I am writing this in the hope that I am proven wrong because the consequences for our school—particularly our students—are so potentially dire. We will see.
As a reminder, at the December 11, 2014, meeting of the Chicago State Board of Trustees, Board Chairman Anthony Young asked: “Do you expect the spring enrollment for this year to be equal to the spring enrollment from last year?” Wayne Watson responded with: “Our enrollment is going to stabilize . . . [t]hat stabilization should be taking place this coming semester, meaning this spring semester.”
We are getting close to the time when Watson’s cocksure assertion can be evaluated. How do things look for our empty suit president? Well folks, it looks like another steep enrollment drop is in the offing. Your might remember that our Fall enrollment dropped from 5701 in 2013 to 5211 in 2014. The extant data suggest that enrollment for Spring 2015 will come in at or just above 4800. Here are my calculations:
Enrollment as of Friday, January 16, 2015: 4811.
Last year at basically the same period of time (Saturday, January 18, 2014), the school’s enrollment stood at 5283. At the ten-day count on February 13, 2014, the enrollment had grown by only 14 students, to the final total of 5297. Thus, with the same increase of 14 students between now and February 12, Chicago State’s Spring enrollment would be 4825. However, I have to point out at least one caveat: last year at this time, students had been dropped for failing to validate their enrollments. This year, the validation date has been pushed back to February 12. Of course, that means our current enrollment number includes students who will ultimately be dropped for failing to pay for their classes.
How long will the people in positions with the power to change our leadership allow this to continue? Beginning earlier this week, highly-placed administrators like the Provost began advancing a narrative apparently designed to prepare us for another enrollment disaster. For some of Watson’s well-paid cronies, much of their energy seems geared toward putting lipstick (or a tuxedo if you prefer) on the administrative pig.
The depths to which the school has descended seem perfectly understandable given the caliber of our senior leadership. As I have noted a number of times on this forum, Wayne Watson has done nothing scholarly since writing his dissertation in 1972. He has no academic reputation and outside of a circle of sycophants and political allies, his “reputation” as an administrator is horrific. Frankly, this kind of disaster is what you get when you hire your spectacularly unqualified girlfriend as a key Enrollment Management administrator, along the way ignoring the lies on her application, or when you hire your longtime friend and crony as the head of Enrollment Management then, after an abysmal performance in that capacity, inexplicably promote her to the position of Provost. While you are thumbing your nose at the staff, students and faculty with these appointments, you bring along a number of your former City College loyalists, rewarding them with hefty raises and promotions despite breathtakingly inept performances.
Wayne Watson will walk away from the carnage he has created with a second hefty pension. Here is his current legacy at Chicago State: Enrollment in Fall 2010: 7362. Enrollment in Spring 2015: 4800? If our enrollment drops that low, the percentage decrease since Fall 2010 has reached nearly 35 percent. How in the world does anyone in charge of anything retain a position with such a performance? It is long past time for someone to back up a truck to the Cook building and fill it with the people who have put us in this position. Get these people out of here while there is still a school left (as horribly wounded as it is) to salvage.