Hey everyone, it’s time to get excited: the first audit report is out! This is the financial audit, it’s full of numbers and things like that, but there’s some interesting text too. That is what I will focus on in this post, but I promise that I’ll have another soon with lots and lots of figures. In this piece, I will examines the Management Discussion and Analysis and offer my own translations of the meanings of various segments of this multi-page monument to dissembling. This is where the school’s administration gets to spin like crazy to give the impression they have some kind of an idea what they are doing. Of course, we know differently. Along the way, I will test the veracity of Watson’s “right-sizing” bullshit. Anyway, if you want to see the report for yourself, it’s on the Illinois Auditor General’s web site.
After several years of claiming that the university is in a “strong” financial position, this year’s iteration of the MD&A, is somewhat more cautious. This year’s “highlights” are also a classic example of the rhetorical gyrations upon which this administration depends to hide its incompetence. However, their ineptitude inevitably seeps through. In the 2014 “highlights,” the administration talked only about financial matters, somewhat appropriate in a financial audit. However, there were not very many financial “highlights” handy in 2015. Thus, the administration had to change the subject. Rather than talking about finances, it talked about graduation and retention. Of particular note are these passages, which should induce gales of laughter from anyone acquainted with Chicago State’s dire enrollment situation. First, “[t]he University continues to remain competitive in the Chicagoland higher education market by . . . building on-demand niches . . .” (what are those?) Then, “the University continues to allocate resources for student recruiting . . . with proven results.” Certainly, the university can point to proven results, a drop of only 2544 students in four years. Here is the excerpt:
In translation, I think what our administrators are really saying is something along the lines of “we are utterly clueless as to how to address our worsening enrollment crisis, nothing we try seems to work and we hope you won’t notice.”
Of course, the administration of a school in the process of “right-sizing” its student population need not concern itself with enrollment declines. After all, are not those losses part of the master plan? Wayne Watson has, at least for the past few months, asserted that these enrollment declines are all part of building a stronger institution. Unfortunately, the behavior of our administration belies his ridiculous claims. There are a number of references in the financial audit to the deleterious effects on our financial condition caused by our enrollment decline. Embedded in these references is additional information that speaks to the epic failures of our enrollment strategies and the people who create and implement them. Two excerpts from the report address the enrollment decline:
In excerpt one, we see that the administration adopted “deeper tuition discounts” in a vain attempt to check the exodus of students from the univesity. In excerpt two, the administration described its enrollment strategies as “increased scholarship allowances . . . to level tuition enrollment.” The excerpts:
I think that what the administration is truly saying here is that “we are terrified that this runaway enrollment drop will continue and we are willing to give money to anyone who will take it, as long as it keeps them in school and, most important, keeps us employed in our highly-compensated positions.” Unfortunately for that ever-growing army of administrators looting the school, neither strategy appears particularly successful.
No discussion of Chicago State’s administration would be complete without the revelation of another lie coming from personnel in the Cook building. On January 13, 2015, at a Faculty Senate meeting, Angela Henderson told the Senate that the idea for ending the contract between the university and the CSU foundation came from the Board. Here is a summary of her comments:
Here is the material from the audit report. It oozes dishonesty:
Lo and behold, in the most recent audit, the administration told the Auditors about its plans to create a “new” fund-raising entity for Chicago State. As the administration’s statement indicates, the idea for this move came from “the University,” which, of course, means Wayne Watson. Is there any wonder the people in our administration have lost their credibility? Personally, I think it is time to stop acting like the people who “run” this university have the faintest idea what they are doing. They are simply a bunch of incompetents who have taken us to the brink.