I had deja-vu all over again today. O Governor Quinn What Art Thou? It's amazing isn't it how greatly concerned Gov Quinn has become over little old CSU. Why just four years ago (it seems like yesterday) faculty were begging the governor to remove the Board of Trustees for violating their own by-laws in a very phony search for a new president at CSU. Why just four years ago, the faculty asked Governor Quinn to stop the railroading, I mean, presidential search process at CSU, because there were three unfilled, vacant trustee seats and one seat held by a member with an expired term (it had been expired for 2 years). Why just four years ago Governor Quinn could not listen to these puny pleas and petitions to stop the use of our school as a patronage dumping ground. Ah how naive we were back then--to think that our puny petition to Governor Quinn could save us from the clutches of southside politicians and their ministerial minions. No, he turned his attention to wiping out the board of trustees of the Univ of ILL and left its southside sister school to continue to be feasted upon by the entrenched political hacks and would-be powerbrokers. In a timeline of activities from that 2009 period these three dates culled from a timeline that we kept on the whole search prez search process remind us of how Quinn was so unresponsive then.
APRIL 22, 2009 RALLY OF STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND ADMINISTRATORS ON CAMPUS PROTESTING THE BOT AND THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS; FACULTY SENATE LETTER DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR QUINN REQUESTING REMOVAL OF THE BOT OF
April 25, 2009 Chicago Tribune Lead Editorial, “March to mediocrity” SUPPORTING EFFORTS TO HAVE GOV. QUINN ADD NEW MEMBERS TO THE BOT AT CSU ANDSTOP THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS
May 2, 2009 Chicago Tribune “Quinn and ChicagoState”,CRITICIZES GOV. QUINN’S FAILURE TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR INTERVENTION IN THE PROCESS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH AT CSU
There is also an article that ran in Inside Higher Education called O Governor Where Art Thou? I cited Jack Stripling's article about just this thing in October of 2009, so it seems worthwhile to remind folks of that here. If you want to make your heart sink reread it.
Stripling, Oh Governor, Where Art Thou?--Oct 1, 2009
As for now, 2013, Mirabile dictu! just four years later, Governor Quinn is all ears to cries for his intervention at our little CSU. Emil Jones and the ministers told him that they must keep their control over things like the CSU Board and Wayne Watson still wants to be president so dammit get rid of that pesky board of young ideas. The old guys still want the power. How dare a state board of trustees think that it has control over a president of a state university. In less time than it took for the ink to dry on that "contract" with Gary Rozier that Watson reneged on, Quinn announced that the three offending trustees are out.
So, if you've been hiding your head in the sand these past four years you cannot hide any longer from the dirty truth that you have wanted to avoid: the place you work and study is run by and for politicians and we serve them, not the state of ILL, not the students of Illinois and Chicago and we will never be able to be much better than this while this situation remains no matter how many students we teach, grants we bring in, programs or outreaches we run. Quinn should just dispense with the board altogether and just let Emil Jones run the show, why go through this travesty of letting boards rule presidents? Any board that comes in now will be ruled by Jones and Watson, won't it? Oh wait, HLC regs say something about boards needing to be autonomous from political and other outside influences... reminder: accreditation has not yet been officially granted btw.
When I was hired in the mid-1990s the then dean of Arts and Sciences at CSU asked me "why I would want to work at a school like CSU?" I took that question to mean the southside African American student body, the smallness of the place etc. It is not an uncommon question to ask at an interview. I now think there was more of a subtext to it. I was not from Chicago. Aside from what I read about the place in the university's catalogue I had a limited idea of its history and place in the ILL system.
If I were a dean now asking a candidate why they wanted to work at CSU, I'd spell it out --why do you want to work at a patronage pit where every new president gets to bring in his people, throw out all the others from the previous administration whether they are good or bad, where each new administration gets to re-make CSU in his/her own vision with incomprehensible reorganizations, where administrative promotions are based on who you know and your relationship to them and how loyal you are to them personally, where you will be tested as to how well you can screw your colleagues in order to curry favors from the president for your own micro-empire at the school, where a president will try to micromanage your curriculum and standards instead of fundraise like presidents at regular universities do (donations from daddy Jones notwithstanding), and where the prevailing attitude is--"they'll appoint another president but he/she will be worse than the one that preceded them." The last is a direct quote that I have heard uttered by jaded senior faculty who knew and accepted what teaching at a patronage pit meant. I stopped listening to it when I stopped getting angry and started getting active about changing this skewed and screwed up situation here.
For today, maybe we're back to being a patronage pit state institution, but maybe not tomorrow. A lot of faculty care, but a lot of faculty need to heed what it means when an institution no longer even has the veneer of operating as an independent institution and start showing where they stand on this. When an old politician and his machine has the power to name who the president of your institution will be and who will or will not be on its board of trustees then the question to those of us already tenured here, like the dean's question to me years ago, is not why do you want to work at a school like CSU, but why do you tolerate working at a school that works like this?
Below is part of the timeline to the Presidential Search of 2009 that we kept. Heave a heavy sigh and have a read through.
FYI: PSAC=Presidential Search Advisory Committee [faculty, staff, students, administrators]
March 24, 2009 Board officially announces Carol Adams and Wayne Watson as presidential search finalist candidates. PSAC MEMBERS INFORMED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE REST OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY VIA GENERAL EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENT.
APRIL 9, 2009 BOT ISSUES PRESS RELEASE VIA PAT ARNOLD: “
TRUSTEES ISSUE STATEMENT REGARDING PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS” INCLUDES HOLLINS GROUP DOCUMENT “DRAFT
PRESIDENTIAL CRITERIA” CHICAGOSTATE UNIVERSITY
APRIL 10, 2009 BOT VIA PAT
EMAILS RESUMES OF CAROL ADAMS & WAYNE WATSON TO CSU COMMUNITY ARNOLD
APRIL 11-12, 2009 (?) BOT RESCINDS PLAN TO BLOCK MEDIA AFTER MEDIA PROTEST VIOLATION OF THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT
APRIL 13, 2009 CAROL ADAMS INTERVIEW;
APRIL 14, 2009 WAYNE WATSON INTERVIEW
APRIL 27? 2009 RESIGNATION OF TRUSTEE JIM REYNOLDS MADE PUBLIC
APRIL 29, 2009 BOT MEETING CONFIRMS APPOINTMENT OF WAYNE WATSON AS PRESIDENT OF CSU; GREAT OPPOSITION TO THIS ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THOSE PRESENT
May 2, 2009 Chicago Tribune “Quinn and ChicagoState”, CRITICIZES GOV. QUINN’S FAILURE TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR INTERVENTION IN THE PROCESS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH AT CSU
MAY 4, 2009 PRESIDENT FRANK POGUE SENDS “OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY” ASKING FOR A RETRACTION FROM TRUSTEE FINNEY FOR COMMENTS HE MADE TO THE CHICAGO CRUSADER THAT POGUE WAS FOMENTING OPPOSITION AT CSU SO HE COULD REMAIN AS PRESIDENT.
May 06, 2009
TRIBUNE, “In the
room: Chicago State President Wayne Watson [Updated May 11 with a response from
Wayne Watson]. TRUSTEE LEON FINNEY AND WAYNE WATSON COMMENT THAT A “SMALL, BUT
BELLIGERANT MINORITY” ARE BEHIND PROTESTS AGAINST WATSON’S APPOINTMENT CHICAGO
MAY 11, 2009 BETTER GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION MEETS WITH MEMBERS OF FACULTY SENATE, PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE, AND
MAY 12, 2009 FACULTY SENATE CONVENES A FULL FACULTY MEETING TO DISCUSS ISSUES CONCERNING THE BOT; OVER 150 FACULTY, STAFF, AND ADMINISTRATORS ARE IN ATTENDANCE
MAY 13, 2009 BOT MEETING, PRESIDENTIAL CONTRACT APPROVED FOR WAYNE WATSON, $229,166 PER YEAR; CSU FACULTY SENATE FORMALLY REQUESTS BOARD TO RECONSIDER APPOINTMENT; TWO SOUTHSIDE MINISTERS SPEAK ON BEHALF OF WATSON, THREATEN TO BRING THEIR CONGREGATIONS TO CAMPUS FOR THE NEXT MEETING; MUCH CRITICISM OF BOT IN THE COMMENT PERIOD