So on January 17th, the Governor made official his appointment of four trustees to the CSU Board. One name was particularly noteworthy, that being Paul Vallas, former head of the Chicago Public Schools and recognized turnaround specialist in K-12 systems. The other three trustees, Mr. Kambium Buckner, Mr. Nicholas A. Gowen, and Ms. Tiffany R. Harper, all attorneys in Chicago, bring the benefit of legal education and incisive interrogation of critical issues to the position of trustee. Unfortunately the newly appointed trustees cannot meet because of prohibitions imposed by the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Therefore, their first gathering will be tomorrow at the next scheduled board of trustees meeting.
As an interested observer, I am eager to see how the board handles the Governor's wish that Paul Vallas be the board chairman. Apparently, Trustee Hatch was caught off guard by the Governor in comments made at the announcement of the new trustees. The window is narrow for the Board to keep the ship from sinking.
The new trustees will have a steep learning curve, and at least temporarily, be plied with misinformation from a group of failed administrators and their enabling supporters. I sincerely hope they aren't given any narrative about the university's problems stemming from the current budget impasse. The enrollment fiasco started in 2010 when Pat Quinn was in his first term as governor. The university has experienced 13 consecutive semesters of enrollment decline. This clearly predates, the Rauner administration. The new trustees must be disabused of the fabrications they are likely to hear about the nature and causes of the dysfunction at CSU. I would invite them to look at the body of evidence of misconduct and incompetence and ask who was individually and collectively responsible and once that is clear, DO NOT REWARD FAILURE!
Courageous members of this board attempted to course correct in March 2013 and unfortunately failed. The university finds itself in its current situation as a result of that failed attempt to protect the interests of the university. As there is likely not much time left for the university in a practical sense, I hope they move boldly away from a culture of failure that became firmly ensconced in 2009.
I extend a heartfelt welcome to the professionals willing to undertake what is clearly a formidable challenge, rooting out a culture of administrative failure and protecting a 150 year old higher education institution from totally imploding.
I am sure I speak for all faculty when I say we stand ready to assist in your learning about how universities should work and supporting your leadership to protect the institution.