary amounts are attached to specific budget lines which have been approved by public bodies. These monetary amounts, or appropriations, provide the observer with a detailed description of how a public entity spends public funds. Or at least, that should be the case.

Here at Chicago State, our budget is a little more opaque. In fact, for the past three years, our administration has spent over $5 million to pay administrative and faculty salaries for positions that the university has never requested from the Illinois State Legislature. As I noted in my previous post, the administration is able to do this by moving money from a variety of accounts to fund these salaries. Altogether, in the past three years, Wayne Watson and his administration have hired at least 29 persons into positions which have apparently never been approved by the Board of Trustees or requested from the state. At the beginning of fiscal 2014, 21 individuals still occupied these unrequested positions. Here is the breakdown of expenditures by fiscal year:

The average salary of these positions year-by-year comes to around $100,000. The following table illustrates:

What do these figures demonstrate? In my estimation, the use of temporary funding for what are essentially permanent positions is designed to obscure the way the university’s administration spends tax dollars. This administration is and has been committed to the growth of its ranks and these budget shell games make that possible without the scrutiny of either the Board or the state. The fact that the Chicago State administration is able to come up with $5.3 million dollars for unappropriated administrative salaries seems to render dubious its claims of fiscal distress.

One of the documents I recently received through FOIA requests demonstrates how the administration creates positions then moves money around to serve other purposes. In this case, the administration created a position for an Associate Internal Auditor, moved money into that position (at this point from an unknown account), then decided the money was better spent on another lawyer for the university.

Obviously, at Chicago State, there is quite a bit of money. Particularly to increase our bloated administrative ranks.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Time for Congratulations

In response to Phillip's recent post, here is the list of our nine faculty colleagues who earned tenure in May:

Ehab Abourashed
Anser Azim
Abir El-Alfy
Nadeem Fazal
Miguel Fernandez
Tonya Hall
Troy Harden
Kelly Harris
Jamilah Jor’dan
Kamesha Khan

Congratulations to each of you and thanks for all you do for the university.

Also, congratulations to my colleague and long-time friend, Lionel Kimble, who has recently gotten a book contract from the SIU press.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Threading Troubling Thoughts Together

So, loyal readers, several items have come to my attention. I know I am considered a rambling, disgruntled employee by the regime so I will attempt to tie together the following thoughts in cogent and coherent theme.
First, I have been very disturbed by the treatment of faculty who received tenure this year. For those of you unfamiliar with the tenure process, it is the culmination of an apprenticeship period lasting up to six years where a probationary faculty member demonstrates to his/her colleagues their competence, skill, and ability to serve the institution as a tenured faculty member. The annual evaluations in that period can be stressful as the standards and expectations increase. Probationary faculty find their time consumed with the demands of service and research competing with their primary duties. Balancing work life and personal life can be challenging as well so when the tenure portfolio is submitted, the stress is often at its highest point. Typically at some point in April of the 6th year, the university president sends a letter to each faculty member informing them of the university’s intention to recommend to the Board of Trustees that they be awarded tenure. This letter serves a couple of purposes. First, it is a pressure relief valve for the faculty member. The pressure is relieved and for the first time in six years, the faculty member’s summer break may not be consumed with the pursuit of tenure. Second, it is an acknowledgment of the institution of the work put forth by the faculty member; a sort of “atta boy.’ Finally, it's just good form to act like a professional administrator, not someone playing at being a president. This year I surveyed several of my colleagues who applied for tenure and none of them received notification from the university about the intention to put them forward or not. Another concerned faculty colleague sent me an email voicing the same concern so I realized it wasn’t just me.
This comes on the heels of the university granting only two sabbaticals to faculty in clear violation of the faculty contract. Again, it appears as if the president is thumbing his nose at faculty.There are standard practices in the academy that should be adhered to. Some may be viewed as arcane, yet nearly everything in life is contextual and in the context of the academy not notifying faculty members in advance has the potential to send unintended messages not just to the untenured but to all faculty. The message I received was one of disrespect and contempt by this administration for faculty. So let me extend my congratulations to our newest, unnamed tenured colleagues. That no congratulatory messages appeared on the university’s homepage is continuing evidence in my mind that faculty accomplishment or performance is of little concern to an administration riddled with incompetence and plagued by scandal.
To wit, what happened to the Director of Financial Aid? Is it true she was expected by Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management to work on Mother’s Day and she declined that offer? Or might her departure have something to do with not being allowed to fulfill the responsibilities of her position, namely supervising an Assistant Director who lacked the minimum qualifications for the job? How does the Assistant Director, Ms. Austin, not report to the Director but reports to the Associate Vice President? Very curious indeed!
Which brings us to the question of reporting. Now that the Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management has been requested to pursue other career opportunities outside of the university, does that mean that the $113,000 per year Associate Vice President will assume those duties and consequently report to the President? If so, Ms. Sidney would be reporting to someone she has been romantically linked to which is highly inappropriate and could constitute an ethics violation if my ten years of annual ethics training is to be believed. I am sure that any University Ethics officer would provide an opinion, in writing, stating that it is inappropriate 1) to hire someone you are romantically involved with, 2) promote someone you are romantically involved with, and/or 3) have someone you are romantically involved with report directly to you. I am sure that any university general counsel would point out that it creates legal liability for the institution to engage in such conduct and thus must be avoided. I am sure that any Chief Financial Officer of a university would, in their capacity of protecting the financial assets of the institution, advise against such behavior, much like the now terminated Glenn Meeks did. So maybe an updated organization chart and score card with reporting lines and lists of interim positions could be issued to clear up any confusion.
And speaking of confusion, your humble narrator has heard nothing on the status of the search for a non-interim, terminal degree holding provost. After spending more than $100,000 on this search, I am dubious that the outcome will be any different than the search that yielded the incumbent president in 2009. My loyal readers may recall that it was the Hollins Group that was paid $75,000 to conduct a national search that found two candidates who were within a few miles of the university. So much for national searches.
As a side note, I attempted to see a list of the applicants for the last presidential search through a routine Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. I was told by the university that they had no records responsive to my request. Hmmm, having no records of who applied for the position of university president sounds like a failure in records management. If the university can’t keep records like a list of 33 applicants, what would lead the regime to believe they could be substantively involved in the Obama Presidential Library?
Back to Provost search, maybe a look to decentralization would be good for the regime. What if the president did away with the position of Provost and made each college responsible for its own academic activities? That way he wouldn’t have to worry about hiring someone with unimpeachable academic credentials, a verifiable terminal degree or any experience managing a university’s academic enterprise. He could create a new unfunded position, shift money from other budget lines, create minimal qualifications for the position, have a search that is open for one day and hire someone that he knows well. And maybe it could be someone who has a relationship to his own personal legal counsel. That way, untoward things could be kept out of public view so as not to embarrass the institution or parties involved. That way, the Board of Trustees can continue to have the highest confidence in the president and his vision for the university.
And finally, back to FOIA requests. I submitted a FOIA request on April 2nd, 2014. 

Under FOIA, 5 ILCS 140/3 Sec 3d “ Each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request, unless the time for response is properly extended under subsection (e) of this Section. Denial shall be in writing as provided in Section 9 of this Act.” Imagine my surprise when I hadn’t received a response to this request by May 30th, 2014. I was left with no recourse but to contact the Office of the Attorney General and submit a request for review for which I received a prompt response. It stated in part, “...we request that CSU provide a written explanation of its receipt and handling of Mr. Beverly’s  April 2, 2014 FOIA request.” Further, “...please provide this information to our office within seven (7) business days after receipt of this letter. As we review this matter, we will advise you if we require additional information.” I would hope that my experience of the university is singular and that what was reported to the HLC as far as communications improvement was accurate. Based on my experiences, I would suggest that a focus visit is in order to more comprehensively examine our much reported compliance and communications deficiencies.

What, might you think, is the thread that ties together each of these thoughts? Is it that each indicates some level of failure on the part of the administration? Failure to respect faculty, failure to respect staff, and failure to respect governing policies and state laws are but one thread tying all of these together. Another is the inaction of the Board of Trustees, state legislators and the governor to protect the investment of the taxpayers of the State of Illinois. These practices are unacceptable in the academy and they are what inevitably dooms the university.
So as we grind inexorably toward utter disintegration as a university, I implore you loyal readers to keep faith that our university will weather the storm of this failed regime, though the institution may end up burned to the ground, it has the ability to recover, like a phoenix, to continue to serve those we have served for decades.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Battered, Choked and Arrested at a Public Meeting. Why You Should Contribute Whatever You Can to the Defense Fund at:

As a follow-up to Pancho’s post, I am asking as many of you as possible to contribute to the defense fund set up to help Willie Preston and Jokari Miller defend themselves from the university’s attempt to use the police and the courts to shut them up. Jokari Miller’s arrest documents demonstrate why your support is vital.

Here’s the FOIA request I submitted to Chicago State University on May 15,2014:

Here’s the university’s response. Note particularly Chicago State’s response to requests 1, and 4-8:

Here’s a copy of the police arrest narrative:

In my estimation, the notable portions of this response are several: 1) given the FOIA request, there are apparently no supplemental reports or witness statements included in the document package created by the police; 2) although the university seems to have security tapes of the incident, they are withholding them based on the assertion of exemptions that I have asked the Public Access Counselor to review; 3) the narrative report differs markedly from accounts provided by witnesses to the incident. In particular, there is no mention of the police officer applying a carotid restraint or “choke hold” to “subdue” Jokari Miller; 4) there is no extant Chicago State police policy permitting the use of the carotid restraint; 5) the Chicago State police department has no record of any training in the use of the carotid restraint for the arresting officer or any of its sworn personnel; 6) although the carotid restraint is potentially lethal if improperly applied and, in certain cases even if correctly applied), the Chicago State police failed to have Jokari Miller examined by a physician after the application of the hold.

The carotid restraint, permitted by most police agencies in the 1970s and 1980s, was and is highly controversial because of its potential deadly consequences. If improperly applied, the bones in the throat can be crushed. Even when properly applied, the potential exists for subsequent heart failure because of the over-stimulation of the vagus nerve. In my academy training, I learned the technique for the carotid restraint then never used it in nearly 23 years of law enforcement work. Frankly, as a form of “non-lethal” restraint, I found that its risks far outweighed its potential benefits.

If you agree that initiating a confrontation then choking and arresting a student because he or she is wearing a baseball hat at a public meeting is somewhat heavy-handed, and/or if you agree that ginning up orders of protection then criminal charges to file against another outspoken student critic of the administration is out of proportion to the alleged offense, please help.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Help Fund the Preston/Miller Defense Fund

We are all aware that Wayne’s administration does not tolerate dissent or even questions about his behaviors, policies and procedures.  The numerous attacks against dissent, many of which have been detailed on this blog and others which remain unexamined, are well known.  Anyone who has raised a question about a policy or procedure at CSU since Wayne’s reign began knows what I am talking about.  The retaliation firings and crony hirings illustrate the point well.

The most egregious cases of retaliation are currently making their way through the court systems as Wayne and his minions have engaged in the dirtiest of politics whereby they have accused students of illegal behaviors with the collusion of the campus police leadership; namely “Chief” Watson and campus enforcer, Mike Jones.  Willie Preston campaigned for student government President on a platform that included investigating how Wayne and FOWs (Friends of Wayne) were using their power to benefit themselves.  Wayne used his influence over students (namely, money) to instigate a series of events that lead to Willie being expelled from the university, having an order of protection against him by “Provost” Henderson, and eventually being charged with violating the order.  He is truly fighting for his livelihood, to stay out of jail and to continue to be a father and husband.  His next court date is scheduled for 9am on June 11 at 555 W. Harrison.  Please consider supporting him and fighting for him as he fought for all of us at CSU.

The latest attack occurred at the last Board of Trustees meeting in which Wayne and “Chief” Watson felt it necessary to demonstrate their power by demanding that student, Jokari Miller, remove his baseball cap.  In typical fashion the Watsons would not tolerate dissent as Mr. Miller refused to remove his cap and began letting all in attendance know about how they were once again attacking free speech and expression.  The minions including Farah Muscadin and police agents swooped in to silence Miller.  This led to police abuse including “Officer” Mike Jones placing Miller in a potentially fatal chokehold.  The incident led to an arrest but not the arrest of the extremely violent Jones and partner, Sawyer.  Instead, Miller was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.  Like Preston, Miller has been a constant fighter in the struggle to improve our university.  Like Preston, Miller is facing serious charges.

These incidents vividly illustrate Wayne’s politics.  He wants to hide his crimes and misbehaviors through intimidation, fear and attacks on free speech and expression.  Those who do not bend to his will will be punished.  Those of us who write for this blog or question him in committees or in public know this tactic well.  Ask Professor Madhubuti about his ordeal or Jim Crowley or Glenn Meeks or a number of lower-level administrators who have been fired for not doing Wayne’s dirty work.

The administration has been attacking Willie and Jokari and is now trying to railroad them in the courts.  They are using the university’s resources, our resources, to do so. This is obviously unfair.  Many believe this to be racist.  Would this be tolerated at a predominantly white university or if the two students were not Black men? Willie has found good legal representation and Jokari is still searching but they do not have the money to pay for it. If we think that what is being done to them is wrong, then we have a responsibility to contribute as we can to their defense; otherwise the university will win, and Willie, Jokari and their families will be further harmed; as will all of us as a victory for Wayne over these students will embolden him in his efforts to ruin our university  So I am asking you now to take a moment to make a contribution—as you are able—to the defense fund at   Please do not put this off. It will be an important help to the struggle against injustice at Chicago State.