Saturday, March 20, 2010

More goings on.....

So in an earlier post, I alluded to the changes underway at the university. I wanted to pass along some other changes and non-changes. The first one I thought worth mentioning is the university’s plan to open a charter school. Originally scheduled to appear on the Chicago Board of Education’s February meeting agenda, it was suddenly and quietly removed from the agenda. Currently there is a plan to open the school in Fall of 2011. Given the controversial nature of charter schools, generally and the closing of Chicago Public Schools, the plan to thrust CSU into the K-12 education business may be ill conceived for a number of reasons. It doesn’t appear as though the university has considered the liability issues associated with educating minors. What will the insurance costs and potential damage to the institution in the event of any incidents be? Does the university currently have classroom and office space to spare for this endeavor? Given the level of deferred maintenance at the university, might it be better to focus scarce university resources on university functions rather than on a charter school which falls pretty far outside the boundaries of what the university does?

There has been some speculation that the university would be taking over the Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies which is currently housed at Northeastern Illinois University. Located at 700 E. Oakwood Boulevard the Center’s studies are distinguished by their interdisciplinary nature in the social sciences and humanities with an emphasis on ethnic and racial issues as they apply to basic urban studies. Given the depth of knowledge of the current Executive Director of the Center about the business of CSU, it seems a natural progression to have the Center taken over by CSU as the university has another “builder” president wishing to expand the physical footprint of the university. I called the Public Affairs office at NEIU on March 11th, and was informed there were no plans by NEIU to give up hosting the Carruther’s Center. I will keep an eye on this and let you know if there are any changes...

And on a self-interested note, I am very curious why contract negotiations for UPI Local 4100 have not started yet. I imagine that the union negotiators are wise enough not to ask for money in the first year and there are several other issues that should be addressed. For example, if my contractual rights are violated by the administration, there is no consequence for the administration. Yet if I don’t fulfill my contractual obligations, there will most certainly be sanctions. That hardly seems fair. Why not award faculty two weeks pay for the first grievance won in a calendar year, four weeks pay for two successful grievances and cap it at six weeks pay for three or more grievances won in a calendar year? I am sure some administrators would start reading the contract more closely if there was some real accountability at this institution embedded in the contract.

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