Just when you think you have seen every dishonest thing the Watson administration can do, they surprise you. Here is the latest Orwellian administrative foray into the land of chicanery.
Apparently, the administration has directed the College Deans to tell the various Department Chairs that departmental Senate elections must occur before February 15 which is some arbitrary deadline for “submit[ting] names.” Submitting names to whom? I am assuming to the administration since the directive for the election obviously emanates from the Cook building.
This edict represents a noteworthy administration incursion into faculty governance. It also demonstrates that an administration with a long history of bad-faith practices is not hesitant to use outright deceit in an effort to disguise its outrageous actions. Here is the sequence of events relative to the Faculty Senate since December 12, 2014.
On December 12, Watson notified the Senate Executive Committee that he had disapproved virtually all the amendments to the Senate's constitution passed overwhelmingly by faculty in February 2014. His ten-page memorandum rejected 20 amendments (even though the faculty had only voted on 10 actual changes to the Constitution), while accepting the addition of the word “written” to his amendment 14.
In his memorandum, Watson said:
"It is important that Senators are elected according to the 2011 Constitution and Bylaws. Please be advised that any current Senator participating by discipline other than department is in violation of the 2011 Constitution and Bylaws. Unfortunately, until proposed amendments are approved, clinical faculty should not participate as Senators, according to the 2011 Constitution and Bylaws."
On December 18, 2014, I requested from Robin Hawkins, CSU Contract Administrator, the names of unit A faculty, including unit A clinical and research faculty. I also requested a roster of unit B faculty. I made this request with the intention of determining the number of Senators each department could elect. I received nothing from Ms. Hawkins.
On January 13, 2015, at a meeting between two members of the Executive Committee and a number of administrators: Wayne Watson, Angela Henderson, Patrick Cage, Paula Carney and Bernie Rowan, I told Henderson that I had requested this information from Hawkins, had received nothing, and asked Henderson for the same material. To date, I have received nothing.
Ignoring its complete culpability in this fiasco, the administration has now apparently decreed that new Senate elections must occur. Why? I think it is nothing but stupid, petty vindictive retaliation. Let me explain.
In the three years I have served on the Senate, the administration has totally ignored everything we have done. We have sent numerous resolutions and policy suggestions and have not gotten even the courtesy of a reply. In November 2012 and February 2014, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to express its “no-confidence” in Wayne Watson (both years) and Angela Henderson (2014). These no-confidence votes have resulted in no action from anyone. If the administration is able to convince candidates to run for Senate seats and it gains control of the Senate, how will that matter? Will some bootlicking lackey push through Senate resolutions extolling the greatness of Wayne Watson? What difference will that make to anyone?
If there is no practical purpose behind the administration’s efforts to control the Senate what might be some another reason for their great concern? Given this administration’s propensity for getting nothing done, it seems remarkable that they are able to retain their focus on this one issue for such a long time. Perhaps this will serve to distract the university community from the colossal administrative failures around enrollment and personnel practices (see Jim Crowley). While this is a possibility, it still seems unlikely.
Perhaps since virtually the entire university is spinning out of their control, our intrepid administrators want to sink their teeth into something at which they are somewhat adept: rigging elections and trying to control the Senate’s “message” to make it more compatible with the university’s “brand,” which, of course, has taken quite a beating under Wayne Watson’s stewardship.
I humbly suggest this as a possible explanation for what seems like a herculean effort to achieve very little: it is personal, simply retribution. There are at least two members of the Senate this administration probably does not like very well. Perhaps they feel some kind of imperative to effect their removal from that body. I wonder if they think that will staunch the flow of blog posts? Given the prestige and national reputation of Chicago State’s Senate, one of its members losing her/his position would truly be a terrible blow. Gaining control of the Senate and taking revenge on their tormentors by putting those miscreants in their place would be a tremendous victory for Watson and his stooges. What a bone-headed idea.
There really seems to be no “win” here for this administration. In any event, if they can rouse themselves to provide the information necessary to hold a legitimate election, the departments will do so. Absent that, their demands are simply unacceptable.