Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"How many lawyers does it take for CSU to ..."

Let's see. CSU has about 5 lawyers named on the Legal Affairs Dept website with VP and Chief Counsel Patrick Cage the recipient of a hefty salary increase last spring plus there are the 3 new lawyers Dr Watson placed in tenure-track positions in the Criminal Justice Department (not to mention other lawyers on staff there). In spite of here a lawyer there a lawyer everywhere a lawyer lawyer, CSU's Administration is paying yet another law firm to try to disengage this faculty blog. Dr Watson has said he doesn't read the blog and over the past few years an occasional echo on campus has been "no one reads the blog..." Curious that a special law firm is now needed to shut down a blog that no one reads. Right. No money for fixing the sidewalks/ toilets/classrooms/technology/daycare facilities/better staff salaries [or fill in the blank], but plenty of money to pay lawyers.    

If anyone is out there reading this--here is the article in the Tribune tonight.



Chicago State sends 2nd salvo at faculty website

Attorney's letter demands changes to blog critical of school administration

By Juan Perez Jr., Tribune reporter
January 9, 2014

Chicago State University has demanded that a group of faculty members remove a photograph and change the domain name of a website that criticizes university administrators, the second time the school has sent a letter to the blog's owners.
In a Jan. 3 letter to an attorney representing the site's operators, Donald Levine, an attorney with Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan, said the csufacultyvoice.blogspot.com/ address is not authorized or endorsed by CSU or its entire faculty.
"Yet it was structured to give that impression to the viewer and potential consumer of Chicago State University's academic services," Levine wrote.
Levine also accused website operators of using a "distinctive" photograph of campus hedges on the site, nearly identical to one used on the campus' admissions website.
Levine's letter is the second notice sent on behalf of CSU to the site's operators asking that changes be made. In November, a university lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to the site's creator, demanding it remove trademarked material and suggesting it violated university policies.
In the latest letter, Levine wrote the university doesn't intend to "censor or inhibit the professors' speech," but does believe the blog should remove CSU's name and images and post a prominent, lengthy disclaimer on its home page that identifies one of the blog's operators and states the site does not represent the entire CSU faculty.
Wesley Johnson, attorney for the CSU faculty bloggers, said they would issue a written response to Levine's letter. Bloggers also planned to put a note on the website that emphasized the blog didn't have administrative approval or represent the entire faculty, he said.
"However, they don't agree that any disclaimer is necessary and they will not include the language suggested in Donald Levine's letter," Johnson said.
Tom Wogan, a university spokesman, said Chicago State was seeking to protect the use of its trademarks and hired Levine's outside law firm for the sole purpose of addressing the faculty blog.
Online since 2009, the Faculty Voice blog originally labeled itself "the faculty's uncensored voice" for the South Side campus. Phillip Beverly, a faculty senate officer and associate professor of political science, said he founded the site to challenge some of the school's leaders and policymaking. Faculty members have in the recent past demanded the resignation of Wayne Watson, the university's president.
In a Nov. 11 letter, Patrick Cage, a university vice president and its general counsel, said the site used university "trade names and marks" without permission. Cage also said the blog "violates the university's values and policies requiring civility and professionalism of all university faculty members."
Cage demanded that site administrators "immediately disable" the blog and provide written confirmation to avoid legal action.
After receiving Cage's letter, Beverly changed the site's banner to read "Crony State University" and briefly replaced its main image.
On Saturday, one of the site's contributors took aim at Levine's letter in a blog post, saying "(I)t seems somewhat far-fetched to claim that the faculty's blog can be easily confused for the official Chicago State website."
Twitter @PerezJr


  1. I believe two new lawyers were hired into tenure-track positions in Criminal Justice in August 2012. There are, I believe, three attorneys in tenure-line positions in that discipline.

  2. The article does not give the proper historical context in which Cage's letter appears. Don't forget that the administration has attempted to censor faculty and students on numerous occasions; computer usage policy, communications policy, SGA elections, attempt to dismantle Faculty Senate. In addition, the article fails to mention that the university does not own any trademarks and has only applied for them after the so-called 'cease and desist' letter.

  3. What can we do to help? Would sending ppl to comment on the Chicago Tribune article help?

    The Academe blog's post is now on Twitter and several HE Facebook pages. I'll be posting about this blog directly to G+ and my own blog, "precarious faculty—a new majority"

    PS ❤ your banner image...

    1. I think the only thing that will do any good is to write or call the governor's office and your state senator and representative. It's clear the current, doddering board of trustees will not act without pressure from above.