Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Chicago State Board and Wayne Watson are Above the Law: Public Records and University Policy be Damned, They're Going to Do What They Want

One of the most amusing things about the recent administrative assault against the Chicago State Faculty Senate is the assertion by both the naked Emperor and the Board that the Senate violated its own constitution, in other words, its own policies. It is gratifying to know that our fearless leaders are suddenly so concerned about scrupulous adherence to established procedures. Of course, for Wayne Watson, policy is a tool to be used when it serves his purposes and a nuisance to be disregarded or violated when he sees fit. Angela Henderson’s plagiarism, Cheri Sidney’s lies, Watson’s personal relationship with Sidney, curriculum and DAC issues, and hiring interference are only a few examples. Not surprisingly, the Board’s treatment of its own policies as well as Illinois State Law shows it in lockstep with Chicago State’s administration.

A couple of simple examples will demonstrate this. As you may know, the Senate received no official notification of its demise. The Senate President only discovered that the body no longer existed by inquiring as to why he had not been sent the materials for the September 19, 2014, Board meeting. Since the Senate President now has unperson status here at Chicago State, the university’s Board no longer had to supply him with meeting materials. Here is the pertinent language from the Board’s bylaws:

Wait just a minute here. The Board’s bylaws trump state law? I am not aware of any statutory authority that allows Wayne Watson or Chicago State University to withhold public documents at “the President’s discretion.” Here is the pertinent language from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act:

It seems apparent that the Chicago State Board has extremely limited (if any) ability to restrict access to these pre-meeting materials. They seem to fall squarely within the parameters of “records, reports . . . and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.” Thus, everyone employed at the university, as well as anyone else in the world, may fall under the category of “interested parties,” delineated in the Board’s bylaws. So, if you are interested in what our administrators are doing and want to see how they earn their nice salaries, drop an e-mail to the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and request your own copy of those meeting materials. Since the President’s Report does not seem to be among the most recent material distributed pre-meeting, do not forget to ask for that.

Another way the Board has violated its own policies is evident in the creation of new high-powered administrative positions. As you see from the Board policy, “appropriate and duly constituted committees of faculty government shall participate in the decision-making process of the university in the following areas: 3. Creation of administrative positions at the level of Dean and Vice President and selection of administrative officers for such positions as well as of the President of the university.” Since Watson recently created new Vice President positions for Patrick Cage, Robin Hawkins (Associate) and Renee Mitchell (Associate) to go along with his previous creation of the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management for his girlfriend, I am wondering which faculty members sitting on “duly constituted committees of faculty government” participated in either the creation of these positions or the “selection of administrative officers for such positions?” Please let me know if you did either of these two things.

Here at Chicago State, the necessity for due process and adherence to policy and procedures is determined by your relationship to Wayne Watson.


  1. I urge Phillip Beverly and the Senate executive committee to continue to meet, to hold Senate meetings, and to do the important business of the Senate. I would also urge the Senate committees to meet and do their work. The current administration hasn't a clue how to run a university. I urge all to do what they can to keep the voice of the faculty alive.

    If the administration attempts to create a new Senate, I would urge all to participate in the elections. There is no doubt that any Senate elected by the faculty would produce essentially the same outcome that the current Senate has done. We cannot be defeated!!

  2. The Faculty Senate should indeed continue to meet and do the work that it is mandated to do

  3. I think it is really ironic that a University so concerned about trademarks that they tried to shut down this blog over it, is now posting signs all over campus about using CSU's email with pictures of Kermit the Frog. I'm willing to bet serious money that they have done so without permission. Any takers?