Those of you who pay attention to such things have undoubtedly noticed that a spirited debate about who should lead Chicago State is now taking place in our local media outlets. This argument is remarkably like one occurring among a group of parents. Once they decide on the best course of action, they will instruct the children what that action will be and how to behave. We have people debating the future, indeed the very existence of this University without talking to the students, staff, or faculty. I suppose we should take comfort in that kind of parental control.
The “no white person should be president of Chicago State” faction is particularly guilty of this kind of paternalism. First of all, this group makes the straw man argument that there will be a white person as president. To the best of my knowledge, no one who actually knows what they are talking about has said that. Here are the proponents of that viewpoint who have commented on the Chicago State leadership situation:
The two articles by Mary Mitchell (textbook examples of propaganda masquerading as journalism) used the Chicago Crusader’s previous story as well as comments from “community activist” Kamm Howard. Secretary of Education Beth Purvis and Paul Vallas provided the opposing viewpoint, although Mitchell gave Vallas no opportunity to comment on Howard’s critical remarks. The Chicago Crusader’s sources included “some officials” at Chicago State, and various anonymous “sources.” The only named source was Board member Nikki Zollar.
Then yesterday, we had a gaggle of “Black Officials” or “Black City Leaders” hold a press conference on campus. This group included Roderick Sawyer, Stanley Moore, Chuy Garcia, Alderman David Moore, Alderman Howard Brookins, and a number of other people whose faces are not familiar to me. Their main argument was that they did not want Paul Vallas at Chicago State.
Since none of these reporters or public officials sought the children’s views, I will provide them.
1) We want Thomas Calhoun reinstated as Chicago State President.
2) We want this institution to function as a state university, not a corrupt political ward. We want an end to the rank cronyism that has created our current crisis situation.
3) In order to achieve point #2, we want Wayne Watson and all his cronies off this campus. That specifically includes Angela Henderson, Patrick Cage, and Renee Mitchell, along with any other lower level persons currently afflicting the university.
4) We have no confidence in Interim President Cecil Lucy. We want him removed from his position.
5) We insist that the University’s finances be subjected to a forensic audit.
6) We will support any effort by the Chicago State University Board of Trustees to bring in a university leader who will make sweeping personnel changes at the top of our administration.
7) In line with our views in point #6, we will support a Board decision to grant temporary executive and personnel authority to Paul Vallas.
Yesterday’s press conference exposed the hypocrisy of some of those “leaders” who were so willing to pontificate about what the Board should do. I don’t remember seeing any of them protesting the outrageous firing of Thomas Calhoun; I don’t remember hearing any of them denounce the various scandals and corrupt practices of the Watson administration. Roderick Sawyer found time on his busy calendar to support Wayne Watson when the Board wanted to fire him in 2013. Now he finds time to again meddle in the affairs of a STATE University when Watson’s interests are newly threatened. Most shameful, those “leaders” tried to stifle dissenting ideas at yesterday’s press conference.
When Dr. Kelly Harris, who has actually worked here for a number of years, had the audacity to ask pointed questions, he was told that (paraphrase) “if you’re not running for office, you should shut up and leave.” When Dr. Harris and Professor Kim Dulaney pointed out that we had the person we wanted in Thomas Calhoun, the response was (paraphrase again) "He's welcome to apply." Really? Are any of you people going to be part of the selection process? Do any of you make operational decisions for this university? Who the hell do you think you are?
Here’s some news for the people who want this University to maintain the status quo, including the people who participated in yesterday's clown show. We don’t need your pedantry. We don’t need your advice or instructions about how we should think or behave. In fact, we’d appreciate it if you kept your ignorance to yourselves. You have not supported this school. Rather, you’ve done material damage to it. You knew or should have known what was going on during the Watson administration and you did nothing. We especially don’t need your condescending bullshit. Take your puffed-up selves somewhere else to hold your “press conferences.”
It’s become clear that if this school is to be saved, the staff and faculty will do the saving. We have a competent, hard-working, and dedicated staff and faculty at Chicago State. All we require is leadership. Here’s the formula: Clear out the administrative garbage. Give us a quality leader. Get the hell out of our way.