Friday, October 30, 2009

A Chicago State of Illinois Ethics Test

Considering the sham of "ethical" governance that we labor under in Illinois (and forget about shared governance on campus), I find that the mandatory state ethics test for employees to be even more insulting this year than in the past. As I was starting to answer its ridiculous questions I wondered what the test for my superiors (sic) in governance looked like. Maybe it's something like this:

1. As a member of a Board of Trustees at a state university you are allowed to:

a. reward your supporters (or relatives) with university contracts, why else did you become a “trustee”?

b. make university policy such as set admission standards and lower ACT scores

c. play the race card with the media and do the same with local ministers you know when any of your actions are criticized

d. direct the president and provost to fire people who try to stand up to you

e. ignore your major role in donating money to the school

f. all of the above

2. As a member of a state university Board of Trustees, you are conducting a presidential search at your university. You know the candidate you would like to hire, but there are pesky constituencies on campus (like students, faculty, and administrators) who must be given the appearance of consultation. You can dispense with any “equal opportunity employment” laws —the Governor is in your pocket (it’s an election year), he won’t interfere, so you

a. hire a local search firm you know for $78,000 under the guise of conducting a “national” search to give a veneer of legitimacy to the process

b. select a top adminstrator to act as a buffer between you and the tedious faculty who don’t know their place—why should You have any direct conversation with Them?

c. refuse to let those pesky campus constituencies anywhere near the portfolios of all the applicants for the president’s job because they might see the more qualified candidates who have applied from outside of Chicago

d. use your lawyer to issue memos corroborating that same veneer of legitimacy (see “a” above) so that the governor will keep his nose out of your southside business

e. all of the above

3. As a President of a state university you are allowed to

a. blame faculty teaching as the root of the problems at the university

b. use your university’s media equipment to film advertisements for your politician friends

c. fire people who refuse to do things that they worry are illegal—how dare they question you

d. surround yourself with people who know how to say “yes”

e. believe your own publicity about yourself.

f. all of the above

4. As Governor of the State of Illinois you want to be known as someone who will reform your corrupt state government, but you are too weak and tied into the system to be effective, so you:

a. make a great show of power by publicly targetting a really minor infraction of the trustees at a major university

b. ignore the truly major infractions and malfeasance of the trustees of a very minor university under your jurisdiciton

c. back down from your own ultimatum when faced with anything that might offend black ministers whom you think will deliver you a lot of votes from their congregations

d. reveal your own inner racist by deciding simply to let “those people” on the southside of Chicago deal with the problems down there

e. all of the above

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