Tuesday, April 29, 2014

George Orwell's Napoleon Would be Proud: How We Do Investigations on Wayne Watson's Animal Farm.

“Some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell in Animal Farm.

The UPI-Faculty Contract’s Article 5 contains language pertaining to disciplinary sanctions and termination and lays out the due process rights for employees alleged to have violated “employment obligations contained in the Board or University policy, rules, regulations, or in the UPI/BOT contract . . .” One of the due process requirements is a “pre-sanction” meeting which 5.1b of the UPI-BOT contract describes as: “[a] meeting with the employee to notify the employee that a sanction is being considered, to present the alleged violation and related documentation . . .” What is not included in the contract, or anywhere else that I can determine, is how the university moves from allegations to a pre-sanction meeting. What are the university policies relative to the conduct of personnel investigations of complaints that do not fall into the category of EEO complaints (the policy is here: https://www.csu.edu/eeo/complaintprocedures.htm). Included among EEO violations are sexual harassment complaints. University policy defines sexual harassment as:

[T]wo categories of behaviors. . . “quid pro quo” refers to situations in which a tangible benefit (a grade, a job, a promotion) is contingent upon the performance of sexual favors. This occurs in situations of unequal power such as supervisor/subordinate in the workplace or faculty/student in the classroom. The second category, “hostile environment,” refers to patterns of behavior or incidents (including verbal, non-verbal, physical, or other) which may seem harmless as individual events, but which may be considered intimidating, hostile, or offensive when taken together.

Intimate relationships between faculty and students, as well as between supervisors and subordinates raise serious professional concerns. When one party has power over the other, the relationship is inherently unequal. The faculty member or supervisor cannot be certain that the relationship is truly welcomed or consensual. If the relationship deteriorates, possible allegations of “quid pro quo” harassment may arise. Furthermore, others who perceive preferential treatment between the parties to the relationship may feel themselves in an offensive environment.


In the absence of any personnel investigation policy, the university administration apparently may structure investigations based on the whim of the investigator. In a proper investigation (personnel or criminal), the investigator begins with the complaint, proceeds through the process of gathering evidence (which may prove or disprove the complaint) and arrives at a determination as to: 1) whether or not the offense occurred and is actionable; 2) whether or not the accused (or respondent) committed the offense. Simply put, the investigator goes where the evidence takes the investigation. At Chicago State, the reality of investigative procedure is somewhat different. It seems to proceed like this:

The first determination is on what track the investigation will proceed. In order to decide this, the investigator must discover which party is a friend/stooge of Wayne Watson or has been of useful service to him or other members of his administration. If the complaint is against one of Watson’s circle of friends/acolytes/stooges/sycophants or even Napoleon himself, it can be dismissed or trivialized. We have seen numerous examples of this: Wayne Watson’s inappropriate and policy violating personal relationship with Cheri Sidney, which, you may recall, moved Glenn Meeks to express his concerns to the Board of Trustees that the relationship might result in a sexual harassment complaint (see the second paragraph of the definition above). The lies told by Cheri Sidney and Tyra Austin on their resumes/applications (offenses which should have resulted in termination for both) which have not been an impediment to their hiring and/or promotion(s). The falsehoods in Angela Henderson’s application/resume which also served as no impediment to her advancement at Chicago State and the demonstrable plagiarism in her dissertation which Watson has ignored. In these cases, despite the serious nature of the allegations against various employees, it seems doubtful that an investigation even occurred. Early in this blighted administration, ethics complaints from James Crowley were simply ignored. In fact, based on whatever sham inquiry the university (or the Board) conducted into the various allegations, only the two persons attempting to protect the institution’s integrity: Glenn Meeks and James Crowley, suffered termination because of these “investigations.”

In contrast, if someone aligned with Watson is the complainant, the “investigation” must proceed immediately, with the possibility of termination always looming. Former Chicago State employees like Rachel Lindsey Mary Butler and Carnice Hill can discuss what happens when you cross the dictator or one of his favorite cronies. The investigative procedure to be followed in these instances is this: the investigator(s) makes a determination that the accused is guilty of whatever behavior the Watson ally alleges. S/he gathers evidence supporting that determination, ignoring any material that may be exculpatory or contradictory (including evidence that the allegations lack truthfulness). During this stage of the investigation, it is extremely important to contact only the accused and those making the accusation(s) on Watson's behalf. Any other potential witnesses must be ignored because their contradictory accounts would only muddy the waters. The account(s) provided by the Watson allies must be privileged over any and all other accounts. The investigator may also use audio or visual aids in the investigation, being careful to come to the “proper” conclusion about what these sources reveal. In conducting interview(s) with the accused faculty or staff, the investigator(s) must always attempt to advance the administration’s narrative of events, even when the interviewee provides an alternative perspective or points out the errors in the “accepted” account. The ability to put words into someone’s mouth is an extremely useful skill, enabling the investigator to arrive at her/his pre-determined verdict.

The Watson administration is replete with persons behaving in cowardly, unethical and even dishonest ways. Watson and his bunch arbitrarily use university policy and procedures to attack their enemies, while ignoring them when their friends and associates are the subjects. Heedless of the consequences, these attacks subject the university to potential liability (as the Crowley decision demonstrates, awards for unethical and retaliatory behavior can be quite substantial). Retaliation is the stock-in-trade of this president and his administration (particularly against the school’s most vulnerable groups) and given their ability to conduct investigations that result in Kangaroo Court-like disciplinary proceedings, this abominable administration has cynically destroyed any semblance of “justice” on this campus.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Its roughly the same when it comes to students. Witness the differences between how the cases of Dennis Johnson and the student of Ann Kuzdale are being handled.

  3. Thank you for fearlessly speaking sickening truth re the hostile environment nonexistent sham investigations by dirtbag who discrminates against anyone who criticizes him.