Monday, March 5, 2012

Reminders & Stuff & who is that sad little boy on the billboard?

All quiet on the CSU front?
Not necessarily. You know there's always something afoot--meetings or meetings cancelled in favor of other meetings... The Crisis Clinic on fire, floating down the river and over a cliff (remember Boynton's cartoon image of this?)

First things first. The CSU Board of Trustees is meeting on Friday, March 9th. It is not a bad thing to attend to see the CSU operation in action. It certainly won't be as exciting as it must have been today at the emergency meeting of the Trustees of our big sister school U of I Champagne-Urbana. Could those Trustees have met so quickly because of their faculty's vote of no confidence in its president? I've heard it said that boards don't take those things seriously (pesky faculty). At any rate, U of I is a much bigger fish to fry in the state's eyes than other places--remember how Gov Quinn didn't dare to interfere in a certain south side school's issues? So who knows. Will we ever see the end of this ILL state's universities as patronage pits in our lifetime? Senior colleagues and now retired faculty laugh at the question. The Don Quixote in me hopes.

On Friday our trustees will certainly hear about our many audit findings--apparently the last Pres-Faculty/Staff Town hall last week brought up this issue and those present were not subjected to yet another powerpoint lecture/hectoring on the mission and vision and HLC stuff. What does a second year of many audit findings mean for us? Did anyone answer that question? Will the Trustees? This Trustees meeting will be a historic occasion as well since a few faculty will be meeting with the Board somewhat less formally at lunch rather than in front of microphones during public comment--an excellent step thanks to the efforts of the current board and faculty senate presidents. There are many interested students and I expect they will be showing up as well as they have been the last few meetings.

On other fronts--while standing on the corner of Roosevelt Rd and Wabash I glanced up to see a ginormous billboard on the side of a building with the face of a very young black child staring at me with penetratingly scared, sad eyes. I thought it was an ad for "Save the Children" or possibly Uniceff. I was surprised to find it was for Chicago State--in particular masters programs in nursing and public health. The image is also flashing on our website. Cute kid, but the message confuses me--does anyone else understand what it is supposed to mean?

And with all this I think the time is right for us to have that conversation we never got to have in 2009 when another Board of Trustees refused to converse with its faculty over what it is a university, our university, should be. A few of my colleagues have been weighing in on this lately and the time may be right for a campus-wide discussion --especially in light of certain statements made on the GOP campaign trail. It would be nice to tell the HLC (assuming they are not just part of the patronage pit process) that the constituencies on campus have genuinely shared ideas and communicate regularly. We'll see...

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