Monday, September 29, 2014

Meeting Changes???

So a little bird in the administration tweeted to me that the Provost's Council meeting is changing its structure to only include deans. I, of course, can neither confirm nor deny this given the fact that I was unceremoniously prevented from attending the last meeting. If true, this would free lower level administrators from the agony that is that meeting. Most often chaired by the Chief Plagiarizing Officer (CPO), this farce of academic bureaucracy has degenerated into nothing more than a weekly opportunity of university dress up. And if you wish to see the analysis of the plagiarism, feel free to visit our Google site. The link is on the right side of our main page. Reducing the number of people forced to witness her incredible incompetence is actually a blessing for those who have been tortured in those meetings, when not canceled, since July of 2013. Long serving members of that body, I am sure lament, the disintegration of professionalism in that office and must long for the days of Dr. Westbrooks unflappable leadership. What's worse than Henderson's incompetence on display is the sheer arrogance she exudes as she pretends to be a university administrator. I didn't think her wholly unsatisfactory performance as Enrollment Management Vice President could be surpassed, yet she has demonstrated fully and completely that she has no grasp of university administration, or the academic enterprise. I would hope that the rumors of her verbal mistreatment of subordinates are untrue as that would call into question her carefully crafted persona of meek and mild administrator about town. It could further lead to charges of the creation of a hostile work environment. I would hope that the inevitable depositions in the pending and upcoming lawsuits don't reveal a pattern of behavior like the one I witnessed having a door slammed in my face. Maybe with fewer attendees, actual work will get done in that office and it won't continue to be a black hole where paperwork goes in and doesn't come out. The Potemkin Village continues, a charade to be witnessed by all. 
On another note, thanks to all who have availed themselves of our email address, csufacultyvoice@gmail.com. I won't be able to answer all of the messages, but definitely keep them coming. If you wish to share anything with us, please feel free.

C.V. for Dean of Arts and Sciences Candidate

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, I have a copy of the C.V. for Dr. Edward J. Jarroll, candidate for Arts and Sciences Dean who will be on campus Friday, October 3, 2014. The C.V. is long so I will not post it, but if you're interested in a copy, I can send you one. Simply sent me an e-mail at rbionaz@att.net.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Correction: We Actually Owe Mr. Crowley $3,841,166.90. Sort of Like the National Debt, the Number Just Keeps Climbing.

In the interests of accuracy, I've done some additional research and found that my figures were too low. The interest on the damages and back pay is 9 percent and it began on March 11. Thus, the total interest so far is at least $147,303.80. That brings the current price tag to $3,841,166.90. I'm betting this is going to cost the university in excess of $5 million. What do you think?

The James Crowley Scoreboard: As of September 27, 2014, we Owe Mr. Crowley $3,701,310.70 (and more every day). One of Wayne's Proudest Achievements.

As a courtesy to our readers, we offer the James Crowley scoreboard. The scoreboard provides up-to-date information on the approximate cost to Chicago State University of the Crowley case. As some of you may know, on August 28, the judge awarded Crowley "front-pay" to begin immediately and continue until the case is finalized. The forces of good (Wayne Watson, Patrick Cage and their unfortunate legal representatives) have decided to throw good money after bad and appeal the case. This decision results in a daily increase of the final price tag. Based on the August 28, 2014 opinion from Judge McCarthy, the cost to the university on that date would have been $3,684,000. Broken down like this:

• For the university’s defense: $346,000 (this amount will increase significantly)
• For the cost of Crowley’s attorneys: $318,000 (this amount will increase significantly)
• For the punitive damages caused by Watson and Cage: $2,000,000 (this amount will not increase)
• For Crowley’s back pay: $960,000 (this amount will not increase)
• For interest on the damages and back pay: $60,000 (this amount will not increase)

However, because of McCarthy’s “front-pay” order, the university is obligated to compensate Crowley $120,000 per year until the conclusion of the case. This works out to $328.77 per day. In addition, the university will be paying interest on the balance (absent attorney’s costs), which at 3 percent per year works out to $248.22 per day. So, as of September 27, here is the total amount owed James Crowley:

• Original judgment: $3,684,000.
• Back pay: $9863.10
• Interest: $7446.60

This brings the total on the scoreboard for September 27, 2014 to: $3,701,310.70. And counting. Again, congratulations to Wayne Watson and Patrick Cage for bringing us this disgrace, and to the Chicago State Board of Trustees for not putting an end to this farce and this administration. How much will we eventually have to pay? For Wayne and his friends, the sky is the limit. I will provide regular updates here on the scoreboard.


If You Want a Textbook Model of Hypocrisy, Look at the Lead "News" Article on the Chicago State Website.

Take a look at the university website. The lead "news" article features Kevin Pinkston, currently an adjunct Sociology professor (I believe). It is my understanding that in 2013, after an exhaustive search, the Sociology department wanted to hire Pinkston into a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor. Intervening (as always) in the hiring process, Wayne Watson decided he was not good enough for such a position. Also, when the Director of the African American Male Resource Center took an extended leave, Angela Henderson apparently offered Pinkston that position as an interim replacement. Wayne Watson vetoed that idea. Now, however, a Sun-Times article about Professor Pinkston is on the university website. The hypocrisy of rejecting this person for a faculty position then cynically exploiting his connection to Chicago State is simply breathtaking. What is next, a reprinted article on James Crowley or Glenn Meeks?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Problem With Chicago State's Enrollment: Wayne Watson's Administration. Cheri Sidney Goes in Front of the Board and Parrots Talking Points and Nonsense that Obscures Substantive Problems

As we start another school year, it is obvious that we are experiencing another disastrous decline in our student population. It is also obvious that none of the persons tasked with addressing this problem are going to be able to do that. At last Friday’s board meeting, Cheri Sidney had to deliver the bad news to Chicago State’s oblivious trustees that enrollment at the university had decreased nearly 10 percent. While Sidney’s pathetic effort to spin the reasons for the continuing avalanche of bad enrollment numbers may have satisfied the board members, it also underscored the utter incompetence of the Watson administration and its complete lack of understanding of how universities work.

Before getting into Sidney’s remarks, some background information is useful. This year, Enrollment Management (read the Watson administration) established an arbitrary goal of 5872 students for Chicago State’s Fall 2014 enrollment. The administration arrived at that figure by a very simple method: it multiplied the Fall 2013 enrollment of 5701 by 3 percent. Additionally, the administration also apparently decided that each department should increase its enrollment by the same 3 percent figure. I do not remember any communication to our department about this expected increase, does anyone else?

As someone who has acquired a rudimentary acquaintance with social science methods, I question what data the university used to arrive at that particular goal? There are a number of possibilities: historical quantitative data and qualitative trend data spring immediately to mind. Some examples of the kind of data used by university enrollment management operations are available in a publication called Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly. An article in its inaugural issue (April 4, 2013) written by Donald Hossler and David Kalsbeek describe the charge of enrollment management sections thusly:

At its core, enrollment management uses a wide range of applied social science research methods and models of strategic planning and analysis to achieve its enrollment goals. This includes research that measures an institution's competitive market position relative to other institutions, that assesses how a campus is perceived by prospective students, that explores why students do or do not matriculate, and that seeks to understand why and how students progress to graduation, drop out, or transfer.

Of course, the Enrollment Management “team” apparently does not have anyone familiar with “social science research methods.” To the best of my knowledge, there is no systematic data collection or analysis for most of the components of what should be the “core” tasks of a viable enrollment management section. How many of the questions emanating from the above sub-parts are our enrollment management specialists able to answer? Not many, judging by Sidney’s recent performance in front of the board.

Instead, Sidney relied upon stale talking points to again pull the wool over the eyes of our board members. Here are her remarks of September 19, 2014 (they begin around the 57 minute mark of the first recorded segment):

"Chicago State University is still in the mold (mode?) of right-sizing our enrollment from a decade-plus of enrollment data integrity challenges, policy and procedure standards that were not conducted or executed properly and new federal aid changes to financial aid that had a disparate impact to students that attend HBCU’s and PBI’s. The university’s overall enrollment for Fall ’14 is, our goal was for Fall ’14 was 5872 students. As of 9-18, the university’s enrollment is 5196 students, which reflects a 9 percent decline, or 505 students. There are some external and internal challenges that we have dealt with, as it relates to our enrollment. Some of the external factors include: the changes within the Department of Education over the last four years which have reduced or eliminated funding, creating a financial hardship for some of our students. The university has proactively tried to address some of these challenges and one of the things that we’ve implemented is what we call the Educational Assistance Fund .. . (which) specifically targets students who have been impacted by some of those financial aid challenges, as it relates to exhausting their federal financial aid."

"Some of the internal factors that affect our enrollment are our own policies and procedures. These are policies and procedures that we continue to review and address as we align our strategic goals of enrollment with serving the students and adhering to the university standards. For example: the university has a drop process. Students who have not been able to make a payment for the current term, those students are dropped until they can make a payment. This year or this term alone, we dropped 618 students, 259 of those students are not reinstated as of this date. We also adhere to our academic standard policies. And again, this is something that as of two years ago was not happening. . . . This year we dropped 224 students, were dropped for academic standing, of which 191 were not reinstated."

This is a list that could have come directly from the lips of Wayne Watson: Starting out with the hackneyed and meaningless “right-sizing,” Sidney progresses through a litany of exculpatory comments about the problems of previous administrations and concludes with Watson’s nonsensical “raising standards” argument.

Angela Henderson then chimes in with ridiculous comments. Ignoring the fact that the budget sub-unit responsible for raising retention and graduation rates (sub-unit 434) resided in Enrollment Management until the most recent (Fiscal 2015) iteration of the budget when it appears under Academic Affairs, Henderson says “Retention is not Enrollment Management”! She then apportions blame for retention problems among the Deans, Chairs, Program Directors and Faculty and reminds the board “We have metrics and we have goals, and some programs met their goals, and some programs did not.” (Henderson’s remarks begin around 8:45 of the recording, part 2)

Of course, the goals to which Henderson refers are the administration-mandated 3 percent increases across the board. Obviously, retaining students is the key to avoiding enrollment losses. Let us interrogate the data in support of the administration’s 3 percent increase edict.

1. Since there is apparently little or no data available as to why students leave the university, blaming the academic side is pure speculation. In fact, since no one in the administration has a clue how universities work, perhaps a brief explanation is in order. As far as students who are dismissed for poor scholarship, if you admit students who are not ready to do university-level work, the university faculty will fail them. They will then have to be dismissed for poor scholarship. Because the Chicago State faculty actually believe in academic standards, that is what happens to a fair number of students. It is even possible that some students leave the university because they are dissatisfied with the treatment they receive from the administrative offices. Again, this is speculation since there is no data from which one may draw conclusions.

2. There is no earthly reason to expect any administration headed by Wayne Watson to achieve a 3 percent increase in enrollment. A simple review of his “leadership” history makes that assertion clear.

• Fall 2001: Watson at City Colleges, decrease of 688 students from Fall 2000 (.6 percent).
• Fall 2002: decrease of 645 students from Fall 2001 (.5 percent)
• Fall 2003: decrease of 1655 students from Fall 2002 (1.4 percent)
• Fall 2004: decrease of 3875 students from Fall 2003 (3.2 percent)
• Fall 2005: decrease of 7107 students from Fall 2004 (6.1 percent)
• Fall 2006: decrease of 10,416 students from Fall 2005 (9.6 percent)
• Fall 2007: decrease of 3053 students from Fall 2006 (3.2 percent)
• Fall 2008: increase of 83 students from Fall 2007 (.09 percent)
• Fall 2010: Watson at Chicago State, increase of 127 students from Fall 2009 (1.8 percent)
• Fall 2011: decrease of 480 students from Fall 2010 (6.5 percent)
• Fall 2012: decrease of 775 students from Fall 2011 (11.3 percent)
• Fall 2013: decrease of 406 students from Fall 2012 (6.4 percent)
• Fall 2014: decrease of 493 students from Fall 2013 (8.6 percent)

Watson’s last 8 years at City Colleges resulted in a net loss of 27,356 students from 2001 to 2008. At Chicago State, Watson’s 5 years have seen a net loss of 2027 students from 2010 to 2014. Thus, Watson’s two administrations have seen 29,383 students leave his two institutions/systems in 13 years. Based on this historical quantitative date, it is impossible to imagine any scenario in which a Watson administration would be able to affect a 3 percent increase in enrollment.

Given the available empirical data, it seems fair to argue that the major problem with Chicago State lies at the feet of Wayne Watson and his crony-riven administration. To be fair, the people in Enrollment Management are hamstrung by the fact that in order to truly address the enrollment issues plaguing the school, they will have to devise a strategy that mitigates the negative effects of a Wayne Watson presidency. In the meantime, here's the administration's strategy: 1) as always, take no responsibility for anything. Blame the Federal Government, previous administrations, new, tougher (albeit non-existent) standards for the enrollment declines; 2) if that is insufficient to deflect the blame, set arbitrary and demonstrably unattainable enrollment goals with no faculty input or buy-in; 3) when, as should be expected by any reasonable person, departments don't reach their goals, put the blame for enrollment declines on them.

Based on the most current available data, the enrollment at Chicago State stands at 5208, or a loss of 493 students (8.6 percent) from Fall 2013. This catastrophic decline in the university’s enrollment threatens its existence. While the board extolls Watson’s vision and affirms its support for this failed presidency, the school limps along suffering increasing wounds.

In the next few days, I will have additional comments on the enrollment situation as well as the new budget. In the meantime, I renew my insistence that Wayne Watson resign his position immediately or that the board take steps to remove him. Before his “reforms” destroy this school.

Share with us.

So I thought it might be a good idea to provide our loyal readers with an opportunity to communicate with the contributors of the blog directly. We have set up an email account that you can reach us with your questions, comments, observations etc. without it appearing on the blog. If you have information that you wish to share with us that you think should receive further scrutiny, use this email address to contact us; csufacultyvoice@gmail.com. We also have a Google site where we store Adobe .pdf copies of documents that you have seen posted here. We also have links to videos that may be of some value to view. That site is https://sites.google.com/site/csufacultyvoice/. Feel free to peruse it at your leisure. Please note the link to the Google site just to the right and the email address is on the left side of the page.
To you, all of our loyal readers, THANK YOU for your support of this blog and our efforts to improve this institution.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

AAUP Weighs in on the Senate Controversy

Here is the AAUP letter to Watson and Young, received this afternoon. It is self-explanatory


I guess we'll wait for the response from on high.

The Looming Enrollment Disaster: Is it Time for Another Distraction from Watson and the Gang?

The dust-up created by the administration over the legitimacy of the Faculty Senate seems like another attempt to distract attention from the colossal failures of the Watson administration. In the next few days, we will discover how much more our enrollment has dropped. This might call for some kind of attack on the faculty because the only problems at Chicago State are directly attributable to its faculty, particularly its Faculty Senate. For those of you who believe in coincidence, here’s a chronology of events detailing the serendipity between various Watson scandals and the university’s attacks on Chicago State’s faculty:


WATSON SCANDAL: November 1-8, 2013. Posts on the blog detail evidence of the lies of top-level administrators.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: November 11, 2013. Patrick Cage sends his “cease and desist” order to disable the Faculty Blog.

WATSON SCANDAL: January 14-15, 2014. Angela Henderson’s plagiarism is front page news. An editorial agrees that her dissertation is rife with plagiarism.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: January 28, 2014. Watson threatens to shut down Senate.

WATSON SCANDAL: February 6, 2014, no-confidence votes in Watson and Henderson

WATSON/BOARD SCANDAL: February 11, 2014, Board meets to endorse Henderson’s cheating, supports Watson’s non-action.

WATSON SCANDAL: February 19, 2014, Crowley awarded $2.5 million ($2 million in punitive) damages in a lawsuit against Wayne Watson.

WATSON SCANDAL: February 24, 2014, the faculty’s overwhelming endorsement of the Senate Constitutional amendments transmitted to Watson.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: February 25, 28, 2014, Watson demands information on the Senate election followed by Cage’s FOIA request.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: March 4, 2014, Watson sends memo to faculty alleging that “various eligible faculty” were unable to vote in the Senate election.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: March 7, 2014, the administration introduces its new “cyber-bullying policy” at a Board meeting. First reading. Policy passes May 9, 2014.

WATSON SCANDAL (Never ending): March 11, 2014, the Crowley damages increased to over $3 million by judge. Thomas Wogan says that “the university’s insurance would cover the damages.”

WATSON SCANDAL: August 28, 2014. McCarthy renders his opinion in the Crowley case.

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: September 5, 2014. Young moves against the Senate, endorses Watson's position without a shred of evidence or any inquiry.

WATSON SCANDAL: September 22, 2014, Enrollment Management report is a disaster. Enrollment at 5208, down another 493 (8.6 percent) from Fall 2014. Although there are still 4 days until the official figure is tabulated, this decrease represents a drop of 2154 students (29.3 percent) from Fall 2010. There is some question whether the university's insurance will cover the purposeful acts of Watson and Patrick Cage in the Crowley case. Will CSU have to pay for their misconduct?

UNIVERSITY ATTACK: Unknown at this time, what do you think the next distraction will be?

Now I will turn to a discussion of the damages awarded in the Crowley case. Here are the guidelines for punitive damage awards which judges are permitted to give to civil juries. http://www.state.il.us/court/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/default.asp):


You might note the similarities between this language and the language in the McCarthy opinion. Here are the jury instructions for "willful and wanton" actions. Again, note the similarities between this language and McCarthy's language:


For a moment, let us consider Tom Wogan’s cavalier claim in March that the damages awarded to Crowley would be paid by the university’s insurance. Is that really true? In most liability policies, there are exclusions for intentional acts. The jury awarded Crowley $2 million in punitive damages because the jurors believed both Watson and Patrick Cage acted purposely and with malice. In fact, both of these two administrators found their testimony impeached, because they were untruthful under oath, a fact noted by McCarthy in his opinion of August 28, 2014. Although I am not an insurance expert, I believe that the university’s insurance, WILL NOT cover the damages awarded in the Crowley trial because the defendants, by their “willful and wanton” conduct created the liability. In other words, their intentional actions caused the damage to Crowley. Anyone interested in this can simply consult the policy exclusions for virtually any liability policy. So, the taxpayers of Illinois will foot the bill for the misconduct of Watson and Cage. Truly, this administration deserves everyone’s unqualified support. The question is how much money will these fools cost this school in the next few years?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just Another Day in the Potemkin Village

So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the weekly, or at least scheduled weekly, Provost Council meeting and was greeted by the Chief Plagiarizing Officer, the interim provost herself Angela Henderson.
By way of background, I had been attending this meeting since 2007 at the invitation of the former Provost, Dr. Westbrooks as a faculty representative. Though we may not have always agreed, I realized that Dr. Westbrooks was the team captain for Team Faculty and I always did my best to support her. She was gracious and often appreciative of the perspective that I brought as a faculty member. She was genuinely interested in the faculty perspectives and concerns unlike the current placeholder who has no experience as a university faculty member, chair or dean. I have noticed the conduct of the meetings, when they are actually held, has changed. No longer are issues debated. It has become more of a coffee klatch with each person checking in with all the wonderful things happening in their area. What gets accomplished in a typical meeting with the CPO at the helm could be accomplished in a well written memo. The Potemkin Villageesque quality of the meetings is a type of surreality that can only be experienced at CSU. The Deans sit mute with nary a  word of criticism of this pretender being the provost.
So today, I was "told" that I was no longer welcome at the Provost Council meeting. When I sought to get confirmation of that all I received was a slammed door in my face, likely by the CPO. Only those in the room would be able to attest that. 
Apparently the CPO has not read either the UPI contract, referenced in a previous post, or the Board of Trustees regulations that say the Senate can't be dissolved. Sadly, her incompetence was fully on display and the retaliatory nature of her "communication" indicates the desperation of this failed administration. 
I have never purported to see into the future and I PREDICT the Faculty Senate dissolution issue will not end well for Watson, Young, Henderson et.al. I imagine that there are many who are interested in the ongoing saga that is CSU. The faculty union and others will probably bring quite a bit of pressure to bear and I can't wait to hear the explanation given by Timid Tommy for this monumental screw up.
Stay tuned for the next episode.

UPI Demands Anthony Young and Trustees Reverse the Decision to Ban the Faculty Senate

Thank you Dr Walter and the UPI leadership for pointing out the grave impact of the decision by Anthony Young et al. on the Board of Trustees to withdraw its recognition of the Faculty Senate. Thank you for reminding them that university governance is not unilateral and that the best university governance is not accomplished by fiat from on high.

From: Laurie Walter 
To: Wayne Watson,  "trustees@csu.edu"
Cc: Patrick Cage, Ellie Sullivan; Steve Yokich; David Carpenter; Steven E. Rowe; Leslie Baker-Kimmons
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 5:30 PM
Subject: Demand for reversal of decision

Dear Dr. Watson and Trustees Young, Joyce, Curtin, Williams, Zollar, Leak, and Smith:
We in the University Professionals of Illinois are dismayed at the precipitous and unwise decision of the Chicago State University Board of Trustees to withdraw recognition of the Chicago State University Faculty Senate.  Although the Faculty Senate is not constituted by the CSU/UPI Contract, it was created by the Faculty Constitution of 1965, which has not been superseded.  The Senate is, furthermore, a crucial element of university governance and faculty rights in such areas as academic standards, curricular review, etc.  Its apparent suspension also has implications for faculty evaluation, an important contractual matter; these are enumerated below. 

We believe that the decision to withdraw recognition was in retaliation for the Senate's votes of "no confidence" in the President and Interim Provost on November 6, 2012, and February 6, 2014, and that the alleged reasons for the action given by Trustee Young in his letter of September 8 are pretextual, as demonstrated by numerous communications from Dr. Bionaz.  Further, aspects of this process are under review by the Public Access Counselor; your withdrawal of recognition prior to that office's rendering a decision is premature.

The contractual aspects of the lack of recognition of the Senate are as follows:  first, both faculty senators and the members of numerous Senate-constituted committees use their participation in meetings, writing of reports, etc., as University Service, a critical element of Departmental Applications of Criteria (DACs).  Depriving them of these opportunities will adversely affect their evaluations for the purposes of retention, promotion, tenure, Faculty Excellence Awards, Professional Advancement Increases, and Annual Evaluations of Tenured Faculty.  Further, the Senate President receives 3 CUEs of released time per semester (Appendix F, 13.) and suddenly removing those CUEs from that person's assignment will impact his year-long schedule, without the consultation mandated by Article 18.3.e.

In closing, for all of these reasons, we demand an immediate reversal of the decision to withdraw recognition of the Chicago State University Faculty Senate.  The University Professionals of Illinois plans to pursue this matter in all legal fora available to us.

 Sincerely,
Laurie Walter

CSU/UPI Chapter President

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Formal Response to the Board of Trustees

So I believe it is appropriate to respond to the Board of Trustees formally for the unilateral action of abrogating shared governance at Chicago State University. Below is the letter that I sent to the Board members. I believe it is self-explanatory. This letter was sent in conjunction with the letter sent by my colleague, a member of the Senate Executive Committee.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Response to the Chicago State Board and Administration

Since the recent Board action regarding the Faculty Senate affects the entire university community, I believe a timely response is imperative. Accordingly, I have submitted a draft letter to the Senate's Executive Committee for transmittal to the Board. Although the version sent to the board might be different than this iteration, I am sharing this letter with all readers of the blog as an "open letter."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Chicago State Board and Wayne Watson are Above the Law: Public Records and University Policy be Damned, They're Going to Do What They Want

One of the most amusing things about the recent administrative assault against the Chicago State Faculty Senate is the assertion by both the naked Emperor and the Board that the Senate violated its own constitution, in other words, its own policies. It is gratifying to know that our fearless leaders are suddenly so concerned about scrupulous adherence to established procedures. Of course, for Wayne Watson, policy is a tool to be used when it serves his purposes and a nuisance to be disregarded or violated when he sees fit. Angela Henderson’s plagiarism, Cheri Sidney’s lies, Watson’s personal relationship with Sidney, curriculum and DAC issues, and hiring interference are only a few examples. Not surprisingly, the Board’s treatment of its own policies as well as Illinois State Law shows it in lockstep with Chicago State’s administration.

A couple of simple examples will demonstrate this. As you may know, the Senate received no official notification of its demise. The Senate President only discovered that the body no longer existed by inquiring as to why he had not been sent the materials for the September 19, 2014, Board meeting. Since the Senate President now has unperson status here at Chicago State, the university’s Board no longer had to supply him with meeting materials. Here is the pertinent language from the Board’s bylaws:


Wait just a minute here. The Board’s bylaws trump state law? I am not aware of any statutory authority that allows Wayne Watson or Chicago State University to withhold public documents at “the President’s discretion.” Here is the pertinent language from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act:


It seems apparent that the Chicago State Board has extremely limited (if any) ability to restrict access to these pre-meeting materials. They seem to fall squarely within the parameters of “records, reports . . . and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.” Thus, everyone employed at the university, as well as anyone else in the world, may fall under the category of “interested parties,” delineated in the Board’s bylaws. So, if you are interested in what our administrators are doing and want to see how they earn their nice salaries, drop an e-mail to the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and request your own copy of those meeting materials. Since the President’s Report does not seem to be among the most recent material distributed pre-meeting, do not forget to ask for that.

Another way the Board has violated its own policies is evident in the creation of new high-powered administrative positions. As you see from the Board policy, “appropriate and duly constituted committees of faculty government shall participate in the decision-making process of the university in the following areas: 3. Creation of administrative positions at the level of Dean and Vice President and selection of administrative officers for such positions as well as of the President of the university.” Since Watson recently created new Vice President positions for Patrick Cage, Robin Hawkins (Associate) and Renee Mitchell (Associate) to go along with his previous creation of the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management for his girlfriend, I am wondering which faculty members sitting on “duly constituted committees of faculty government” participated in either the creation of these positions or the “selection of administrative officers for such positions?” Please let me know if you did either of these two things.


Here at Chicago State, the necessity for due process and adherence to policy and procedures is determined by your relationship to Wayne Watson.

Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery, Administrative Cheats and Liars--Good, Faculty Senate--Bad: The Orwellian World of Wayne Watson and the Chicago State Penitentiary Board of Trustees

Meetings of the Chicago State Board of Trustees are always excruciating. Watching a bunch of adults competing to see who can plant the most kisses on some “powerful” figure’s rear end offers an unforgettable model of sycophancy. Yesterday’s meeting followed a familiar script: presentations by persons tasked with putting lipstick on a pig, waxing enthusiastically about all the great things happening here at our Potemkin University. The members of the Board nodding sagely, asking one or two questions, always satisfied with the answers. Everything is going to be fine if we just adhere to our great president’s “vision.”

Yesterday, I was struck by the contradiction between the ways the Board treats different constituent groups at this school. On the dais were Wayne Watson and Patrick Cage, two administrators whose dishonesty and vindictiveness have cost the university nearly $4 million to date. Presenters included administrators Angela Henderson, the faux Provost and plagiarist-par-excellence; and making a rare public appearance, Cheri Sidney, girlfriend of the president and falsifier of applications. The members of the Board obviously felt no discomfort in the presence of these symbols of failure, fraud and deceit.

In contrast, the Board’s position on the Faculty Senate election and its withdrawal of recognition of that body’s “university organization” status demonstrates its belief in the necessity of reigning in and ultimately destroying the powerful Chicago State representative body. Interesting that during the entire time I have been in the Senate, not one of our resolutions or proposals ever received even the courtesy of a reply from either the naked Emperor in the Cook Building or the Board. Nevertheless, the Senate had to be muzzled because it has created a "hostile" environment for Wayne and his acolytes. Since Watson has spent much of his time at Chicago State vainly trying to muzzle dissent, it seems instructive that the Board is now doing his bidding. Perhaps they will have more success.

Taking their responsibilities as censors seriously, the Board also introduced a new “policy” that enables them to stifle public comment at Board meetings. The new policy will require anyone wishing to make a comment to sign-up to do so. Comments will be limited to 20 minutes total (the University of Illinois allows 30), and the Board has come up with a laundry list of topics that are impermissible: no discussion about litigation, personnel matters, “disputes”, personal attacks, obscene or profane speech among them. Sounds like a “civility policy” I think. Of course, the decision as to what prohibited categories a particular comment may fall into rests solely with the Board.

As we shall soon see, the Board’s action yesterday has solved all the problems at Chicago State, which after all have been caused by uppity faculty members. The Board’s dissolution of the Faculty Senate and their pending civility policy should take care of everything. Now at Board meetings they can hear only good news from people they like. Perhaps they should hire an orchestra to play at the end of Board meetings, I suggest “Autumn” as an appropriate piece.

The contrast between the Board’s views of due process is also interesting. In the case of our favorite plagiarizer, it is vital to allow the process to play out in order to avoid violating Henderson’s due process rights. In the case of the Faculty Senate, due process is not necessary. It is not necessary to provide any specificity for accusations of misconduct against the Senate, insisting only that “several” faculty members complained about not being able to vote in the February election (first appearing in the March 4 memorandum from Wayne Watson), and finishing with the amorphous “voting irregularities” mentioned by Young on September 5. Although this matter is still in the hands of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office (Public Access Counselor), there is no need for the Board to wait for their determination. In true Star Chamber style, they have found the Senate guilty and sentenced it to death. This is likely to be another of those “wins” for Wayne Watson that turns to ashes in his mouth. I suspect that when the news of this action escapes the walled confines of Chicago State Penitentiary, the outcry will be substantial.

As earlier posts from my colleagues make clear, the recent Board actions against the Faculty Senate are of a piece with Chicago State’s previous attempts to silence disagreement. We shall see how this all plays out.

Friday, September 19, 2014

One Reason Why Anthony Young, James Joyce, Michael Curtin, Spencer Leak, Horace Smith, Nikki Zollar and Wayne Watson cannot understand the CSU Faculty of the 21st century.

I was having lunch today with a retired CSU faculty member and mentioned the stupid and irresponsible action Anthony Young and his Bored of Trustees took this week in refusing to recognize the CSU Faculty Senate. Her response: “They really don’t know how to run a university, do they?”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It is too overwhelming to parse through all the details and the wrongheadedness of their action right now--they have chosen to listen only to the Wayne Watson account of things--or the other thing that happened at today’s BOT meeting that will further limit free speech on campus. But one thing I have noted before is that the CSU faculty is not the same as when I came to the place in 1996. As constituted since the 1990s, the faculty represents a racially, gender and age diverse, national, and international body. When I first came to CSU a great number of full-time tenured faculty did not have Ph.D. degrees and those that did obtained them largely from “local” midwest or Illinois schools. Many, many faculty were not just originally from the Midwest, but from Chicago itself. Chicago State was a local school in all senses of the word.

If anyone like the HLC or the ridiculous governor Quinn, thought about it, or had any honest interest in helping CSU become all it could be, they would recognize that the CSU faculty has long ago outgrown the governance of the place as a local institution presided over by the likes of Anthony Young, James Joyce, Michael Curtin, Spencer Leak, Horace Smith, and Nikki Zollar and Wayne Watson, all of them local, politically-connected, and inbred. For heaven’s sake, what is the average age of this bored of mostly men? Nikki Zollar is the only woman on the current bored at a school that has more women than men.

The faculty is diverse, the product of years of hirings under Elnora Daniel when faculty had the responsibility for hiring in their discipline, but the administration and the bored of Trustees is not. The faculty do not all come from the neighborhoods of Chicago, do not buy into the passive acceptance of “it’s only Chicago State, what do you expect?”  The faculty have seen how things are done differently and successfully at other institutions and want CSU to be run differently and successfully.

Right, right, right, the great fear of the southside pols and community "leaders" and ministers who trickle down the fear to their "constitutencies" is that the school will slip out of their hands and (gasp) into the hands of white politicians. I realize how naive this sounds, but why does a state university have to be in any politician’s hands to begin with? 

So we have this disconnect. The politicians, the administration, and BOT wants to run the place like some half-baked community center/community college/job corp complete with uniformity of belief and action. Like a church they want conformity,  no criticism,  and no free discussion among students or faculty especially when the big daddies in the Cook Bldg have made their pronouncements. Shared governance? Feh! The ruling model is not that of a university but a political ward.


CSU’s sloganeering claims we transform lives locally and globally (or something like that), but you cannot claim to want a university that is global in representation and outlook and run the place like a provincial, local, patronage pit. The 1970s are over. We need a board and an administration that represents a global and diverse perspective to match what we have in our faculty. The university might then get the unity we need, though not the uniformity that the administration is so insistent on imposing.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

BREAKING NEWS!!! Another sad day for CSU!

So loyal readers, I'm sure you will not be surprised to discover that the Board of Trustees at our fair university no longer recognizes the Faculty Senate as a university organization. See the email exchange below.
All of this comes after false information was presented about how the Faculty Senate conducted a process to amend its constitution and by-laws. The Senate has documented its activities and has a paper trail to support its assertions that everything was above board. This did not prevent the president from presenting false information and convincing the board to remove the body that has twice voted no confidence in him and once voted no confidence in the interim provost for her academic misconduct. I suppose that with the thorn removed from the paw, the administration can get back to the business of....????? 
It is clear from this action that neither the Board of Trustees nor the President understand how universities work. What is surprising is that the Board of Trustees has not contacted the Faculty Senate directly or engaged in any of the conduct that it expects the Senate to engage in. There was no due process. There was no consultation. There wasn't even the courtesy of direct communication to those involved, namely the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. There was only the petulant frustration of a failed president determined to defeat those who dare say "the emperor has no clothes."
There have been many sad days for this university, some of them documented on this blog. This ranks high on the list of days of infamy. There should be no doubt why our enrollment continues to shrink. It is indeed unfortunate that yet more negative attention will be paid to the university as a result of a failed president and a now proven failed Board of Trustees.

An Appeal to Faculty

Yesterday I gave a talk at my new temporary academic home, the department of philosophy at UIC, on alienating race and opposing racial injustice. The examples in the talk, based on something I wrote four years ago, were from the pre-Watson era of CSU. However, they detailed the many abuses that students at CSU had experienced: police brutality on campus, long lines waiting for financial aid assistance, bookstore wait times of over an hour caused by the racist policy of not allowing students to retrieve their own textbooks, filthy classrooms and unusable smart-boards, moldy air ducts, broken toilets and light fixtures, broken seats and chairs, and so on. The problem is not one thing but a pattern of racist indifference to the conditions under which students learn (and faculty teach).



Many faculty regard themselves as committed to providing educational opportunities to students who have had fewer advantages. This is good. At bottom it is an anti-racist commitment. But the bad conditions I mentioned above are abuses of the students we seek to serve. Is it a coincidence that the vast majority of these students are black? I don’t think so. These bad conditions are racist. We must recognize this. We need to speak out.

All the conditions I mentioned existed under the administrations prior to the current one. Nearly all of them persist. What has happened recently? A student—Jokari Miller—was attacked and put in a chokehold by a campus cop for loudly refusing to remove his hat when Watson told him too. Another student—Willie Preston—who won an election as Student Trustee to the Board of Governors experienced the following: the election was voided; he was suspended from the university; when he spoke at a public meeting he was accosted by the interim provost in a public hallway; then the interim provost got him expelled from the university and banned from coming on the campus by testifying that she did not feel safe when he was on campus. These were the consequences of winning an election on a platform opposing the Watson administration. Another student running on the same platform—Brittany Bailey—was illegally disqualified in the subsequent student election. There has been a precipitous drop in black student enrollment at the university. Who is being victimized by all of this? Aren’t these things racist, adding to the disadvantages that black people experience?

After talking to several faculty members, I realize that many are critical of what the Watson administration is doing but are not speaking out. Those who are putting their bodies on the line day after day are a very small group. Do you think this is right? I appeal to faculty: you must speak out against racial injustices done to our students. Appeals to racial solidarity are of no use: your either oppose racism or you tolerate it, and if you tolerate it, you are part of the problem. Either you stand with the Watson administration or you stand with the students and others who are being unjustly harmed by that administration.

Some of you may be afraid to speak out. You may feel your silence is self-preservation. I appeal to you: when you sacrifice fundamental principles by which you try to live (opposition to racism), you become the opposite of what you may be striving to be. Instead of being a person whose life is guided by principles that define your integrity, you become unprincipled, essentially a slave whose life is governed by fear of others.

I appeal to faculty: do not let those who speak out on this blog be the only ones. Stand for what you believe and in doing that become the best person you can be. Oppose injustice, oppose racism. Speak out. We can win, but we need you.

How Much Do You Get It?

As CSU president, Elnora Daniel got it.
As Board of Trustees Chair, Gary Rozier also got it.

Both of them knew that their positions at CSU required them to be the lead donors on campus during its fundraising efforts. If the highest paid and those with the most power and status at the university don’t pony up, why should anyone else? When the time came, Daniel put her money where her status was. And before March 2013 when Quinn came in and removed Board Chair Gary Rozier because he wanted to remove Wayne Watson, he had a plan in place to have the board pledge to raise a certain amount of money for the university. This is the way fundraising happens at universities across the country.

On Friday night CSU’s Foundation is hosting a gala fundraiser at a fancy downtown hotel.

I wonder how much our President and his Bored members have pledged to CSU this year?

This week we found out that CSU’s bid to get the Obama Library failed. Tom Wogan was quick to make lemonade out of lemons: “ ‘We are thankful to the community members and leaders who volunteered their time to put the bid together,’ Wogan said. ‘It was a really great exercise, and we will look for ways to utilize that committee and the relationships we built through the process.’” 


Great. Now that we can stop holding our breath about the Obama Library maybe we can put some energy toward fixing what we have at 95th and King Drive.

Tomorrow the CSU Bored of Trustees has a full bored meeting on campus. YAWN. Perhaps that is where they will publicly announce that the faculty senate no longer exists. Bored of Trustees chair Anthony Young has been very busy. Last week he got on his high horse and, doing the bidding of President Watson, told various or selected faculty members that the bored was going to shut down the Faculty Senate. Ok, Mr. Young, fine, go down that road and open up that can of worms, but after you make that announcement, I hope you and your fellow bored members will dust off your black ties and trot over to the gala to do your part as the fiduciary body of the campus. You can dutifully deposit your checks to the university alongside the hefty one Dr Watson will no doubt write. And perhaps we will see Dr Watson and Mr. Young accompanied to the gala by all those ministers and community leaders and politicians to whom Tom Wogan referred. These, after all, are the real “stakeholders” whom Dr. Watson relies upon to keep his job, these are the ones who are so keen on keeping CSU in their pocket for patronage purposes. C'mon, kick up your heels and clink glasses. They should all be out in full force at the CSU gala on Friday night shouldn't they?

Oh, yeah, right, I get it...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If You're Wondering Why We're in Trouble, Take a Look at the Enrollment Management Report to the Chicago State Board


“On a personal level, I am disappointed that the Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate would engage in public discourse about any of our colleagues. Those individuals mentioned in your document are professionals who command respect in the higher education marketplace because of their experience and documented capabilities. As higher education leaders and managers, their qualifications are unimpeachable. Our students, employees, and other stakeholders are the beneficiaries of the much needed depth, range, and scope that they bring to their work—all of which are essential to the effective operation of a modern urban university.”

Wayne Watson, Response to the Shared Governance Committee of the Chicago State University Faculty Senate and the UPI Local 4100. November 13, 2012.

We have a wonderful example of the “documented capabilities” of Watson’s “professionals who command respect in the higher education marketplace” in the Enrollment Management report submitted to the Chicago State Board of Trustees for its September 19, 2014 meeting. The report is nothing but a parade of jargon and empty rhetoric—bullshit that addresses none of the substantive problems facing Chicago State. It fails to offer any concrete proposals to stem the cataclysmic drop in enrollment that is continuing in fall 2014. Finally, it is an embarrassment to the entire academic community at this university. Sent by a university administrator to Chicago State's governing board, this report demonstrates a startling lack of literacy and a degree of sloppiness that would be unacceptable in a high school paper. All-in-all, this document falls far short of the literary standards expected at any institution of higher education.

This report is not a blog post or a casual communication on Facebook. There is no evidence of editing and little evidence of any serious attempt to communicate anything clearly. The combination of meaningless rhetoric and abominable writing serves to make this report opaque and uninformative. Perhaps that is by design.

Here is the title page. You'll note the report ostensibly comes from the president's girlfriend, the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management:


Take a look at the "highlights" on page 2. I've marked in yellow those I think are most ridiculous and attenuated. Readers can make their own choices. These points raise the following questions for me: In the third bullet point, what do the "in the Grazz" programs have to do with Enrollment Management? Have we realized any enrollment gains from those programs? Where do we find the dashboards to which bullet point five refers? In bullet point eleven, the report tells us that 310 people attended the "New Student Orientation." Unfortunately, we are not told how many of those persons actually enrolled. That information might be useful. At the bottom of the page we get to the bad news, enrollment is down 6 percent. These figures are outdated, enrollment is currently down 8 percent.


Take a look at the two highlighted paragraphs on page 3. Nonsensical jargon seems an apt description. Or, how about a succession of clich├ęs? What is the relationship between our "environmental footprint" and enrollment?


Skipping ahead to page 5, we encounter the critical university "brand" (possibly the one Patrick Cage so zealously defends):


The depressing enrollment statistics appear in more detail on page 6. Perhaps no one will read this far, after all it's six whole pages. Note the jargon. Note the style.


The report mercifully ends with an incoherent paragraph on page 8:


Producing and disseminating a piece of writing as bad as this is simply unacceptable. This is the best we can do?



Friday, September 12, 2014

The Chicago State Website: What Do We Look Like to the Outside World?

"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."

quote attributed to Jessica Mitford, author (The American Way of Death), journalist, and civil rights activist (1917-1996)

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Quote from numerous advertising slogans, original source unknown.

Chicago State continues to hemorrhage students. The grim enrollment statistics tell the story; students do not enroll here and a large number of the students who are enrolled do not stay here. In this post, I will explore the role played in our enrollment difficulties by the university’s web site. In my estimation, a look at the site is likely to leave an imaginary prospective student with one of the following impressions that lead to one important question: 1) the articles on the school’s web site are often replete with basic errors in grammar and style. If the university presents itself in such a sloppy and unprofessional way, is it a school I want to attend? 2) I do not see much about students, faculty or programs. In fact, the web site seems to exist to trumpet the achievements and activities of a variety of administrators (particularly Wayne Watson). Since the school chooses not to advertise its academic strengths, maybe it does not have any. Again, is it a school I want to attend? Based on the enrollment declines Chicago State has experienced, the answer seems to be a resounding no.

Here is what that imaginary prospective student looking at the web site for the first time would see this morning:


As you can see, under the “University Gateway,” the “s” is missing from what clearly should be the plural of “student.” The blurb on Chicago State’s “Women’s Soccer” (no team, just “Women’s Soccer”) uses the contraction “it’s” rather than the possessive, “its.” Four of the five “news” stories prominently feature administrators: Wayne Watson, Patrick Cage and Denisha Hendricks, the new Athletic Director. Who are these people? If our imaginary student further peruses articles on the web site, s/he will find more sloppy and unprofessional writing. Problems with punctuation, oddly placed dependent clauses and insipid passive constructions plague several articles.

Going deeper into the Chicago State web site, the imaginary student soon realizes that of the ten most recent news articles, seven feature picture(s) of Wayne Watson and/or quotations by Wayne Watson. Now the student becomes curious and googles Wayne Watson and Chicago State University. The Wikipedia article on Chicago State says that the school has accreditation, that’s good, but it also says that the school’s provost might have plagiarized her dissertation and that “under Watson’s tenure” the school has been named as a defendant in “several high profile lawsuits,” one of which resulted in a multi-million dollar loss. Oh my, that’s not so good.


The imaginary student finds the lead article on the web site really baffling. What does an award for being a “Top General Counsel” mean exactly? What is a “General Counsel”? The student dutifully googles Patrick Cage and finds a number of entries, none of them flattering. He has made several attempts to stifle dissent at Chicago State, he does not know the difference between “tenants” and “tenets,” he was heavily involved in egregious and apparently discriminatory employment actions that resulted in the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the school. Why would anyone give this guy an award?

Finally our imaginary student decides s/he has seen enough. Chicago State is not the place to go.

Frankly, this fictional account is a somewhat mediocre attempt to express my frustrations with a university gateway that is often amateurish, sometimes illiterate and always a narcissistic celebration of various administrators. Does any prospective student give a damn about an award to Patrick Cage? Does anyone care about Wayne Watson? Are either of these two guys going to be a magnet for potential students? Is there nothing else on this campus to talk about?

In my estimation, a university web site should be a polished, professional representation of the school. However, our web site is an embarrassment. No one writes perfect prose but the university web site is not some web blog or casual opinion site. The written material that appears on our web pages should be scrupulously edited. It is not like listening to Watson’s extemporaneous ramblings—always turgid, pedantic and inarticulate. The written stuff must be correct when it finally appears. No viable university site should produce the kind of horrific written material that appears on Chicago State’s web pages. If the articles on the web site look plain dumb, we all look stupid. In the same vein, if the university does not possess sufficient self-respect to ensure that its public pronouncements are as articulate as possible, what conclusions is the reader likely to draw?

From a tactical standpoint, I find the web page focus on Wayne Watson and other top administrators unfathomable. Watson has been the cause of a variety of public relations disasters. Only weeks after the judge in the Crowley case called him a liar, only weeks after the court affirmed the huge award against Watson and the university, our school prominently features him on the website? Similarly, our public relations folks make their lead web page story about the attorney who has brought nothing but public scorn down on the university? I realize that there seems to be an eerie serendipitous relationship in the timing of negative press coverage and awards given to our administrators, but enough is enough. What are we to expect next? Perhaps someone could give an award to Angela Henderson for the Nursing “dissertation of the year”? How about a guest appearance by Elnora Daniel to talk about how to use your credit cards responsibly? Or maybe Dolores Cross could write an article about how to handle federal financial aid money? The more Chicago State’s web site focuses on the school’s administrators, the wider the disjuncture between fantasy and reality becomes.

The people responsible for Chicago State’s public image receive nice salaries for their efforts. I do not think it is too much to ask that they produce material that is reasonably articulate and thoroughly professional. If there is no one in the administration capable of writing a simple declarative sentence, perhaps we could find someone. For goodness sake, have someone edit your stuff so it does not embarrass us all. Finally, I humbly suggest that our public relations people eliminate the constant references to persons who have brought the university into such disrepute. We apparently cannot do much to end the putrid Watson regime. Nonetheless, we can change the public face of the university. Our survival might just depend on it.




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Anthony Young's Slobbering Obeisance: Wayne Watson is a Man of Great Character--He Who Must Be Obeyed. His Opponents? Degenerates Unworthy of Anything but Contempt

The recent memorandum from the Chicago State University Board of Trustees (which a number of faculty, me and other members of the Faculty Senate included, never received) demonstrates the existence of a curiously inverted power relationship: instead of governing the university, the board serves Wayne Watson. The welfare of the institution, its students, staff and faculty be damned, the board serves Wayne Watson. Listen to the students, staff or faculty? The board only listens to students, staff and faculty who support Wayne Watson and wax enthusiastically about his tremendous leadership. While university boards are supposed to exercise independent oversight, this board includes members with personal and/or political ties to Watson, members who have benefitted financially from their association with Watson and an hapless student trustee who is somewhat unlikely to dissent in any meaningful way. The Chicago State Board is not an independent Board of Trustees which explains many of the seemingly insoluble problems afflicting the university.

Here are some of the key events that support this argument: On November 6, 2012, the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in the president by 28-2 with 2 abstentions. A great deal of evidence of Wayne Watson’s failures as measured by his contractual criteria provided support for this no confidence vote. The Senate President communicated the justification for the vote along with the tally to the Board of Trustees. The members took no notice. The December 14, 2012 Board meeting included no reference to the Senate’s vote. The first reference to the no confidence vote appears in the minutes of the March 1, 2013 meeting, when a faculty member commented on the vote.

After the circus-like meetings of March 1 and 8, 2013, Governor Quinn did not reappoint the board members who apparently wished to discharge Watson. Ultimately, Quinn appointed three new members and the new board’s first meeting on May 17, 2013, resulted in a resounding affirmation of Watson’s presidency: “Trustee Joyce also stated that President Watson has the unanimous support of the Chicago State University (CSU) Board of Trustees.” No more worries about potential investigations or possible dismissal for Wayne Watson.

On September 20, 2013, the new board extended Watson’s contract for two years, through June 30, 2016. In moving to extend Watson’s contract, Anthony Young said: “The present board has expressed its faith and commitment with Dr. Watson. We agree with his vision for the university and support him wholeheartedly.”

On January 14, 2014, the news of Angela Henderson’s dissertation plagiarism provided embarrassment for both Chicago State and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Predictably, Watson took no action against his long-time crony. With the academic integrity of Chicago State riding on their shoulders, on February 11, 2014, the school’s board said this: “The Chicago State University Board of Trustees accepts the PhD conferred on Dr. Angela Henderson by the University of Illinois and the current process being followed. Therefore, the Board supports Dr. Henderson in her role as the Interim Provost and Senior Vice President. The Board also expresses its full confidence in President Watson.”

In May, a number of Chicago State faculty signed an open letter to the board expressing their concern with a number of important issues, particularly the board’s apparent unwillingness to take seriously faculty’s concerns about the the multiple issues plaguing the university. The letter demanded that the board members do something to “save this university from further needless embarrassment and damage.”

A short exchange of letters ensued. The board’s final communication informed the faculty that “it is important to reiterate that the Board supports President Watson and the administration,” and noted the “positive feedback we have received from students, staff, and community stakeholders, as well as several of your colleagues.” The upshot of the board’s letters? Anyone who supports Wayne Watson is always right, anyone who opposes him is always wrong. Here's the faculty's letter to the board on May 7, 2014.



Here's the board's response of May 27, 2014:



Here's the board's letter of June 27, 2014, telling the dissenting faculty to shut up:



This right-wrong binary is apparent in other matters under the board’s purview. Any policy the promulgated by the university administration must be adopted as soon as possible (witness the recent Cyber-bullying policy). In conrast, the board has ignored resolutions or policy suggestions coming from the Faculty Senate. In fact, during my entire time in the Faculty Senate, I am not aware of any resolution or policy suggestion submitted by that body that has generated any response from either the administration or the board. Frankly, the board could not care less what the faculty thinks, although the board has made exceptions for any faculty member who agrees with Wayne Watson.

So, Watson and his administration are infallible in the eyes of the “independent” Chicago State University Board of Trustees. A brief examination of the recent Crowley trial provides insight into the character of two of the members of the administration most responsible for the recent Anthony Young letter—Wayne Watson and Patrick Cage.

As I demonstrated in previous posts, Wayne Watson has had no problem telling lies to the Board of Trustees. He displayed his penchant for untruthfulness during the Crowley trial. You might recall that Judge McCarthy indicated that the testimony of both Watson and Cage had been “impeached” during the trial. That is a polite legal euphemism for saying that they both made statements that were subsequently demonstrated to be untrue. Here’s Watson’s untruth: Watson claimed under oath that although appointed president at Chicago State effective July 1, 2009, he did nothing offficially until October 1. Watson said he only attended some generic orientations but otherwise had no influence on the day-to-day operations of the school. However, because of the potential problems with his retirement, Chicago State received FOIA requests from SURS seeking to determine if Watson was actually working prior to October 1. In an affidavit, Watson apparently claimed that he had no quarrel with Crowley over the SURS FOIA requests because, in July 2009, he had ordered Crowley to comply with those FOIA requests. Watson and his attorneys apparently realized that Watson’s admission would constitute a violation of SURS retirement rules so they submitted a second affidavit that removed the offending language. Obviously one of Watson’s under-oath statements was untrue. Most important, one jeopardized his retirement. As you can imagine, counsel for the plaintiff had a field day with that discrepancy.

As far as Patrick Cage’s problems, they revolved around the actual firing of Crowley. The university apparently had an exclusive contract with Pepsi-Cola during the time Crowley served in the Jones Convocation Center. According to testimony, faculty complained about seeing Coca-Cola trucks at the center (really, faculty?), a violation of Pepsi’s exclusive contract. These “faculty” complaints spurred Cage to ask Internal Auditor John Meehan to audit Crowley’s operation. Meehan found this request puzzling since he had done an audit only a few months earlier and another one was scheduled to begin in less than three months. In a classic example of how Chicago State’s administration conducts their star chamber style investigations, Watson fired Crowley before the completion of the investigation—Meehan wrote the investigative report some weeks after Crowley’s termination. Cage tried to pressure Meehan to find in his audit report that Crowley had “misused” public funds. According to Meehan, Cage was the originator of the charge that Crowley had misused public money and Meehan told Cage that he would only disclose accounting errors, that the determination of whether those errors constituted “misuse” would have to be made by the administration. On the stand, Cage could apparently not remember whether Pepsi or Coca-Cola held the exclusive contract and the discrepancies between his account of events and Meehan’s raised substantive doubts about Cage’s credibility.

So, our all-knowing board has decided that the credibility of administrators like Cage and Watson far outdistances the credibility of Watson’s critics. So be it. I can say, however, that in nearly 23 years of law enforcement, I certainly never changed my testimony, had my testimony “impeached,” or lied in a courtroom. Nonetheless, as the board makes clear, my integrity is questionable and my concerns are worthy of nothing more than condescension and paternalistic disapproval.





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TO Board Chair Anthony Young: Get Real. Even YOU don't share governance with President Wayne Watson.

Anthony Young sent us faculty an email today. Interesting that he wants to communicate with us but will not reciprocate. Letters sent by you, an individual, or you together with colleagues begging for the board to pay attention to hopeless state university merely nets you a form letter saying not to bother them. But here is a letter from FOW Board Chair Anthony Young. Oh, I guess we'd better "Listen Up." Long and short of it: the Board of Trustees is not going to recognize the Faculty Senate, I suppose it will be disbanded unless...(read below or check your email).

Apparently soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many faculty have been complaining about the faculty senate. That is, sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many faculty are complaining to the administration, not to their fellow faculty members. Just like ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL   those students complaining to the administration about how much the faculty persecutes them. 

The final paragraph of this letter is the most cynical statement of all:
"The Board firmly believes that Chicago State University deserves to have a strong, effective Faculty Senate. Therefore the Board encourages all University faculty members to become more involved in the shared governance process and work to re-establish the Faculty Senate..."

Is Anthony Young foolish or cynical? "Shared governance," yeah, right. Shared Governance are two words you haven't seen written here on this blog in a long time because in March of 2013 President Watson and his best buds in the southside political machine and churches swarmed Governor Quinn into overriding Young's predecessor, Gary Rozier, and two other members who finally wanted to put an end to the Watson patronage pony. Any shred of shared governance that might have existed on this campus ended that month. Tell me Mr Young, whatever happened to the much-touted "University Shared Governance Committee?" Why was their survey never made public? Why was the HLC monitoring report such a trumped up document with no real "communication" about its contents communicated before it was sent off? Shared Governance, PUH-LEASE. No one (even all those faculty members who you believe are complaining to the administration) believes anything but that Wayne Watson wants to centralize and control everything on this campus in the president's office. Neither the Provost Office nor the Board of Trustees operates as independent overseers of this university. My goodness, he's even got you, the chair of the Board of Trustees, writing this letter. Where are the signatures of your fellow board members? 

Anthony Young spare us your phony concern for shared governance and "faculty complaints." Like your friend Wayne Watson, you only listen to whom you want, and you are fooling no one with this bluster. You will not achieve UNITY at this university by trying to enforce UNIFORMITY. Shut down the Senate,  shut down student newspaper, shut down the SGA, you will still not be able to shut us up.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Lies and More Lies: Here's the Truth About Watson's "Raising Standards."

As I said in my previous post, Wayne Watson is a proven liar. To demonstrate this, I will begin again with a quote from the May 9, 2014, board meeting: “Let us not lose sight of the fact that, this is another area that we have raised standards, in terms of admission standards, we’re not admitting students today that we admitted four years ago, five years ago, and that can have an effect upon the number of students that you get in.”

Although the board members believe anything Watson says because they are either complicit in his failure or simply too uninterested to question what they are told, we do not have to be afflicted with the same myopia. In fact, there is actually extant evidence that will enable us to evaluate Watson’s claim about “raising standards.” The following information comes from either the university factbooks, university catalogs, or the admissions portion of the university web site.

First, here are the admissions standards from the 2002-04 university catalog for both freshmen and transfer students. Although they are hardly rigorous, for freshmen, you’ll note the minimum ACT score and the coursework requirement:

















Here are the admission requirements from the 2010-12 undergraduate catalog. You’ll note that there is a combination of ACT/GPA for admission and that the minimum ACT score has dropped to 16. There is still required course work for incoming freshman. Transfer students can no longer transfer a grade of “D.”:


Here are the admission requirements from the current 2014-16 undergraduate catalog. You’ll note that there is now no minimum ACT requirement and the coursework requirement has vanished:


Here are the admission requirements for Fall 2015 from the university website. You’ll note that there is again a minimum ACT requirement of 16. You’ll also note that the university has resurrected the coursework for incoming freshmen, although now it is “recommended.”:



To summarize, in 2002, the university required an ACT of at least 17 in addition to a list of mandated high school courses for incoming freshmen. Transfer students had to have a 2.0 GPA and anyone with 30 or fewer semester hours had to supply ACT or SAT scores. By Fall 2010, the university had dropped the minimum ACT score to 16, retained the required high school course work for incoming freshmen and allowed no “D” course work to be transferred. For 2014, the catalog indicated no minimum ACT requirements and had eliminated the mandatory high school course work. The prohibition against the transfer of “D” grades remained. For Fall 2015, the minimum ACT of 16 has been resurrected and the mandatory course work will become “recommended.” The university continues not to accept grades of “D” in transfer credits.

Given the history of admission requirements at Chicago State, it seems clear that the Watson administration has reduced the minimum ACT score, eliminated the required course work for incoming freshmen, while eliminating grades of “D” from acceptance as transfer credit (I am not aware of any program that accepted grades of “D” in their majors, so these grades are in general education courses). On balance, it seems like the Watson administration has reduced admission standards at Chicago State.

If, as Watson claims, more rigorous standards might be expected to “have an effect upon the number of students you get in,” then the opposite should be true: less rigorous standards should result in higher enrollment numbers. A considerable body of data exists to enable us to test that hypothesis. We already know about the enrollment declines, 22.6 percent from 2010 to 2013. In addition, during the Watson presidency, freshman admits declined 49.7 percent, from 544 in 2010 to 276 in 2013; transfer admits declined 16.4 percent, from 640 in 2010 to 535 in 2013; transfers from community colleges mirrored the overall transfer admit decline of 16.4 percent, from 396 in 2010 to 331 in 2013; city college transfers also dropped by 14.2 percent, from 253 in 2010 to 217 in 2013. Dismal statistics—each and every one—that offer evidence of a university in deep trouble.

There are two other measures of interest relative to Watson’s claims of “raising standards,” and his assertion that all the faculty are thrilled with the results of his efforts (since we had no idea of what we were doing until the great Wayne Watson arrived). Between Fall 1999 and Fall 2007, the average ACT score of Chicago State’s freshmen admits rose nearly every year, from a low of 17.6 in 1999 to 19.2 in 2007. Under Frank Pogue in 2008, it dropped slightly, to 19. Under Wayne Watson, the average ACT score began at 17.7 in 2009, dropped to 17.3 in 2010 and in 2012 and 2013 reached 18.5. So, the Watson administration raised the standards that it had reduced (prior to Watson, the last time the university’s ACT dropped below 18.5 was 2004). Thus, Watson credits himself with “raising standards” that, when measured in average ACT scores, he had been responsible for dropping below the lowest figure recorded since 1999. This does not seem to indicate more rigorous standards.

There is also the matter of retention rates under Watson. In the 12 years (from Fall 2001 through Fall 2012) the university has data for student retention, the yearly average has only dropped below 55 percent in four years, three of them under the Watson administration. The Watson administration also recorded the only sub-50 percent retention rate since 2001 (48.4 percent in Fall 2011). The most recent retention figures show a 54.7 percent rate, comparable to Watson’s overall retention rate of 54.6 percent (compared to 57.4 percent under Daniel and 57.7 percent under Pogue). While the Watson administration’s retention performance is not dissimilar to his predecessors, the dramatic reduction in the number of incoming freshmen reduces the actual number of students returned each year. For example, in 2010, 277 freshmen returned for their second year, in 2013, 144 returned, a decrease of 48 percent. None of these numbers augur well for the future health of the university under a Watson presidency.

These figures further demonstrate a fundamental truth of the Watson administration at Chicago State. Students do not come here and they do not stay here. All indications point to another dramatic decrease in our enrollment this fall. This is a fact that neither Watson’s fawning sycophancy toward the board nor his outright lies to that body can obscure.