So as is the custom of many media outlets, this time of year provides an opportunity to recap what has happened in the past twelve months as a way of helping to focus our attention ahead to 2017. "You can't get where you're going if you don't know where you've been" comes to mind at this time of year. In brief, within the past twelve months, the university has had three presidents, lost 20% of its students, declared and terminated financial exigency, fired tenured faculty (sort of), lost half of its workforce, decimated its enrollment management function, welcomed 86 first time full time freshmen, had the Crowley verdict upheld by the Illinois State Supreme Court, held on to incompetent Watson cronies, got sanctioned by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and further damaged its reputation with among other things, a nationally broadcast key turn in fiasco. Who would have imagined all that would have been possible in a short twelve months?
Thankfully, the university will be getting four new trustees in the New Year. I imagine the Governor has had trouble finding volunteers for a ship that is clearing sinking quickly. Who would want to oversee a university that has had a 53% enrollment decline since 2010 largely due to incompetent and corrupt management? Being a board member is supposed to be a part time job, yet at CSU it is likely to require more hours than at any other university. And if those new board members are appointed in early January, as is anticipated, they will come on board just in time for a visit from the HLC on January 23 & 24. Will those board members be able to address questions from the visitation team about Criterion 5 and the university's plan for continued financial viability? With 26 days before the HLC visit only time will tell.
It is clear to me that 2016 has been an eventful year in many respects that mercifully will draw to a close this weekend. As bad as you or I may have experienced it, 2017 could certainly be much worse. Let us exercise caution as we usher out the old and usher in the new.
Could it be worse? You bet.