Sunday, March 31, 2013

What a month!!!

So there have been times that I've experienced writer’s block, that temporary period when I just can’t seem to get my thoughts together coherently. I usually do something else, give my brain a rest, and then return to it and find that the block has passed. I haven’t had writer’s block per se. There has just been so much happening simultaneously that I couldn’t write it all down.
First, the Governor has chosen not to re-appoint the Executive Committee members of the Board of Trustees who were on the brink of repairing the damage wrought by the current regime. There is an inconsistency in state law. According to the Chicago State University Law (110 ILCS 660), Board members serve until they are replaced by the Governor but a more recent statute gives the board member 60 days to serve before a formal reappointment process is necessary. Since the terms of the three Trustees expired January 21st, and the 60 day window closed March 21st, three seats on the Board of Trustees are now vacant. Add the already existing vacancy, never filled by the Governor and you find that there are not enough members to constitute a quorum on the eight member board. Thus the CSU Board of Trustees cannot govern the university. It poses the uncomfortable question of who is in charge? I would surmise at this point that the Governor will likely appoint one member of clergy, (what would CSU be without a pastor on its Board?) one “community activist” and another former politician, all of whom would no doubt be FOW. I’m forced to concur with Corday’s assessment of the continuation of a failed regime either until the university is closed or until the death of the incumbent. Political indifference will lead to the demise of this university.
Second, will there be no consequences for employees not being paid on time this past Friday? In the opinion of your humble narrator, the story presented by the regime doesn’t fly and here’s why. The practice is either a courtesy or a policy but not both. It is my understanding that the industry standard for situations like this is that when the pay day falls on a weekend or holiday the employee is paid the business day prior. Like many continuous functions, the payroll calendar is not generated month to month. I would imagine it is generated either on a calendar year or fiscal year basis. If so, the university is well into both so the necessary review of dates is long overdue. Additionally, why would an office responsible for money (payroll) not be in the area of Administration and Finance? At least the now released former Vice President can’t be blamed for what is not managed in his former area of responsibility.
Third, with no functioning Board of Trustees, there are several activities which the university cannot conduct now. Faculty personnel actions, namely approval of tenure and approval of contracts exceeding $250,000 are impossible if the Board does not have a quorum. Given that there have been six appointments to public university boards, three each at Governors State University and Western Illinois University, it is indeed curious that the similar appointments were not made at a university that is so clearly imploding. Four the six appointments were for members already serving, essentially re-appointments. Given the swirl of activity at the university the Governor has indeed declared his defacto support of incompetence and misconduct. Not surprising for a Governor reluctant to act to protect the assets and resources owned by the citizens of the State of Illinois. That is the same state that has sent its last two governors to federal prison for corruption. The corruption in this state is part of its DNA and its practice, crony hiring, unjustifiable pay raises, sub-standard performance and perpetuation of a narrative whose veracity is suspect, is clearly in evidence here. At some point, some legislator is going to get the idea of how to finally put CSU down for good.
Here’s one way. What if the state created a single public university system with one president and eleven chancellors? That single system would need to examine capacity and would likely find that the “system” has excess capacity. In the private sector, companies with excess capacity reduce capacity by firing employees or closing down plants. In public education, the excess capacity of the “system” would be in enrollment at individual campuses. With the plummeting enrollment at CSU and negative press reports weekly it seems, this university would appear poised to be eliminated by the “system.” That would then give the state the opportunity to liquidate its assets, re-assign or eliminate excess personnel and give students opportunity to attend other universities if they meet the admissions standards. The state wins by shedding a drag on the “system.” The city wins by making the real estate taxable once the assets are sold to a private investor. The students who can attend other universities win because their education will only be mildly disrupted. The faculty who continue at other universities win because they will likely be better compensated, treated better and led better. The citizens of the State of Illinois win because theoretically, the closing of a dysfunctional institution that has been treated poorly by politicians historically will be a satisfactory public outcome to average taxpayers. Of course, the losers in such a scenario are those who view CSU as their private, patronage playground. Those who seem so expert in the operations of higher education, those who liken failed leadership to Jesus, those intent to continue the rapid descent of Chicago State University into irrelevance will find that their behavior will, in the final analysis, be to blame for eliminating a path to higher education for those most at risk of losing out.
When all is said and done and the history of this university is written, this will indeed likely be its saddest chapter.


  1. !!! Loud Applause !!!!!

    Do you get it now?? If not, read further on.

  2. IF that scenario plays out, the apathetic majority of the stakeholders at CSU (faculty, students and staff), thieving administrators and preachiticians, and politicians who put cronyism ahead of the school will need to take a LONG look in the mirror.

    But, of course they won't. Everybody will point the finger at someone else and say what a shame it is that "they" let it happen.