Is it worth mentioning that there is a Board of Trustees meeting tomorrow? Does anyone really care anymore what the shills of Rauner, that cadaverous lot that pompously "oversees" the university, does tomorrow? This is the board that was politically constituted by ex-Governor Quinn to keep CSU in the hands of Wayne Watson and his lackeys. They dodged every attempt at shared governance, they got the accrediting bodies to look the other way on the quasi-legal actions of the administration, they were in cahoots with the local and state pols, they breached the ethical standards for boards of trustees issued by the association of governing boards. They never sat as impartial overseers of the university. Do we care any more what they do to finish us off?
Really, besides firing us all (already done that) and declaring more buildings closed and a truncated fall semester, what's the point? Do we need to endure the disgusting demeanor of them yukking it up on the dais with Nikki Zollar's bff Angela Henderson and her minions patting themselves on the back with their everything-is-rosey-pollyanna "reports?" What else are they going to do --declare financial exigency? Already done that. The most extreme step a university could take they took in February. And what do they do at their appalling Trustees meetings in March and May? They do not address it publicly. They express little sympathy or concern for those poorly paid workers who got the boot in April or the adjuncts who were told to clear out their offices in May. They sit stoically through the 10 or so public comments they allow while the real life people whose lives have been upended tell their stories and admonish them, to no avail. What will they do at the board meeting tomorrow? Let the highly paid Watson administrators remain with their full salaries not even demanding of them to take furlough days? Already doing that. And by the way, if it is true that administrators have been told to give up vacation days, that is not the same thing as a furlough and it is hardly a sacrifice.
"A thousand gnat bites is worse than a blow to the head," so wrote Victor Klemperer in his chronicle of the politics in Germany in the 1930s as the fascist vise closed around the population, especially the Jewish population. Liberties eclipsed one by one, not all at once, until the state was made into the image of fascist dictatorship. CSU is dying a death by strangulation, a thousand gnat bites, not the blow to the head. Rauner worked this out quite cleverly, our Board is playing it out as planned. Believe if you want that this difficult time will work out for the best for CSU, that the deadwood will be cut and we will go on to greatness eventually, "the diamond in the rough," "the gem of the southside" will prevail for another 150 years. Before you subscribe to this view, however take a look at what has happened to Chicago City Colleges:
I think that as the City Colleges go, so go the old board of governors' schools: consolidation of programs, closing of programs, universities realigned or sold off, fewer full-time faculty.
The crisis at CSU and other public universities extends beyond the state of ILL. There is a national crisis that is seeing the demise of the commitment to the public good through public education and the opportunities it once offered. Wisconsin, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Kansas and other states are disinvesting in public education. And yet, have a look at another article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed, "The Real Reason Small Colleges Fail." The focus is on private schools, but the patterns reported fit our little school in ways that you cannot ignore.
Spoiler alert: the real reason small schools fail? Their Board of Trustees.