Job announcements for administrative positions at Chicago State include typical boilerplate statements about specific qualifications and requirements. Ostensibly, these qualifications and requirements represent the sum total of what an applicant must possess to be able to land an administrative job here. However, Wayne Watson has his own set of qualifications and requirements. Documentary evidence uncovered over the past several years enables me to offer this assessment of these Watsonian criteria for administrative employment. While not all administrators can expect to be called upon to perform the duties enumerated below, a number have demonstrated their loyalty to Watson by participating in one or more of these activities. Altogether, these distinct and unspoken requirements paint a portrait of a purported university administration that can best be described as pathological.
The most important criterion Watson considers is political reliability. This overshadows all other considerations, especially competence. A cursory glance at the top-level administrators at Chicago State reveals the large number of well-positioned personal friends and cronies in the Watson regime. Watson expects constant acquiescence to his demands and pronouncements, no matter how unethical or how much they might contravene established policy or even law. Watson describes the willingness of his flunkies to unquestionably do his bidding as “integrity,” which means that anyone who opposes his edicts acts without integrity. There are a number of actions Watson may call upon his subordinates to undertake on his behalf:
First, when called upon to do so, he expects his administrators to lie and cover-up administrative incompetence or malfeasance, regardless of the potential damage to their reputations or the risk to their positions. For a specific example of this kind of Watsonian behavior refer to the James Crowley case or the earlier case of Maria Moore.
Second, when called upon to do so, he expects his administrators to participate in the efforts of the Watson slime machine to not only discredit, but destroy his critics and perceived “enemies.” See again, Watson’s dealings with James Crowley and Maria Moore along with the administration’s treatment of Willie Preston.
Third, when called upon to do so, he expects his administrators to take the full blame for Watson’s failures, despite the consequences for their own careers. A number of people have been victimized by this pathology, including to name just a few: Lois Davis, Carnice Hill and Mary Butler. The layoffs and staff reductions coming soon will likely produce a new crop of victims of this pathology.
Fourth, as a companion piece to Watson’s long demonstrated propensity to blame others for his failures, when called upon to do so, Watson expects his administrators to remain silent while Watson takes the credit for accomplishments he essentially has little to do with. The resplendent examples of this pathology abound. This deadly leadership quality is neatly summarized by Mike Myatt in Forbes Magazine: “Real leaders are accountable. They don’t blame others, don’t claim credit for the success of their team, but always accept responsibility for failures that occur on their watch.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/10/18/15-ways-to-identify-bad-leaders/2/
Fifth, before and after Watson’s scandals come to light, he expects his administrators to maintain strict silence in order to protect him from scrutiny. Ths pathology falls under the rubric of “not airing our dirty linen in public,” as if this place were some kind of fiefdom. Most important, Watson’s constant huffing and puffing about “transparency” is dishonest and designed to cover for an administrative culture that is anything but transparent. This pathology includes the university administration’s consistent refusal to respond to requests for information filed under FOIA.
Obviously, there are a number of honest, hard-working administrators at Chicago State. However, enough administrators have been willing to enable or even actively assist Watson as he sets about the task of destroying this institution. As I have said previously, Chicago State is not managed like an educational institution. We are plagued with a crony-riven administration that has demonstrated both its vindictiveness and its incompetence. Watson and his cronies have driven the school to the brink of extinction and unless we experience some kind of deus ex machina, it seems likely this situation will become more and more intolerable.