So the Tribune is reporting that the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has sanctioned the university about its compliance with Criterion 5 of the HLC accreditation criteria. Your humble narrator is not always the sharpest knife in the drawer so it is easy to understand my confusion about this entire situation. As I understand this situation to this point 1) Governor Rauner announced his plan for major cuts of more than 30% for higher education in February 2015, 2) the university did not create a plan of any sort after that announcement to address significant reductions of state appropriated resources, 3) the legislature passed a budget in 2015 which the Governor vetoed thus setting off the budget impasse, 4) public universities went without an appropriation for 10 months, 5) the CSU Board of Trustees declared financial exigency in February 2016, stripping executive authority from the newly hired president, 6) the Board created Management Action Committee stumbled through the execution of the exigency in the worst possible way with public failures around employee layoff notifications, key return, property control etc., 7) the Higher Learning Commission made an onsite visit as a result of the exigency declaration and 8) the HLC responded with the sanction discussed in the aforementioned article.
If I have articulated this correctly several questions emerge. First, why are the people who didn't create a plan in the first place allowed to continue in their six figure positions? Second, why given the statement by the President noted in the article, has the Board not acted to terminate the exigency, a condition which continues to hurt the university? Third, why has the legislature not exercised oversight and demanded answers to questions from the university about why CSU was the only public university to declare exigency? Fourth, why hasn't the Governor demonstrated leadership and demanded accountability from the university for its continued absence of planning?
I believe, loyal readers, that many of you have the same questions and more about this situation. I will offer further information in a future post about the exigency?
For now, it is, indeed, unfortunate that the university's accreditation is actually at risk because its administration was incapable or uninterested in planning for a foreseeable situation. As this is Illinois and accountability is only a buzz word, it isn't surprising that those responsible for the mess the university is in are still in place thanks to the Board and this asinine financial exigency continues.