What has been going on this summer? Here’s a brief recap of all the latest shenanigans from Chicago State University.
First, the most compelling current story, the ongoing saga of the incipient(?) Chicago State Foundation. Earlier, Corday detailed some of the problems inherent in the university not having a foundation with tax exempt status. Most important, no one wishing to contribute to the university can write their contribution off as a charitable deduction. Obviously, the inability to deduct a contribution to this school will hardly spur an upsurge in donations. A look at the university web site reveals the existence of a brand new entity: The University Foundation at Chicago State, or TUFCS for those of you who like acronyms. All web references to that evil old foundation have been expunged and we are now surging forward into a brighter future which will find the university awash in money. Take a look at the web site and see for yourself, it also includes brief biographical sketches of the new Board of Directors.
Of course, the question about the foundation’s tax-exempt status remains. Does this organization have 501c(3) status? Also, as of this morning, the Internal Revenue Service did not list an Employer Identification Number for the new foundation. The only EIN in the system was the number assigned to the old foundation. This means that, at least technically, the new CSU foundation is unable to employ anyone at this point. Stay tuned for further news as it becomes available.
We’ve apparently hired a new Vice President of Enrollment Management, although that person’s identity seems to be a secret. Currently, enrollment is running slightly ahead of this time last year, we can only hope that trend continues. Unfortunately, the damage done in that area under the direction of Angela Henderson and Cheri Sidney will take some time to undo. A memorandum from the University Budget Committee describing the budget priorities for fiscal 2016 and 2017, starkly detailed one of the major problems with this university office: a dearth of worthwhile data. Here is the pertinent section of that memorandum:
As the UBC realized, Enrollment Management operates in a universe far away from recoverable empirical data. Instead of data that can be analyzed and interpreted, this is what Enrollment Management provides:
Just what the hell does any of that mean? Of course, it’s enough to satisfy the board who, after all, think the folks at Enrollment Management are doing a great job. It is no wonder we are in such trouble.
In late June, I received an e-mail from a high-ranking administrator at an Eastern public university. This person indicated that Watson’s actions as Chicago State’s president provided material for staff training (ostensibly as a model of what not to do). This administrator also made some on-point comments about the local Chicago media, asking “Do neither the Sun Times nor the Tribune have any interest in what is happening at CSU? I am confused by the lack of coverage or critical editorials.” While the administrator’s question has no apparent answer, our plight has at least been noted in the world of the genuine academy.
Finally, just last Friday, a Cook County Circuit Court judge dismissed the university’s bogus case against Jokari Miller for resisting arrest (while CSU police choked him). It is my understanding that the CSU police failed to arrive in court in time for the hearing and that they are going to attempt to re-file the charges. Given the university’s track record in its criminal cases against students (quite an accomplishment for an academic institution to be known for its bullshit prosecutions), that seems like another waste of taxpayer dollars. We will see how that turns out.
I hope you are all enjoying your summers and Happy Bastille Day to everyone!