Here's another Tribune editorial focusing on the ridiculous West side campus, the broken system of university governance in Illinois, and lambasting the administration at Chicago State. One thing notably missing is how politicians have consistently ignored our pleas for help. How they have ignored our requests for legitimate leadership, an end to the cronyism at the school, and decent financial practices. Please remember how Governor Quinn refused to intercede in 2009 when the Board hired Watson. Please remember how Quinn moved to protect Watson's position in 2013 when his job was in jeopardy. Please remember how Quinn appointed friends of Watson to the Board after that close shave in 2013. Please remember how, despite protests from the staff and faculty, the politicians did nothing as the Board continually enabled Watson's vile administration. Please remember how that ethically bankrupt Board rewarded Watson for years of incompetence and vindictiveness with a contract extension, a university office, tenure, and a fancy title. Please remember how those same Board members undermined President Calhoun from virtually his first day on the job, keeping the university in control of that pack of Watson cronies who have so damaged the school. Finally, please remember how we provided information on all those things, not only to the politicians, but to the media. The net result: nothing.
Here are some excerpts from the Tribune's editorial: "But why were CSU leaders spending money on expanding their mismanaged realm?" The answer? "Because no one stopped them, that's why. No one in Springfield — no politicians, no state board of regents with rigorous control — held them accountable for their many years of failure. For the cronyism and corruption that thrived on campus." Finally this: "Gov. Bruce Rauner has named several new CSU board members, including former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, to halt this textbook case of educational malpractice. All of this is part of a leadership shake-up to impose oversight and accountability on a university accustomed to neither." This shouldn't come as a surprise to the Tribune's editorial board, we've been telling them all that for years. As I've said before, despite mountains of evidence proving the mismanagement and malfeasance of Wayne Watson and his cronies, despite numerous appeals to our Board, state and local politicians, oversight bodies, and the news media, no one lifted a finger to reform this school.
The students, staff, and faculty at Chicago State bear no responsibility for the administrative mismanagement of Watson and his predecessors. In fact, those groups have been victimized by an administration that still holds the university in its grip. Just ask the students who have been damaged by academic policies unilaterally imposed by an incompetent and vindictive Provost; the staff and faculty who lost their jobs while friends of senior administrators kept theirs; the staff, who on a daily basis are confronted with the incompetent, arbitrary, and capricious decisions and policies imposed upon them by crony administrators with no idea what they're doing; the students who voted against the Watson regime by leaving the campus in droves.
The staff and faculty at this school are far from perfect. However, no one from either of those groups hired a girlfriend into a lucrative management job, despite proven lies about her academic credentials. No one from either of those groups hired and promoted other employees who submitted falsified applications, cost the university millions of dollars for illegal terminations, generated scandal after scandal, laid off hundreds of employees, oversaw an enrollment drop of nearly 60 percent, failed to raise money for the school, hired friends and politically connected persons with no regard for their competence, and ultimately brought the university to the brink of extinction. While this disaster unfolded, everyone in the state with the power to stop it sat on their hands and did nothing. They knew, they chose inaction.
Now, somewhat belatedly, someone is paying attention. The only way this campus can progress is to root out every vestige of the corrupt Watson administration. Boot him off campus and fire his cronies, do a complete audit of his compliance and financial practices. Any action short of that will soon consign this school to oblivion.
Here's a link to the editorial: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-chicago-state-csu-rauner-vallas-reform-edit-0214-jm-20170213-story.html