Thursday, November 27, 2014

Just One More of a Thousand Cuts

A decision from UIC and the "hearing officer" that inexplicably goes against the established standards for academic integrity at the UIC College of Nursing--I guess s/he (whoever it was) found more compelling arguments in favor of putting the stamp of approval on the dissertation. The pusillanimous and inept handling of this matter by UIC demonstrates academics at their worst. In my estimation, the facts of the case remain the same. Most important, the UIC capitulation puts Chicago State at increased risk for ultimate failure. After all, one of the things Watson could have discussed in his cynical memorandum is the precipitous drop in enrollment under the watchful eye of our new provost (from 6882 to 5211 in three years, a decline of 24.3 percent). Of course, the real victims here are the students and staff at Chicago State who continue to suffer under this regime. As this administration continues, there seems to be no reason to expect anything other than the school's decline to continue apace. We will continue to shine the light on this administration and its myriad failures--lots more to come. Finally, a happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shameless Cronyism at Chicago State University continues: "Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here..."

Suggestion for new t-shirts to be worn at CSU:

2008: "CSU paid the Hollins Group $80,000 for a national Presidential Search and all we Got Was Wayne Watson"

2014: "CSU paid the Hollins Group $100,000 for a national Provost Search and all we Got Was Angela Henderson"

So, the giant on whose shoulders she stands officially raised her up to the office of provost of our university--see the letter below received yesterday.  I knew it was coming, but I thought it would be announced by the mealy-mouthed board of trustees at their December meeting. Whoever UIC hired as their "hearing officer"  (no name, no rank, no affiliation or academic connection listed in the Sun Times article last week) seems to have exonerated our new plagiarist provost in the god-knows-why-it-took-so-long plagiarism-dispute over Angela Henderson's doctoral dissertation. 

I keep thinking of Henry VIII's elevation of Anne Boleyn as his Queen of England after publicly humiliating and divorcing the popular Queen Katherine of Aragon, his wife of 20+ years. During her ride through London at her coronation, in spite of the expense and richness of her clothing and retinue, Anne was met in turns by stony silence from the population or mocking laughter along the way. 

The corrupt foundation on which the ediface of CSU has been built has reached a new low in propping up yet one more crony to a highly paid office and status. There were some comments by the hopeful earlier this month that perhaps Bruce Rauner might "reform" this stinking pit that Pat Quinn left to the wolves. Doubtful. More likely Rauner  will be pulled in by the patronage culture of ILL rather than break it. And who in the state legislature really cares about how badly run our little CSU is anyway?

For those of my colleagues who have kept silent all these months and years and have hoped that by keeping their heads low they will just wait out one more year of the Watson regime, try saying this: "President of Chicago State University Angela Henderson." You don't think provost is her last stop do you?

November 24, 2014
Dear Campus Community,

I am very pleased to announce that after an extensive search which considered multiple qualified candidates, Dr. Angela Henderson has been appointed to the position of Provost and Senior Vice President for Chicago State University.

Dr. Henderson brings to the position 25 years of experience in higher education both as an educator and an administrator. She is an accomplished academic who has served in multiple positions including tenured professor, department chair, dean, vice chancellor and provost at one of the largest community college systems in the country. Dr. Henderson holds numerous degrees including:
  • Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Master of Science in Nursing from University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Loyola University
Since joining the CSU family in 2011, she has devoted herself to our mission of providing a transformative academic experience to our students as both Vice President of Enrollment Management and Interim Provost. She played an integral role in helping CSU achieve a 10-year reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and continues to devote herself daily to making CSU the best public university in Illinois.

Throughout her career, Dr. Henderson has demonstrated that she has a vision for academic excellence including an emphasis on increasing diversity, embracing innovation and technology, expanding CSU’s footprint both nationally and internationally, and placing a strong focus on individual student success. 

In her time at CSU, Dr. Henderson has proven herself to be a tireless advocate and valuable asset for the university.  As Provost and Senior Vice President, she will have the opportunity to lead our university in a positive direction. I strongly feel that in Dr. Angela Henderson, we have found the right person at the right time.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Henderson on her new position, and I ask that each member of the CSU family look for ways to work with her and her office to help achieve our shared goals of strengthening CSU.

Wayne D. Watson, President

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sorry UIC, but If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...

Not sure if this is the final word from UIC on Angela Henderson's plagiarized dissertation but the Sun Times seems to report it as such. See article below.

The litigious Dr Henderson claimed FERPA violations by UIC administrators --no doubt that lawsuit will now be dropped. I'd still like to see it go to court. In the academic circles that I knew, a dissertation that had been defended and posted as defended, was then up for scrutiny by the rest of the academic community and stood as your completed "masterpiece." In other words, if you want to be "Dr." Henderson then you don't claim the privileges of a lowly grad student.

And if anyone wants to be reminded of what Dr Henderson's plagiarism looks like see the articles linked below. No CSU student in any of my classes would get away with this. Apparently UIC is willing to violate its own definitions of what it once called plagiarism.

State education in ILLinois, what a joke. Or, as one of my colleagues quipped, "Politics wins out again."

Jan 14, 2014,0,4761404.story

Jan 24, 2014 The Dissertation of Chicago State University's Vice President and Chief Plagiarizing Officer

Jan 25, 2014 The Plagiarized Dissertation--Part 2

Jan 25, 2014 Dissertation Plagiarism Part 3: Don't Forget Wikipedia

Jan 25, 2014 Installment 4 of the Plagiarism Chronicles: Let's Steal an Entire Paragraph

Jan 25, 2014 More on our Plagiarizing Provost

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Would Chicago State Look Like Without Any Students? Based on the Administration's Financial Aid Compliance Efforts, We May Soon Find Out

I am sorry to disturb the slumber of those of you who are trying to awake from the nightmare that has been the Watson administration, but I have some alarming informarion to share with you. For people who have paying attention to the never-ending saga of our administration’s venality and incompetence what follows will be no surprise. If this situation is not corrected, the consequences for the school will be dire. Perhaps that is the goal—given the behavior of the Watson administration, it is hard to come to any other rational conclusion.

The most recent threat to Chicago State’s well-being comes in the form of continuing financial aid misadventures. You might remember the school became the target of a series of negative newspaper articles in the summer of 2011 for its failure to purge students who were ineligible based on their academic performance, from the financial aid rolls. Discovered by auditors, these problems represented part of a financial aid scandal, the other part was the university’s disbursement of financial aid to students at unapproved locations. All this came to light before the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

Because of Chicago State’s various financial aid problems, on March 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) placed the university on “provisional” status for the disbursement of financial aid, including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans and Work Study Programs. The provisional status extends through December 31, 2015 and the DOE communication warned Watson and Cheri Sidney (copied in the letter) that “During the period of provisional certification, the participation of the Institution will be subject to revocation for cause.”

On March 26, 2014, the DOE advised Watson of its analysis of the school’s audit findings. Included among problems cited by the DOE was the school’s failure to ensure that outside locations at which students took classes were approved by IBHE and DOE for both educational and financial purposes. The Department of Education’s audit findings warned Watson that “repeat findings in future audits or failure to satisfactorily resolve the findings ofthis audit may lead to an adverse administrative action. An adverse administrative action may include the imposition of a fine, or the limitation, suspension, or termination of the eligibility ofthe institution to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs.” The audit findings addressed in the DOE letter all came from the fiscal 2012 audit, published by the Illinois Auditor General in March 2013.

The Department of Education’s letter and the state’s audit included some disquieting passages. In June 2012, when the school requested approval for its existing 12 off-site locations, the DOE requested “the accreditation and state approval” information for all 12 sites, unidentified Chicago State officials indicated “they were not aware that accreditation approval and state authorization were required.” The state auditors discovered that the previous year’s audit findings had not been corrected because “staff was still in the midst of implementing the prior year corrective action plan and automating the process which included training on all the steps required for reporting a new location.” This level of ignorance and inaction seems astounding, given the stakes. In any event, the school apparently avoided a repeat audit finding on off-site locations in fiscal 2013. So is it safe to assume the administration (read Financial Aid which resides in Enrollment Management and is managed by Cheri Sidney) has learned how to correctly apply for approval to offer classes and provide financial aid at off-site locations? Not exactly.

The Department of Education’s letters notified Chicago State that in order to offer financial aid at off-site locations, that the school’s provisional status obligated it to seek approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) for course offerings and from the DOE for financial aid disbursements before the start of any classes: “CSU [must obtain] approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education to offer classes at . . . ineligible locations.” After approval, the university then must apply for approval to disburse financial aid at off-site locations because provisionally certified institutions are prohibited “from disbursing . . . funds to students . . . until the institution receives the Secretary’s notification” that the alternative locations are approved. So, to recap, because of Chicago State’s provisional certification, the school is required to seek approval from IBHE to offer classes at a new location, then after obtaining IBHE approval, Chicago State must apply and receive approval from the Department of Education to disburse financial aid. Failure to follow these mandated steps may result in the Department of Education terminating the school’s ability to disburse financial aid to its students.

From the DOE's letter of March 2013:

From the DOE's audit letter of March 2014:

Why am I going on about this? Well, we have an incipient West Side Campus being advertised on our web site. Based on the information on our web, it seems like the university is planning to offer courses beginning in Fall 2015. However, our department recently received a communication from our Chair to get proposals in for programs/courses for the West Side Campus. Additionally, several administrators have indicated that some highly-placed administrators have indicated that courses would commence on that site (wherever it is, I’m still not sure) in January or February of 2015.

When I heard that information, I wondered whether the university had even obtained approval from IBHE and DOE to offer courses/disburse financial aid at the new site. Guess what? As of this date, we have received no approval, in fact, as of November 14, 2014, we had not even applied. So, based on our provisional status, we will need to put an application together for operating a new location and send it to IBHE for their approval. Since the programs for the new campus have not even been formalized, I cannot imagine how we can do this. Then, of course, after we secure approval from IBHE to teach courses, we then must apply and obtain approval from the DOE for financial aid disbursements. I am sure that all this can be done between now and January or February of next year, how about you?

The recent behavior of the school relative to its financial aid operations are instructive. In 2011, Watson and his administration took no responsibility for the scandal that occurred nearly two years into his presidency. They blamed the previous administration for all the difficulties. After that fiasco, you might think that the administration would conduct a thorough investigation of its financial aid practices, if only to avoid subsequent embarrassment. However, a look at the figure for unauthorized distributioin of financial aid reveal that of the $499,705 in non-approved disbursements, $312,919 (62.6 percent) took place under Watson. Not the kind of performance to inspire confidence.

How long must we suffer this incompetence? The administrative failure to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the provisional requirements imposed on the university by the DOE will subject the school to possible termination of its ability to grant financial aid. How many students will we have then? How many students are going to register for courses on the west side if the school cannot provide them with financial assistance? Is this ridiculous new campus sideshow worth the damage it might inflict upon Chicago State? How many of you feel confident that our financial aid wizards will do correctly what is required to ensure the smooth operation of the new campus? Who in our administration even knows what they are doing or even what they are talking about?

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Chicago State Faculty Senate is Recognized Again

I just received this a few minutes ago. It speaks for itself. I note, however, that unlike the earlier communications about this issue, this one was not sent to the entire faculty.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wayne Watson Takes All the Credit in 2010 but He'll Take None of the Blame in 2014: The Orwellian World of the Chicago State Administration and the School's Board of Trustees

One of the things I find most troubling about Wayne Watson’s administration is the Orwellian nature of the rhetoric that frequently emanates from denizens of the Cook Building. Rather than address the substantive problems plaguing the school, the administration disseminates propaganda. Administrative communications create no conditions for a frank examination of our difficulties. Instead, the administration feeds us a false narrative of competence and control and dishes up empty jargon instead of real discussion.

The newly realized need to place blame for our enrollment declines everywhere but where it belongs illustrates this nicely. From 2010 on, the administration created a monstrosity called Enrollment Management, staffed it with well-paid cronies as upper-level administrators, and invested the people in charge of the unit with increasing responsibility for the affairs of the university. The result of this investment of taxpayer funds can be seen in the 29 percent drop in enrollment Chicago State has experienced since 2010.

Now, however, the enrollment disaster can no longer be ignored. Empirical data demonstrates the totality of the administration’s failure on that score. This year, the administration has stripped units from Enrollment Management and transferred them to either the President’s office or Academic Affairs. Is not the dilution of Enrollment Management’s responsibilities further evidence of its abysmal failure?

As I have noted previously, under this administration, notions of “accountability, transparency and responsibility” are nothing more than empty words. In fact, Watson assiduously avoids taking any responsibility for his numerous failures at Chicago State. Enrollment plunging? The faculty’s fault. Non-existent fund-raising? Blame the Foundation. Poor press relations? It is the media’s fault. Problems with idiotic mandated degree requirements? The faculty has no respect for the students. You get the idea. Apparently, the latest propaganda coming down from the administration will substitute for “accountability, transparency and responsibility,” the nonsensical claim that an uptick in enrollment is imminent. An increase, which, by definition, will occur in spite of the school’s faculty.

Yesterday, I mentioned the minutes of the March 8, 2010 Board of Trustees meeting. During the meeting, Watson received praise for his great leadership from his patron, Leon Finney. Of course the minutes only offer an expurgated account of a conversation that took place over a fifteen minute period during that meeting. I think this conversation is revealing in a number of ways and I will publish the transcript for your consideration. I will interject editorial comment where I feel it is appropriate. If anyone wishes to listen to the actual recording, it is available here: The exchange runs from 5:40 to 22:00.

The players in this drama include Wayne Watson, former University Provost Sandra Westbrooks, and Trustees Leon Finney and Levon James (Student Trustee). The conversation occurred during the Academic and Student Affairs Committee portion of the regular board meeting.

To begin, Sandra Westbrooks reports on the good enrollment news:

Westbrooks: “What I can tell you is enrollment is up overall by 19 percent.”

Next, Watson crows about what an unprecedented success this enrollment increase represents. The hyperbole of his comments aside, he gives all the credit to himself and his administrative leaders. When he “give[s] a lot of credit to our faculty,” he is really telling the board and the audience that the faculty functioned as facilitators of policies devised by his administration and executed by various deans:

Watson: “and that is why we’re so hesitant because the numbers are so high that made us"

Westbrooks: “pause.”

Watson: “pause and question ourselves. So we are scrubbing the numbers. We know we are significantly up, as you, ah, Fall Semester we led the state in terms of percentage increase.”

Westbrooks: “by 6.1 percent”.

Watson: “When we saw the numbers most recent, you know, we said take these back, rescrub them, ah, but we are significantly up.”

“We have never had that type of an increase, or retention of our students and yeah, I have to give a lot of credit to our faculty, our faculty stepped up, you know, ah, they stepped on a voluneer basis, to work with a concept called the early alert system. The concept was put in place in the fall, and, ah, the faculty made it happen. Dr. Green with her efforts and I have to give credit to the five deans, the five deans put in, just innumerable hours you know, just them personally, their staff, making phone calls, reaching out to students, all of that resulted in the highest retention of first-time full-time Freshmen from fall to spring that we’ve ever seen. Which also then led to this unusual enrollment increase that we have. Let me say that there are, there are some things we are looking at that we are concerned about, some of the students that we have retained, Dr. Green and her staff are working on those students, we have some students who have some academic challenges. We must address that, that is our responsibility, but the thing is that ah, we’re looking pretty strong, looking pretty strong in terms of enrollment right now.”

After a brief continuation of the enrollment report by Westbrooks, Leon Finney, the man most responsible for bringing Watson to Chicago State inserts himself into the conversation. For the next several minutes, he attempts to brow beat Westbrooks into conceding that the good news is because of the leadership of Wayne Watson (as reported in the minutes):

: “Thank you very much for this report. It seems to me that when we look at the way the school is operating now, in prior years, and compare it to prior years, something has changed. For some undocumented reason maybe, our, in comparison to other universities, in comparison to other universities and colleges, our enrollment is up, and we’re leading in the state. For some undocumented reason, our retention is up, and we’re leading the state there. I’ve been on this board now for five years, and I have yet to witness the kind of turnaround and performance that we’ve experienced this last twelve months, and I’m just curious as to where you as the provost would sort of summarize what’s happened here. We were viewed as a loser school and now we’re not. What happened?”

A nonplussed Westbrooks stumbles over her response, which Finney finds unacceptable. When the student trustee attempts to come to a grateful Westbrook’s assistance, Finney shuts him off.

Westbrooks: “Well Dr. Finney I think that number one it’s been a collective effort. I think that there are so many individuals on this campus, I mean we love this institution, and”

Finney: “but you loved the institution before, what happened?”

Westbrooks: "Well, um, I think that more of a concerted effort has been made, um, that’s been more focused. It’s not that we didn’t know what to do, it’s being able to do it, follow through, have some safety nets in place, but also I think it’s about accountability, um, because with that accountability a lot of people who used to be here are no longer here, so I think that all of those have been contributing factors as the university moves forward, and, but it’s not without hard work, because it’s not something that you put in place, you then have to do your follow-up meetings, or your debriefings. You always talk about what went well, but at the end of the day you want to know, but how can we improve upon whatever we’ve just accomplished. . . ."

Finney: “Let me ask you another question, it seems as though I’m not getting an answer, I’m getting an explanation, but, why wasn’t this present before?”

James: “I think I can help you.”

Westbrooks: “O.K., thank you.”

Finney: “But no, no, I’d like for her to answer the question, cause I’m not asking you Trustee, I’m asking this provost.”

James: “It’s not fair.”

Westbrooks: “Um Well a lot has to do with the leadership Dr. Finney, and I know that that it depends on, a lot of it has to do with the focus, at a point in time, what’s priority for the institution? And I think that the priority must drive everything we do as an institution. We can’t just say that enrollment, retention and graduation is a priority if you don’t have the strategy behind it and the accountability behind it. And I think that that the major difference.”

Finney: “So then, I guess, you’d say that maybe there’s been a change in management.”

Westbrooks: “Oh, definitely.”

Now that Finney has gotten the response he desired, he launches into a rambling narrative that ultimately vindicates him and the board for hiring Watson. Early in the narrative, Finney is unwittingly prescient, recounting complaints during the 2009 hiring process that the board “was taking this school backwards,” and that “the institution was going to go down the drain.”

Finney: “Ah, the reason I’m raising this is because this board, ah, went through a very very difficult process, ah, and the, during that process, the board was roundly criticized that it was taking this school backwards. Students got on the floor and represented that the baccalaureate, the master’s level and the doctoral degrees were going to be not of value, that the institution was going to go down the drain, ah, faculty members charged that, ah, the process was not one that was helpful, although we were able to document that the process had complied with the full extent of the law. And we’ve had now a period of time when you essentially served as the chief executive officer of this school and now we have a period where Dr. Watson has served as the chief executive officer of this school to oversee the day-to-day operation. I would submit to you that perhaps, it was the freedom, ah, that this board allowed, invested in you to do your job during the period of time from June, July 1 through October, ah, ah, to September and then, ah, having used, I think its best judgment in selecting Dr. Watson to be its president, ah, and now having him fully empowered and capable of doing his job, or doing the job of leading this institution, I suspect that, in my judgement as I now bring to a close of my fifth year on this board, I suspect that that’s been a major reason for why we have, we’re experiencing a turnaround, and in terms of the performance of this school. And I mention it at this particular point because I want the students that are here this morning to appreciate the fact that in a place like this, it is possible to have a moment of disagreement as to the direction of the school, ah, and yet, I think, achieve a positive purpose. We are all in a democratic society and this board is vested with the authority and responsibility of making sure that it has top quality management and then let the management be, take place. I’ve not been on this campus now for almost three months. It’s wonderful not to have to be on this campus and worry about the day-to-day operations of the school, because we have a team here that Dr. Watson is the head of, and you are, ah, the chief operating officer that’s able to work and get the work, the job done. And so for me, ah, my narrow little point of view, I think that it represents, um, wisdom on the part of this board, ah, investing in you the authority to carry forth the job as provost, and wisdom as it . . . engaged in a process of selecting a new president. And so, I don’t want to take any credit, all I think we have to as policy makers is to be careful to select those people that we believe are able to do the job, ah, and let ‘em do the job, and, um, now I feel somewhat vindicated that the decision that I participated in was the right decision moving forward.”

The student trustee then chimes in with a corrective view that actually includes references to the efforts made by students and staff to improve things at Chicago State:

James: “Might I add to that, simply put, you cannot flatly attributed the successes that have happened over this period purely to the hirings that have gone on. There would have been no president who could have come into this university after what transpired last year without a commitment to understanding the needs of the student population and hearing and addressing their concerns. It is directly because of that commitment to hear and address the concerns of the students on this campus that we are seeing a turnaround. And if we want to attributed congratulations and accolades to individuals, let’s contribute it to the students from Student Government Association, the students from SWAT, the students from . . . the ah, everyday student who took a personal interest in their education and the individuals administering that area and came in and sat through meeting after meeting after meeting trying to work through these issues to make sure that those things that prohibited the university from being able to retain and enroll students didn’t continue. And along with that, the members of the staff here definitely were there and helped with, um, giving us the expertise and the knowledge that they possess to coordinate that effort. If it wasn’t for the staffing as well as the students, we would not have the successes that we have today.”

In his final gurgle, Finney praises Westbrooks, astounding given the overall reproving tone of his previous observations. Remember that Westbrooks resigned in 2009 along with most of the other members of the presidential search committee. It seems clear from the discernible discomfort Westbrooks felt earlier as Finney directed his badgering questions toward her that she did not anticipate any compliments coming from Watson’s benefactor. Nonetheless, after giving her his best stern and fatherly guidance, Finney threw her a bone in his praise for Westbrook’s ability to hear all the great ideas disseminated by Wayne Watson.

Finney: “Well, I don’t disagree with you in terms of the involvement of the students. What the key thing was, and I want to represent here, was that we had a change in leadership that in my judgement, was, is a good thing and I wanted to point out that Dr. Westbrook, ah, was material in that. And she had an open ear, which simply says that perhaps the previous administration didn't have an open ear and didn’t permit the students to ah, exercise, um, exercise their engagement, involvement, and so we have what we have and I want to now just close this, ah, moment now to say that you ought to be commended, Dr. Westbrook, and Dr. Watson, ah, is too and I call for the orders of the day.”

As current events demonstrate, our contemporary board has not changed much. They are still offering up hearty portions of Orwellian rhetoric to elide a hard look at actual events at this university. As the waves crash over the deck the board plays their one note over and over again. “We believe in Wayne Watson’s vision.” Shame on Leon Finney for bringing us this disaster and shame on Anthony Young, James Joyce, Michael Curtin, Spencer Leak, Horace Smith and Nikki Zollar for not possessing the insight to identify the real source of Chicago State’s problems and end this travesty.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Closer You Get, the Worse We Look: Only Five Public Non-Research Universities in the U.S. Have Performed More Dismally than We Have

How big a failure is Wayne Watson and his clown show administration? What magnitude of disaster have that pack of fools visited upon Chicago State? Well, if Watson and his minions ran a professional sports team, it would be the Oakland Raiders, if he were a pathogen, he would be the bacteria responsible fot the Black Death. Recently, 2013 enrollment data became available on IPEDS that paints a stark picture of the catastrophe that is Wayne Watson as president of Chicago State.

I collected IPEDS enrollment data comparing 2010 enrollments with 2013 enrollments. I used the following criteria: 1) the college or university had to be a public institution (with the exception of a handful of PBI or HBCU institutions that belong to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund); 2) the institution had to grant at least master’s and bachelor’s degrees, 3) the institution could not be considered a “research institution”. This survey yielded a total of 257 colleges and universities across the United States. Here are the most notable findings:

The total enrollment change for those 257 institutions amounted to a drop of 3217 students out of better than 2.5 million enrolled, for a percentage decline of .013 percent. That’s 13/1000th of a percent folks. Of course, Chicago State’s decline over that period was 22.6 percent. That means that the total 2013 enrollment at those 257 schools was 99.87 percent of what it had been in 2010. In terms of ranking, Chicago State came in at number 252, with only 5 schools losing a larger percentage of their student populations. The other numbers are just as horrible. Chicago State was 1 of only 8 schools to experience an enrollment decline greater than 20 percent and only 8 schools lost a larger number of students than our 1661, but those schools had an average of 19,932 students before their enrollment declines (which averaged 15.4 percent).

I understand that there are a couple of narratives emerging from the Cook Building about our enrollment woes. First, the Enrollment Management people are apparently claiming that projections for Fall 2015 are a 4 percent increase. What data supports that contention? As I pointed out in a previous post on this topic, no school managed by Wayne Watson has ever achieved an enrollment increase greater than 1.76 percent. Thus, any assertion that we will increase our enrollment next year seems like nothing more wishful thinking. Or bullshit.

Second, as is his habit, Watson will most likely blame the faculty for the enrollment decline. In the halcyon days of 2010, before students began fleeing Wayne Watson’s Chicago State, Watson had listened to Leon Finney praise him for being responsible for enrollment increases (albeit modest ones). Watson, who likes to repeat how “proud and humble” he is to receive praise said nothing about anyone else, but Student Trustee Levon James actually interjected that “staff and students also contributed to this progress.” Now, however, there is no progress and hence no credit for Watson to grab so someone must be held responsible. He certainly cannot blame either his girlfriend or the interim provost for the enrollment debacle for which they should be held reponsible so it is the faculty by default. Here is the pertinent portion of the board minutes for March 8, 2010:

Wayne Watson is planning to take Charlie McCarthy with him to a couple of faculty meetings this week. I sincerely hope he does not plan to try to get us to swallow either of those two nonsensical claims. We will see.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Texts of the Senate Resolutions From Illinois State and Eastern Illinois

Here is the text of the resolution from Illinois State:

Here is the text of the resolution from Eastern Illinois:

Thanks to both of those Faculty Senates for their support.

Nice to Know that our Faculty Colleagues from EIU, UIC, and UIUC have our backs--Thanks for Standing up for the CSU Senate

See a post about our Faculty Senate travails in this week's Daily Easterner from Eastern Illinois University.  EIU, UIC, and UIUC Faculty Senates have written to the soon to be ex-Governor Quinn supporting the CSU Faculty Senate. Since no single Faculty Senate can take on the corrupt Board of Trustee patronage system here in the state of ILL perhaps this signals the beginning of faculty from across state institutions coming together to demand that administrations and boards be responsive to the faculty and students, not the other way around. CSU as local patronage pit has its own special brand of patronage that has been so exacerbated since Leon Finney and Emil Jones's delivery of Wayne Watson to our campus in 2008. Now with Board Chair Anthony Young acting as gofer for President Watson there is no independent oversight of CSU. We are not alone across the state in our complaints about the patronage and pillage culture here. 

So thank you colleagues from EIU, UIC, and UIUC for supporting the CSU Faculty Senate. "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship..." 

Senate seeks CSU board to be dissolved

Jarad Jarmon, Associate News Editor
November 4, 2014
Filed under News

The Faculty Senate approved their letter to Governor Pat Quinn supporting the recently dissolved Chicago State University Faculty Senate at their meeting Tuesday.

In the letter, the senate states they do not agree with the Chicago State University Board of Trustees in their decision to dissolve their faculty senate.

The senate agreed their actions were unwarranted; they called upon Quinn to dissolve the board.

The need to support Chicago State’s faculty senate came up after it was dissolved after disagreements between their vice president of academic affairs over her credentials.

Along with Eastern, the University of Illinois in Chicago as well as Urbana-Champaign has sent letters in support of dissolving the school’s board for the way in which their actions had been taken.

No information has been released as to when the letter will be sent out.

The senate also appointed Steven Scher, a psychology professor, as the faculty senate representative on the Enrollment Management Advisory Committee.

The committee works to advise the administration on directions to take or ideas to pursue to boost enrollment.

They also approved a slate of candidates for several councils and committees within the senate.

While faculty took interest in most of the positions available, some spots were still open on the Council on Teacher Education and the University Personnel Committee.

Grant Sterling, a philosophy professor, said he was disappointed by the open positions.

The senate will meet again at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 in Room 4440 in Booth Library.

Bobby Galuski contributed to the reporting for this article.

Bob Galuski contributed  to this article.

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The University's Evidence Against the Faculty Senate: What a Surprise, It Doesn't Exist

A short while ago, I received a response from Patrick Cage to the FOIA request I filed on October 20. As a reminder, I filed that FOIA request in an effort to determine what, if any, actual evidence the administration possessed that supported the allegations of election irregularities they made against the Faculty Senate and its February 2014 amendment election. As you may recall, these allegations formed the basis for the Board’s decision to withdraw recognition from the Senate in September so they must be substantive, right?

Well, here is what the administration’s response makes obvious. There is no evidence, the election irregularities they are so concerned about exist simply because the administration says they do. To describe the administration’s case as completely lacking credibility seems an understatement. In fact, their actual response is nothing more than a complete fabrication. Like a liar who has been caught and who attempts to invent even more fantastic and unbelievable lies to escape responsibility for the original lie, the university administration asks us to believe a scenario that could not have existed.

Of course, it is always possible that my interpretation of the response is somehow inaccurate or even implausible. Therefore, I will present the evidence supporting my assertions and let you, the reader, draw your own conclusions. First, a brief chronology of the events surrounding the February election. The election announcement and supporting documents went out to Unit A faculty at 10:09 pm on Monday, February 10, 2014. Voting in the election occurred between that time and 11:59 pm on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. The Faculty Senate President sent the election results to the president on February 24, 2014, and on February 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm, the president’s office demanded documents relating to the conduct of the election. Between February 10 and February 25, 2014, I received no complaints from anyone about the conduct of the election. Despite the straightforward nature of the election and our timely notification to the President of the final results, his February 25 memorandum demanded information with no rationale or explanation.

The FOIA response from Cage gives us the purported reasons for Watson’s February 25 memorandum. First, the administration received “Various complaints” which “were made both at faculty town hall meetings, as well as departmental meetings attended [by] the Provost and President.” Love those passive constructions. Second, “Several complaints were made. The specific number of complaints were not tracked.” Third, “All complaints were oral.” Fourth, “The complaints were not specifically investigated, the matter was addressed with a request for information addressed to [the] faculty Senate.” Here are the pertinent portions of the response:

Based on Cage’s FOIA response, this is the administration’s chronology of events: between February 10 and February 25, 2014, the President held at least two “faculty town hall meetings” (note the plural). In addition, the President attended at least two “departmental meetings” (again note the plural). Watson was quite busy during this two-week period, hosting faculty town hall meetings and rushing around attending departmental meetings. At both these venues, he apparently listened to a torrent of complaints from disaffected faculty upset about being disfranchised by the Faculty Senate. After being inundated with complaints about the election, the President “requested” information from the Faculty Senate on February 25, 2014.

A partial reconstruction of events between February 10 and 25 reveals the ridiculous nature of the administration’s claims. First, between those two dates, there are four days available for the President to either host a faculty town hall meeting or attend one of the departmental meetings. These dates are Tuesday, February 11; Thursday, February 13; Thursday, February 18 and Thursday February 20. I am excluding Tuesday, February 25 because I think it unlikely that the President attended a meeting, heard the complaints, then rushed back to his office to write the memorandum demanding information from the Faculty Senate.

On February 11, 2014, Watson attended a special meeting of the Chicago State Board of Trustees. That leaves three other dates for Watson to attend various meetings. There was simply no “town hall meeting” during this time period, so the claim that Watson received faculty complaints in that setting is obviously untrue. As for the departmental meetings to which Cage’s response refers, it seems unlikely that Watson attended one on each available date between February 10 and 25. I have requested from Watson’s office information about any departmental meetings he attended between February 10 and February 25. At this point, I have received no response, if necessary, I will FOIA that information. Nevertheless, I feel comfortable in saying that none of these supposed meetings attended by Watson actually took place.

Instead, I offer this alternative to the administration’s narrative: Watson never expected the Faculty Senate to hold an election within the specified time frame (remember his January 28 memorandum ordered the Senate to comply with its Constitution by February 26). When we did so, the administration had to devise a new plan. Falling back on the election-rigging skills they demonstrated during the 2013 SGA elections, the deep thinkers in the Cook Building devised their current Senate elimination strategy. It is possible that someone actually did complain about not being eligible to vote, which would have been a simple matter to verify. However, the administration’s goal had nothing to do with election fairness and everything to do with the destruction of that pesky Faculty Senate. Despite the absence of any evidence of misconduct, the administration convinced Chicago State’s abominable Board of Trustees to withdraw its recognition of the Senate, creating the current state of limbo.

This situation currently remains unresolved. In October, the Faculty Senate provided the Board of Trustees with information they requested in September. We have not even received the courtesy of a reply from any member of the Board. Given the administration’s propensity to manufacture falsehoods as a justification for their actions (remember James Crowley?) I am not particularly sanguine about the prospects for an acceptable settlement of this dispute. In the meantime, faculty governance at Chicago State remains dormant. We really are the laughingstock of the entire Illinois academic community.