Last night our figurehead president put out an insipid memo saying virtually nothing substantive about the Crowley decision. Here’s the text:
January 31, 2017
Dear University Community,
In the spirit of transparency, the University has been informed that the media plans to report on the final verdict from a 2014 case against Chicago State University. CSU continues to express its commitment to moving forward and rebuilding.
We continue to report that our highest priority is to focus on important matters such as our students, staff, and University operations.
Be assured, the University will continue to be good stewards of University funds and look forward to a productive year.
Cecil B. Lucy
• First of all, I don’t know to what the word “transparency” refers. It is hardly necessary for the administration to tell us about a news story so readily available. So the first paragraph is essentially meaningless. I’ll talk more about “transparency” later in this post.
• Second, the second paragraph is the same laugh line that appeared in yesterday’s Tribune story.
• Finally, the assertion that “the University will continue to be good stewards of University funds” requires some examination.
The issues of “transparency” and “good stewards[hip]” are intertwined. Here’s what the university’s interim president would have said if he was being completely transparent. Unfortunately a statement like this one undermines his assertion of fiscal responsibility:
Last night the Cook County Circuit Court closed a disgraceful chapter in the history of Chicago State. After months of unnecessary delay in satisfying a judgment the university had no chance of altering, the court hit us with a $4.3 million bill, increased to well over $5 million by the award of plaintiff’s attorney costs.
Since we have to pay this amount immediately or incur additional penalties, we are going to have to find a way to discharge the financial obligations incurred as a result of this decision. This is the kind of administrative misconduct we can no longer tolerate.
As I said in my previous post, the university in 2010 could have terminated Crowley without cause at the cost of around $100,000. Now we are liable for over $5 million (closer to $6 million if the money we spent defending the indefensible is factored in). I fail to see how that makes the administration “good stewards of University funds.”
Frankly, it is far worse than the plain vanilla memorandum suggests. That’s because around $6 million in university funds is apparently now frozen to satisfy the judgment (according to a highly placed administrative source). That’s two months of payroll folks. I guess the courts don’t agree that we are law unto ourselves here at Chicago State.