Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bits and Pieces

REMINDER: Board of Trustees Meeting Friday March 1st, 2013, 8AM Library Auditorium

So, is it true that the former president has directed the General Counsel and the Human Resources Director to re-do the contracts of his most notorious crony hires to allow them to be paid for one year after they are presumably dismissed in a university restructuring? If true this might contravene BOT regulations. Curious that the General Counsel and HR Director would risk the inevitable questions that would come especially after their recent double digit pay raises.

Would the former president in his desperation actually communicate libelous allegations about a tenured faculty member and the Chief Academic Officer of the university to the Board of Trustees on the eve of his dismissal? Would his personal attorney, purported to be the spouse of a senior administrator, allow, encourage or participate in such an act which could be the basis for a civil suit? How deep does the conspiracy of petty, personal attack extend? Has it extended to students being paid by the former president to distribute on campus copies of the inflammatory letter referenced by birobi? The former president couldn’t possibly think that his ad hominem attacks on a faculty member would cow the faculty into silence, could he?

Why would the former president retain an attorney who is reported to specialize in criminal defense? Would there be a criminal case brewing as a result of the tenure of the former president? And it couldn’t possibly be true that the former president tried to use state funds to retain the aforementioned attorney but was blocked by the Purchasing Director because of the obvious illegal conflict of interest? Thankfully, no retaliation was directed against the Purchasing Director, who is bound to follow state and federal laws and state regulations.

It is the hope of your humble narrator that this most tragic turn of events is resolved in a way that the university’s interests are protected and its reputation restored. It isn’t the time for “I told you so’s” or retribution. It is now time to prepare the university for its next president through a search process, an endeavor your humble narrator will share his thoughts about with you soon.

Wayne Watson--Conspiracy Theorist

There are no depths to which Wayne Watson will not sink in his desperate attempt to stave off a well-earned termination. Today, I came into possession of a letter Watson reportedly sent to the Board of Trustees “about importance (sic) matters that led up to my request for an administrative sabbatical.”

The letter combines vile personal attacks with numerous allegations against a variety of persons: two members of the Board of Trustees, the Chicago State University Provost and the president of the Faculty Senate. Because some of the letter’s content seems libelous, I will not post it. Rather, I will provide a summary of its major points.

Watson claims that the “chair and vice chair of the board” improperly involved themselves in the internal affairs of the university and provides several examples of that involvement. He claims that he has e-mails to prove his allegations and that “members of the Administration have agreed to give sworn testimony to the truth of these statements.” In his estimation, this is the primary reason the Board wishes to remove him from the presidency.

He then moves on to the Provost and assigns responsibility for the 2011 enrollment scandal to her, claiming that “the General Counsel was prepared to explain her role in facilitating the policy directive that allowed hundreds of students to continue to enroll and receive federal and state aid while not meeting published academic standards.” He also made other claims regarding Dr. Westbrook’s truthfulness that he provided no evidence to support.

Watson saves his most vituperative attack for Faculty Senate President Philip Beverly. He begins by accusing Dr. Beverly of “using the majority of his classroom time to seek to organize students against the changes that led to the turnaround at the University rather than covering the curriculum approved by his department and paid for by students and taxpayers.” His next accusations sound libelous and do not deserve to be repeated. Watson then goes on to claim that the Senate’s no confidence vote is not supported by the Chicago State Faculty and that the 28 Senators who voted for the motion did so because they were “under Dr. Beverly’s control.”

Watson concludes his pleading by asking the Trustees (save for the Chair and Vice Chair) to “help me continue the mandate to transform the University.”

When the document is boiled down to its essence, Watson is implying that members of the Board, the Provost, and the Senate President are all conspiring against him for a variety of personal reasons. As has been the case with all the “defenses” of this president, Watson’s document contains no affirmative portrayal of his administration or its accomplishments and its argument is primarily Ad hominem.

Hopefully, this man will be discharged tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meanwhile, CSU faculty & students doing things that should have received media attention ...

Amidst all of the weirdness and insanity surrounding what appears to be the end of Wayne Watson's tenure as president of CSU, faculty and students have continued to focus on the real mission of CSU -- teaching, learning, scholarship, science, art -- what the overwhelming majority of those associated with the university do on a day-to-day basis. Occasionally, some faculty and students bring that activity outside the boundaries of the university itself, as was the case today with the CSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

In the downtown offices of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a Federal government agency, the CSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed a 45-minute program to celebrate Black History Month. The performance included 10 songs, and Director and CSU faculty member Deborah Williams gave a brief history of each song prior to the ensemble's performance. This performance, by the way, was also broadcast to the CFTC's headquarters in Washington, DC and the other regional CFTC offices in Kansas City and New York City.

So, while all of our local media has been focusing on the drama around the (hopefully soon to be ex-) president Watson, attention has been drawn away from those who represent what CSU should be known for in Chicago and across the country. At least some federal government workers heard first hand what professors and students at CSU do. Congratulations to the CSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble for representing what the university is and should be.

Here's the full program performed:
"Royal Garden Blues" (Clarence Williams & Spencer Williams, 1919; arr. Mark Burnell)
"Ain't Misbehavin" (Fats Waller, 1929)
"Moonglow" (Will Hudson, Eddie de lange, Irving Mills, 1934; arr. Teena Chinn)
"Summertime" (George Gershwin, 1935)
"At Last" (Mack Grodon & Harry Warren, 1941)
"When I Fall in Love" (Victor Young, 1952)
"Shiny Stockings" (Frank Foster, 1955; arr. Mark Burnell)
"Imagination" (James Van Heusen, 1959)
"Sweet Love" (Anita Baker, Louis Johnson, & Gary Bias, 1986)
"Birdland" (Joe Zawinul & Jon Hendricks, 1978)

Congratulations to the all of the members of the ensemble, including vocal soloists Mitchell Harris, Porald Harris, Shanavia Doyle, Faith Howard, Bradley Jenks, and Lisa Medlock, as well as Willie Jones, piano & David Flowers, bass. You should be the face of CSU, not Wayne Watson.

No Pity Party for Wayne Watson, the Poor Victim

Can we ever look like anything except a bunch of fools? The fiasco over Wayne Watson–he’s gone, then he’s not, again makes Chicago State a laughing stock. Nonetheless, there seems to be some truth among the detritus: 1) the faculty and staff at Chicago State do not want Wayne Watson as president. 2) the current Board of Trustees do not want Wayne Watson as president.

For the past three years, we have seen Wayne Watson and his acolytes launch a concerted attack against freedom of expression, faculty responsibility for academic matters, academic integrity, and both our contract and established university policy. This administration has governed by edict, using fear, intimidation and bullying in an attempt to impose its will on the university. This president has packed his administration with persons holding insufficient educational or experiential credentials for their positions and rewarded them for their lack of qualifications with hefty salaries.

Faculty calling for Watson’s removal have been called an “extremist gang,” “unprofessional,” “low-class” and “willfully intransigent.” Perhaps some of those epithets might be more appropriately applied to Wayne Watson. For an insight into his professional leadership style, I would urge readers to consult the material available on the lawsuit against Watson filed by Maria Moore of the City Colleges in 2009. To briefly summarize Moore’s complaint, on several occasions, Watson ordered her to produce videos for political cronies, an endeavor that Moore believed violated Illinois ethics laws. She expressed her concern to Watson who told her: ““I’ve heard your concerns. You’re wrong, I’m not asking you to do anything unethical. Do what I tell you to do or I’ll have you fired for insubordination.”

Moore then went to the Ethics Officer, Yolande Bourgeois and expressed her concerns. In 2006, Bourgeois met with Watson and he “refused to consider her concerns and ended the meeting.” Bourgeois then investigated Moore’s complaint, found it valid, identified Moore as the whistleblower and presented her findings to the City College Board of Trustees who also failed to act. She then reported what she believed to be the ethical violation to the Illinois State Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG.)

After this meeting, Wayne Watson engaged in systematic harassment of Moore. Included were threats of termination, the assignment of tasks that were not possible to complete in the allotted time frame, and verbal attacks against Moore for her temerity in reporting Watson’s ethical violations. In November 2006, Watson threatened Moore with termination if she ever spoke to Bourgeois again. Eventually, Moore lost her job, although Watson called it a resignation, she maintained it was an unlawful termination–hence the suit.

Ultimately, attorneys for the City Colleges defended Watson by asserting that conversations between Moore and Bourgeois (articulated by Bourgeois in a June 4, 2010 deposition) were protected by either attorney-client privilege or employee work product and therefore, privileged. On November 8, 2010, Judge Martin Ashman’s opinion that the bulk of Bourgeois’ deposition testimony was not privileged rendered that defense ineffective. In Bourgeois’ deposition, she described herself as being on “thin ice,” with Watson and asserted that “her own job was not secure at City Colleges.” Bourgeois also confirmed that she was aware of Watson’s directive that prohibited Moore from speaking with her and that Moore “could have been terminated if she violated it.” Shortly after Ashman’s ruling, the City Colleges settled the suit. On January 12, 2011, the City College Board of Trustees passed a resolution authorizing “the General Counsel to negotiate a settlement agreement with Maria Moore in full and complete settlement of her lawsuit, inclusive of all claims and costs, including attorney’s fees as provided by the privileged and confidential recommendation of the General Counsel.” Wayne Watson’s ethical violations and his harassment of one of his administrative employees had cost the City Colleges a substantial sum, probably close to one million dollars.

(The complaint is available in PDF form, simply Google Moore v. District 508–complaint. Ashman’s opinion is available here:
The City College Board Resolution is here:

Ideally, this ridiculous situation will soon be resolved without doing too much additional damage to the reputation of our long-suffering school. It is long past time for Wayne Watson to move on and for Chicago State to begin the process of healing. I think some of the words spoken by attorney Joseph N. Welch to Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954, are apropos here: "Until this moment . . . I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. . . You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Has CSU Become the Universal Center of Wierdness???

So loyal readers, I realize you may be disturbed by the unseemly behavior of former president Watson. His attack on Board members, faculty and administrators and the laughable missive issued to the university community imitating Samuel Clemens' remarks are clear evidence that he is unfit to serve. I view his continued presence on the campus as illegitimate and any decisions including the firing of the former Director of Financial Aid as null and void. I would hope that equally invalid would be the $20,000 pay raise received by the University's General Counsel, a larger pay raise received by the Director of Human Resources and a similar pay increase for another attorney in the General Counsel's office. 
I would hope that the Board of Trustees would rescind any offer of sabbatical and terminate the contract of Wayne Watson for cause. I realize that a suit would ensue, which ironically, would join the queue of current litigation brought since the tumultuous installation of this now disgraced president. They will have that opportunity on Friday March 1st, 2013 at 8 AM at the next scheduled meeting. And if after a vote in open session, the recalcitrant former president refuses to leave I would not be at all surprised if he were escorted off campus by officers from the Illinois State Police.
We should all be knowledgeable of the unseemly tactics used by the former president; scurrilous personal attacks, sucking up to elected officials like the governor, (see December Commencement), and spreading disinformation through sycophants and threatening to have random "community" leaders attend Board meetings to disrupt the lawful proceedings. 
So here's the forecast for the rest of the week. Mostly weird tomorrow, followed by extreme downpours of weirdness on Thursday, Late Thursday we will see intermittent periods of normality. Friday should see weirdness beginning to clear by mid day with mostly normal by mid-afternoon. The extended outlook for next week is weirdness clearing out completely by Monday followed by  normal into the middle of the week.
And now for something completely different...
In the spirit of Dave Letterman’s Top 10, I humbly present for your consideration the Top 10 positions that will need to be filled once the current illegitimate president is stood down by the Board of Trustees. Drum roll please.....
10. Dean of Students
9. Chief of Police
8.  Dean, College of Education
7. Director Human Resources
6. University Ethics Officer
5. Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
4. University Registrar
3. Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management
2. University General Counsel
1. Vice President, Enrollment Management

Of course given the numerous hiring irregularities of this disgraced president, there are several other positions that will need filling as well. 
Stay tuned

The theatre of the absurd that is CSU

I keep thinking of Bonaparte's return from Elba. Clearly CSU is going to be a laughing stock for yet one more reason.
When last I looked at the university's governing documents, the Board of Trustees, not Governor Quinn, still had authority over the university's President, but apparently "A Watson source (Hermene Hartman maybe?) disagrees. See Sneed's Sun Times post below.
Curiouser and curioser... Special Board of Trustees meeting on Friday btw.
The CSU battle . . .
  • If it’s true it’s never over ’til the fat lady sings, why does Sneed hear a tune?
  • To wit: The Chicago State University board’s battle to boot University President Wayne Watson from his top spot (exclusively reported in this column Sunday) is over as far as the board is concerned.
  • “It’s over. Watson has stepped down and is now on administrative sabbatical,” said a board source.
  • The flip side: A Watson source disagrees: “Wayne is on sabbatical. He’s not out yet. The issue has yet to be resolved. It’s up to Gov. Pat Quinn.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cafeteria Workers Need Our Support

For those who supported our campus food service workers in their struggle to organize a union last spring, here’s an update---They are nearing the settlement of their first contract, which will mean the first raise in a few years for many of the employees! In order to achieve this victory, they could use a little boost from the rest of the CSU Community. They are planning a series of actions over the next two weeks and would love our support as faculty and students as they stride towards justice in their workplace. Please contact me (773-995-2333) or UNITE HERE organizer Stuart Mora (517.648.4573) if you are free for even a part of these events or would like more information about the cafeteria workers' struggle or upcoming events.
 Here’s the calendar:
 Tuesday, February 26th 4pm – 8pm ---house visits to co-workers
Thursday, February 28th 4pm – 8pm ---house visits to co-workers
Friday, March 1st 630pm, on campus---phonebanking the Board of Trustees ahead of the next negotiations
Tuesday, March 5th   Negotiations with Thompson Hospitality
Friday, March 8th ---Board of Trustees Meeting ---Action Time TBA, sometime between 130 and 3pm

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Monday Board of Trustees Meeting Cancelled

Don't bother getting up too early tomorrow morning. No explanation has been given but we just received word that the emergency BOT meeting that was scheduled for Monday morning has been cancelled.

As Alice said, "things just get curiouser and curiouser."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day...

Well that explains why there is a special Board of Trustees meeting on Monday (fyi 7.30 am in the Library Auditorium). See below from Michael Sneed's column in the Sun Times today.
And does it all come down to a cliché.... "cherchez la femme" or is it déjà vu all over again-- "blame the faculty?"

Chicago Sun Times, February 23, 2013
Sneed exclusive...

Is Armageddon at hand at Chicago State University?

Sneed hears trouble is brewing at the South Side university, which was pockmarked for years by fiscal mismanagement and inept leadership.

  At issue: A battle between University President Wayne Watson, the highly respected former chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, and several university board members who reportedly want a new person at the helm.

The buckshot: Watson, who was hired in 2009 to install top-to-bottom management at the fiscally unsound school, was reportedly accused by several board members of violating school policy by being less than candid about a relationship he has with a school employee — even though both of them are single.

The flipshot: Sneed is told pressure was put on Gov. Pat Quinn to get rid of Watson, who, according to two top sources, was getting pushback for trying to instill a culture change at the struggling school by instituting heavier faculty workloads.

The backshot: “There are board members who either want to control Watson or want their own person at the helm and have heavy backers who are major donors to Gov. Quinn,” said a Watson supporter. “It’s as simple as that.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

IBHE & the Future of Education? "Academic Dystopia" (Please put me out of my misery now)

"Sun is bad for you. Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red”
--Woody Allen

This line from Woody Allen's film Annie Hall popped into my head during the long presentation from the IBHE on campus last Tuesday --powerpoint presentation with relentless statistics-- which was still going on when I left after an hour and a half. Was it ironic to anyone else that the speaker who was advocating for a turn to the online-model of education à la U of Phoenix "because students will just not sit through a professor lecturing at them" was doing essentially that? As if we needed more confirmation about the ill state of higher education in the state of ILL, Alan Philips, IBHE’s Deputy Director of Planning and Budgeting, delivered the bleakest message possible in his apocalyptic presentation on "The Future of Higher Education in Illinois and the U.S."

I was unable to stay to the end where I had hoped something positive might have been said and some debate on the questions take place. Perhaps others can comment and augment the discussion here. What struck me, however, was the academic dystopia that we, especially those of us in the liberal arts, are facing and how much it is already underway in some places around the country.

This talk started with a grim litany of statistics outlining the continued lack of funding in public higher education all over the U.S. (NOTE: faculty salaries and retirement highlighted as problems, but administrative bloat barely mentioned), and references to graduates of universities having to take jobs for which they are woefully overeducated and underpaid and in great debt from their college years. In the meantime, the Univ. of Phoenix and other for-profits of that ilk have swooped in to capitalize on the growing body of disenchanted “customers” (formerly known as students) who want education their way—think of the Burger King anthem as background music --on their terms: flexible, online or better yet ipad/iphone digestible, quick, and practical, and “good value for their money” which I guess means provides them with a high-paying job at the end. Unrelenting lists of statistics underscore the popularity of this type of learning and the institutions that provide it. The Univ. of Phoenix et al. will very likely replace many brick & mortar universities because UP respond to what the “customer” wants and because "the state" cannot afford to keep all the brick and mortar schools going. If you are lucky your university will become a "brick and click" university—offering both online and face-to-face education, but the right "branding" also needs to be in place.

Adding to the demise of university world as we have known it are employers who will begin demanding “certificates of competency” and portfolios of "skill sets" that will displace the caché that a mere diploma from University X used to give; Philips referred to this as “the disaggregation of the degree.” The success of online lectures sites like TED and COURSERA signal the popularity of the medium and the free online offerings by major universities in the U.S.A. and from around the world are transforming “customer choices.” It is not too far off before “customers” can cobble together a series of online classes here and there from specialists at this or that major university and call it a degree. The notion of an academic "department" then will likewise change. All you need is one or two faculty "rock stars" who set up an online course or two or three that are then managed or overseen by an assistant—maybe a  grad student (if such a thing can even exist in this scenario) more likely a glorified website manager. A “university” may then and ultimately will ask the question, “why, when an online course can attract hundreds or thousands of students at a time, would a department need to have more than 1 or 2 faculty?”

This was not the whole talk, nor did I get a chance to hear discussion afterward, so again, I welcome anyone else who was there to follow up or continue the description. It was, however, interesting to see some heads bobbing up and down in apparent agreement and a few others shaking back and forth in dismay. Before we drink all the koolade offered and march ourselves into the for-profit model and marketplace CSU needs desperately to continue this discussion. It is exactly this discussion that we never got to have during the time of that hijacked presidential search in 2008. That was a moment when Trustees, faculty, students, and administrators should have come together for honest conversation, but of course we were not allowed to do so.

So Philips' talk left me wanting to ask some questions as I’m sure it did for others.

One thing that strikes me in these types of presentations is that we have to stop conflating “education” with job-training. Do you want to be educated or do you want a job? They are not the same thing and this I think is the crux. What it means to be educated has changed over the centuries but in the western tradition of which we are a part the emphasis has been on skills of literacy and numeracy. In the modern era this has focused on thinking critically about ideas and the communication and debate of those ideas. CSU and other places can try to “brand” themselves all they want, but until they figure out what they mean by education we are going to limp along as we have been these past 3 years. Do we want to educate people or do we want to place them in jobs at graduation? And with cuts to higher education and the government on state and national levels opting out of support for what were once great institutions –California’s UC system, SUNY—my guess is that education will return to the 1920s model where only elite institutions will be places to attain an education and only the elites of society who can afford it will be able to be educated. The notion of mass education and opportunity for the rest of the population to be educated will be limited if it exists at all. For all but the elites the option will be job training.

 And we should not assume that all our students are the same. Some students want to be educated, by which I mean they want to learn a subject that they like, they want to learn how to think and express themselves and find a way to make life for themselves meaningful. These are the ones who have the potential to be lifelong learners. Of course other students want to get their “piece of paper,” take the path of least resistance where course work is concerned, settle for C’s, get out and start making money. I have been impressed, however, by the number of freshmen in the past two semesters of teaching 1099 freshmen seminar how many students are the former and not the latter.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but CSU does not realize what its real brand could be—an opportunity for a liberal arts style education within a state university system. This is our strength—small classrooms, individual attention, personal attention—rather than some version of the DeVry Institute, let alone an outpost of the University of Phoenix or as I’ve remarked here in the past, Chicago State City College. This isn’t even my articulation of this idea, it came from a colleague of mine in the sciences, not from a humanities professor.

 It struck me at one point in Philips' talk how in the 1960s and 70s no one thought it was a skewed world when people who had very little formal education (a little high school in some cases, even less possibly) could make “good money” at industrial jobs--$50-70,000 after years in a Steel Plant that included weeks and weeks of paid vacation, plus company scholarship opportunities for sons and daughters capping it all off with a secure retirement. Why? Unions and a very different economy. So now we have a situation where “overeducated” people are in low-paying jobs. Is this situation the fault of universities? Are we blaming the way universities educate people for something that is circumstantial and beyond the university’s control? There are fewer union jobs and very little security in any jobs these days—in other words a very different economy.

Another question for Philips. Regarding employers and their desire for “skill sets” not diplomas. Why listen so uncritically to what employers want? Ultimately they want to pay as little as possible for labor. They want the best on the market and to pay the least amount of money as possible in true corporate/capitalist model. Employers who want skill sets also want to control knowledge. This is a slippery slope—letting companies tell us what to teach or what goes into a curriculum, or offering us their version of an online course for us to implement is to create Hamburger University. Doesn’t McDonald’s already do that? The reason: they can inculcate their corporate culture into their workers and create people who are not critical thinkers but who know how to follow along unquestioningly.

Philips noted that he has received some pushback from certain academics and administrators about his enthusiasm for online education. Someone he had spoken to thought the online education stuff was another example of a passing fancy, a flash in the pan. Phillips sincerely believes it is not. So, one question I wanted to ask him was how the U of Phoenix phenomenon is different from the 1970s-era failed “telecommunication” courses? I remember my mother taking “classes” on public television in our living room and sending her homework to the professor by mail to be graded –this in the late 1960s. She never got a degree that way and I don’t know when or how the program ended. One of the campuses of the University of Toronto, Scarborough College, was built in the 1970s or just a bit earlier to be its telecourse outpost. It stood as an example of that failed experiment of filmed lectures and limited faculty-student interaction. When I was teaching there in the 1990s and it had been converted to a “traditional” brick and mortar university.

 The question “what is a university?” is a good one to raise. It’s not the first time it’s been asked, but CSU and other universities in the state of ILL need to have a much wider discussion of it before we sip too deeply of this proffered cup.

Monday, February 11, 2013

IBHE on campus--TUESDAY, Feb 12

All interested members of the CSU community are invited to hear representatives from IBHE--this should interest faculty in particular.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, CSU/UPI is co-sponsoring a talk by two speakers from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), at 12:30 in the Library Auditorium. They are :

Alan Philips, Deputy Director of Planning and Budgeting, on "The Future of Higher Education in Illinois and the U.S."

 Jonathan Lackland, Deputy Director of External Relations, on "Legislative Issues."

Lunch will be available starting at 12:00 in the Cafe area (outside the Auditorium), on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

From our colleagues at Eastern Illinois University regarding CSU CJ Search

In the fall of 2012 CSU's Faculty Senate asked a few of its sister Senates in Illinois to review the Senate Shared Governance Committee's report and comment on the irregularities of the hiring last August in Criminal Justice. This memo came in last week from Eastern Illinois' Faculty Senate. At least it's nice to know that outsiders can share the outrage over the CSU Administration's actions even as some of our own colleagues are quick to apologize for it.


You wrote us to solicit our reactions regarding the recent hirings in the Criminal Justice department at your university.  We are somewhat reluctant to give a forceful response as we have only heard one account of the events that transpired.  We also feel that it might not be our role to provide guidance on the internal workings of another institution. That said, this appears to be an unusual situation.  Assuming everything we have been told is accurate, our responses to the five questions you asked us can be found below.  

Question 1. Beyond our Senate investigation at the request of a Senator in the affected department, are there other actions the Senate should take? FYI, the Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit is scheduled for November 12th -14th, 2012.
Regretfully, we were not able to respond to this message before that date.  It is our view that any and all measures to secure the removal of the President of your University, and the Provost as well, are warranted by these events.  The Board of your university approved a mission statement that states “The university fosters the intellectual development and success of its student population through a rigorous, positive, and transformative educational experience. CSU is committed to teaching, research, and service and community development including social justice, leadership and entrepreneurship”; a vision statement that says “Chicago State University will be recognized for innovations in teaching and research, and in promoting ethical leadership, entrepreneurship, and social and environmental justice”; and core values that include “’Responsible choices and actions’, ‘Personal and academic excellence’, and ‘Personal, professional and academic integrity.’”  If the Board’s commitment to these values is genuine, they cannot continue to support the current administration. 
Question 2. What sort of remedies might we pursue to ensure this doesn't not happen again? Or is this just how the modern academy is?

This is most emphatically not “just how the modern academy is”.  The hiring procedures described in your investigation are not merely violations of expected protocol, they are the most egregious abuses of Presidential power we have ever seen.  If your President has given himself the authority to make hires without faculty input and without even making reference to the qualifications of the candidates, it is clear that he intends to preserve the power to repeat this behavior.  As such, no remedy short of the removal of this President can protect the academic integrity of the University. 
Question 3. How far outside of the institution should Faculty Senate go beyond this letter to air this in the hopes of preventing other appointments which could damage our institution's integrity? 

If there are other groups outside your institution that you can contact with some hope of preventing the continuation of these sort of appointments, by all means do so.  We see no reasonable limits to who may be contacted.   For example, an appeal to the Office of the Inspector General might be appropriate if you feel that the President used favoritism in hiring a personal acquaintance.

  Question 4. Does this behavior/action in and of itself constitute grounds for a motion of no confidence in the president? Or is it an item in a larger bill of particulars for such a motion?

Yes, this action is without a doubt sufficient grounds for a “no confidence” motion.  Indeed, such a motion would have been justified if only a fraction of the abuses of the hiring process that took place at your university had taken place.  Further, these actions are so repugnant that we believe they are grounds for a “no confidence” motion in the Provost as well even though she merely accepted this outcome without actively taking part in it. 
Question 5. Would any of you be willing to sign a statement supporting our Senate as we continue to pursue this issue?

This message is our official response to this request for advice.  You may treat this as an open letter--we are willing to be publicly committed to the views stated herein. 

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Illinois University

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ok, I know I'm being picky...

Although there are a number of big issues that need attention here at CSU and we're all waiting on tenterhooks for the HLC report (now many weeks overdue), shenanigans in the job hiring at CJ remain and are now morphing into other issues, and yet another interim appointment --dean of the College of Ed--joins the cadre of other interim deans on campus, but no, I am not going to bang on about any of these. Instead, I'm voicing something here that other people have mentioned as an unnecessary irritation. This is a comment, a critique, and a plea: get rid of the triangle.

Whoever had the brilliant idea of changing the CSU letterhead which for years was just that--letters on the top of our stationery--to the big green off-kilter triangle at the bottom (or sometimes top) of a page of stationery needs to go back to the drawing table and rethink the implication of this change. I assumed the new logo was some kind of "branding"/marketing thing --certainly it was never voted on by the CSU "community" --and is clearly meant to impress the impressionable, but did anyone think about the day-to-day impact of a letterhead that demands, nay, sucks up, so much printer ink when you try to print out a copy of the exalted administrative document? This is not corporate America with its seemingly unlimited resources and moneys, this is CSU with very limited resources.

Today was the last straw. I just received a multi-page document from an administrative office that I should print out for use with students but I refuse to do so because I am not going to waste printer ink on printing out a picture of a triangle that will deplete my very expensive ink cartridge at home. The last one I bought cost $90. Nor will I print it out in my office because I do not have an ink cartridge for the old printer there. We don't have a big budget for office supplies and cannot get them at the drop of a hat even if we did. We all know that some offices on campus are more equal than others so I'm bringing it to the attention of those offices more equal than mine.

Newsflash to the CSU marketers and administrators responsible for the triangle brand: My department cannot buy enough printer cartridges to keep all its faculty supplied, not all departments are connected to a main department printer, I AM NOT REIMBURSED FOR PRINTER CARTRIDGES THAT I USE AT HOME TO PRINT CSU stuff (nor for paper for that matter).

Last week I received an administrative letter whose last sentence was obscured by the big green triangle. Today I am supposed to print out multiple pages of green triangles? Get real. It is not possible to read everything as an online document some things must be printed. The outside world may be impressed by the big green triangle at the bottom of the page, my how hip it looks, but inside CSU this brand is a wasteful irritation.