Saturday, April 4, 2009

CSU in the news again???

So I see our non-searching search process has made the news. Apparently there are some who believe that the election of Barack Obama ushered in a new era of doing the public’s business in an open and transparent way. There are some who believe that being a political insider could be a liability in some situations, like being picked to be the next president of this university months before the previous president announced her leaving. Leaving the university community out of the process in any substantive way is an indicator that the BOT didn’t get the memo about politics as usual.

Let’s recap, shall we. After a contentious contract negotiation several years ago, the Faculty Senate voted no-confidence in the leadership of the president. The BOT was notified and never responded to the faculty concerns. Then we had copier gate, audit gate, audit gate part deux, furniture gate, International Studies gate and other minor incidents demonstrating a lack of board oversight. We fast forward ahead to the Presidential Search and the BOT spends $75,000 to find two finalists who live down the street, literally. I am beginning to wonder if the search process and the two candidates discovered as a result of it are indicators of a larger problem that the university community should really consider.

It looks like a message has been delivered to the BOT because they are going to be busy on Thursday April 9th. The Board has two scheduled committee meetings at 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM. They have also included a special meeting of the full board at 8:30 AM. I hope they don’t rush through these meetings as careful and deliberate consideration of university business is critical. Included in that is hearing what the community has to say and I imagine the community has much to say, especially about the appearance of politics as usual in the selection of the two finalists in the presidential search.

So what would happen if by magic neither of the two candidates were selected to be the next president? Would that preclude future insider dealing? Would that guarantee a more open, inclusive process the next time? Would that encourage the interim president to stay longer, perhaps another year as he was invited by a high ranking Illinois House representative? Or does real resolution of this situation reside at a higher level perhaps beyond the friendly confines of 95th & King Drive?

I welcome your thoughts.

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