Given the latest negative news story about our West Side Campus activities, are we to expect another non-response from the Interim President? Another attempt to blame Chicago State’s woes on some shadowy conspiracy to damage the university’s “brand?” Let’s be clear here. The credibility problems were currently experience are not the fault of Dawn Rhodes or Jodi Cohen of the Tribune. They’re not the fault of anyone among the students, staff, or faculty. Let’s take a look at the administrative response to today’s story.
“Chicago State officials, including the interim president, declined to answer specific questions from the Tribune but issued a statement saying that no final decisions have been made related to the ‘opening, construction, or the purchase of property’ for a West Side campus.
The university also denied the Tribune's open records requests for contracts and other financial documents that typically are subject to public disclosure.
University attorneys contend they are not required to turn over information about ongoing ‘real estate purchase negotiations’ until the transactions have been finalized. They also said they do not have to provide information about the contracts ‘until an award or final selection is made.’
The floundering pursuit comes amid a history of questionable decision-making by Chicago State leadership . . .”
Here’s what the Chicago State Budget Committee (another committee whose members put in a great deal of work with no apparent result since the administration apparently doesn’t much care about their recommendations) thought about the West Side Campus:
"The committee believes that if the operational funds requested for the West Side Campus were not granted by the state, the project is not viable," the committee's 2014 report states. "CSU cannot afford a drain in the budget ... given the resources that we have are already stretched thin."
So once again, our administration resorts to stonewalling in an attempt to run away from questions about possible financial shenanigans. Rest assured that the Tribune will contest the denial of their FOIA request, an effort likely to be rewarded by the Attorney General’s Office. When the information is fully disclosed it will undoubtedly result in another negative story. Instead of exhibiting forthrightness by responding to this story, possibly consigning it to one and done status, the university’s leadership, particularly the General Counsel, refuses to respond to a completely legitimate request for public information. I guess our administrators really haven’t learned anything from the Crowley fiasco, I guess they only know one way to respond to public oversight: with deceit. Why do these people still have jobs here?