Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CSU ≠ Southside Community College

Sunday's New York Times (Nov. 28th 2009) brought this article edited by the Chicago News Cooperative: "Chicago News Cooperative: Problems and Discontent Bedevil Chicago State"

The story has been "bedeviling" the Administration for the past few days. One can almost hear the condemnations of "the white-controlled media" ringing through the corridors of the Cook Building. It must be quite stinging after the love letter Wayne Watson and Leon Finney received in the Chronicle of Higher Ed two weeks ago. Blumenstyk's article there is so highly esteemed by the CSU powers that be that it is posted on the mainpage of the CSU website! Of course, no faculty or representatives from the Faculty Senate were quoted in that unbalanced portrait.

Granted, the NY Times article itself meanders from Convocation center costs to graduation rates and is bedeviled (word of the day) by its own inaccuracies. Are budget cuts so severe that there are no fact checkers left in journalism? Wayne Watson has not been president of CSU since 2008, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee resigned in April 2009, not in July 2008. These are journalism 101 failings. And yet one cannot dismiss the article merely on these points.

The most interesting comment comes from our own alumnus, Sen. Edward Maloney, and gives one a glimmer of hope that someone in the Illinois State political web cares a little bit about what is happening with us. It's the first public stand I've seen him take since a contingent from the CSU Faculty Senate and Alumni Association met with him in June to discuss the problems connected to CSU's flawed presidential search. It seems Sen. Maloney does not share Trustee Finney's desire to lower standards in order to raise enrollment. And he disagrees with Pres. Watson on Rickey Hendon's west-side pork project to build a CSU extension campus over there. More importantly, he sees CSU as a state university, not a "south-side university," let alone an extension of the Chicago City colleges. Thank God someone in politics has said it. And considering what I've heard about CSU linking up with Daley College, I hope Sen. Maloney will be true to his words. But more on that later.

Here are Sen. Maloney's comments:

...But State Senator Edward D. Maloney, Democrat of Chicago, a Chicago State graduate and chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee, said improving the university’s graduation rate should be at the top of the list.

“They have to raise standards, be aggressive about recruiting quality kids who are going to graduate,” Mr. Maloney said. “It’s a state university, not a South Side university.”
Dr. Watson supports a move initiated by State Senator Rickey R. Hendon, Democrat of Chicago, to create a $40 million Chicago State satellite campus on the city’s West Side. Mr. Maloney opposes the proposal.

“I will do whatever I can to see that doesn’t happen until there is some proof at the current campus that there’s a willingness to improve,” Mr. Maloney said. “I can’t see anyone appropriating that kind of money for another campus when the current one clearly is not fulfilling its responsibility.”

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