For those of you who think you can breathe a sigh of relief because Watson is leaving in mid-2016, think again. Between now and June of next year, he can deliver a death blow to Chicago State by continuing and even accelerating the practices that have been so destructive to this point. Here is what that ridiculous board of Anthony Young, Spencer Leake, Nikki Zollar, Horace Smith, Michael Curtin and James Joyce have wrought: more crony hires, more administrators, more money wasted, more interference in academic affairs and faculty governance, more lawsuits, more scandals, and of course, fewer students. Is there a worse board of trustees for any university in the country?
Let’s start with the phony search that will commence soon for his successor. Look at the Chair of the Search Committee: Nikki Zollar, the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in no-bid contracts from Watson when he was Chancellor of the City Colleges. What search firm do you think the Board will choose? What will the Search Committee look like? What are the odds that after this expensive “national search” we will be saddled with another local political hack or demonstrable incompetent like the most high-profile products of expensive and much-ballyhooed searches for top administrative positions at the school. Here comes another rigged search. In fact, I’m sure that Watson, Young and Zollar can already tell us who the new president will be, after all, in this era of dynasty-building at Chicago State, Watson will undoubtedly get to make the choice.
In any event, I expect the administrators with their snouts buried in the public trough to increase their efforts to loot the university while there’s something left of the school. I will talk more about this later, but here’s one example of the kind of crap we can look forward to in the next sixteen-plus months: This e-mail from Watson announces a new search, for an Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. This is quite surprising since on January 23, 2015, the University’s organizational chart listed no such position. Instead, we had a Dean of Student Affairs. So, sometime between January 23 and February 6, Watson waved his magic wand and elevated that position to a Vice President’s position, increasing the number of top level administrators to 14 (5 Vice Presidents, 7 Associate Vice Presidents and 2 Assistant Provosts) compared to 6 in 2010. At a school which has lost more than 2500 students since then. How many other new Vice President positions is Watson going to create?
Now you might be interested to know that in comparison with the phenomenal growth of our administrative ranks, the faculty at Chicago State have been steadily reduced since fiscal 2010. That year, the university had 235 unit A faculty in academic departments, the library and counseling center, in February 2015, it has 196, a decrease of 16.6 percent. Tenure/tenure-track faculty has dropped from 232 in 2010 to 181 in 2015, a decrease of 22 percent. Given the university’s problems with enrollment, the reduction in faculty ranks seems understandable. Compare these figures with the 26.7 percent increase in administrative positions during the same period and with the 233 percent increase in positions with Vice President/Assistant Provost titles.
I can assure the readers of this blog that we will continue to expose the malfeasance of this administration as soon as it is discovered. For those of you who think this nightmare is over, you could not be more wrong. The next few months will be a bloodbath, particularly for our students and the taxpayers of Illinois. By the way, who do you think will be our new Associate Vice President of Student Affairs?