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

1 comment:

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