Monday, July 20, 2015

Honestly, You Can't Make This Stuff Up: What Kind of Publicity is Best For Chicago State?

For current students current employees and particularly for prospective students: Let’s take a quiz.

You’re part of the “marketing team” or “publicity team” or “media relations team” at Chicago State. You’ve got a choice of three new stories, but you’re only going to run two. Here they are. Which two are you going to publish?

Story 1: Your school has just won two awards for Educational and Collegiate Advertising.

Story 2: Janice Jackson, A graduate of Chicago State is named Chief Education Officer at the Chicago Public Schools. This former Chicago State student has degrees from Chicago State in secondary education and history, teaching experience and is obviously highly respected by her professional peers.

Story 3: Wayne Watson hosts a jazz concert at the presidential mansion and gets his photo taken with the 19th Ward Alderman.

Correct Answer: Numbers 1 and 3. Number 1 makes the administration look like it’s capable of actually doing something properly and number 3 gets Watson’s mug back at the top of the school web site where it belongs. After all, the Chicago State web site exists mainly to provide publicity for Wayne Watson and his administration. Is there any wonder we’re bleeding students?

For anyone interested in our school who would like to read about a Chicago State student success story, here's the link:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Let's Talk About the Closing of the HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute: A Tale of Retaliation and Lies

As most of our readers already know, in early 2015, Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson closed the HIV/AIDS Institute, resulting in the Director of the institute, Tom Lyons moving from the administrative ranks to faculty status. They gave Lyons no reason for the institute’s elimination. So far, Lyons has chosen to remain basically silent on the matter, but the deposition transcripts of both Watson and Henderson offer a look at their ham-handed and completely dishonest attempt to cover up an action that was nothing more than naked retaliation.

In 2014, Tom Lyons ran afoul of our two avengers by supporting Willie Preston in his battle to win exoneration for the trumped-up criminal charges (Preston was acquitted because the court found the elements of the alleged crime absent) the university filed against him, mainly due to the bogus order of protection obtained against Preston by Henderson (since vacated because the judge determined it should not have been issued originally). Convinced of the injustice being done to Preston, Lyons began publicly speaking up on his behalf and attending court appearance, where Henderson saw him. Shortly thereafter, Lyons found his relationship with Henderson deteriorating, ultimately culminating in the closure of the research and policy institute he directed.

Angela Henderson’s Ph.D. dissertation topic apparently emerged out of her concern for the alarming number of HIV/AIDS cases in the African American community, a phenomenon recognized by Chicago State University in May 2004. That year, the university established the HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute in order to “address the disproportionate incidence and complex burdens of HIV/AIDS in minority populations through research and policy.”

When doing her dissertation research and writing in 2012-13, Henderson seemed to be in total agreement with Chicago State’s position on the HIV/AIDS scourge. Her dissertation's opening sentences read:

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has negatively impacted African-American (AA) men in the United States. AA males have higher rates of HIV/AIDS diagnoses than any other ethnic or racial group and at some point in their lifetime; an estimated one in 16 AA men will be diagnosed with HIV [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [CDC], 2011). In 2009, the estimated rate of new HIV infection for AA men was more than six and a half times higher than that of white men and two and a half times higher than that of Latino men and AA women (CDC, 2011). In addition, in 2009, AA men accounted for 70% of all new infections in the African-American population (CDC, 2011). The AIDS case rate per 100,000 for AA males was 82.9, the highest of any group in 2006. (Source: Angela M. Henderson, Predicting Consistent Condom Use in African-American, Emerging Adult Males Enrolled in Community College, Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Chicago 2013, 21).

However, here at Chicago State the thirst for retaliation trumps everything. When Lyons revealed himself to be a "disloyal" employee, all other considerations took second place to the desire to punish him. That Watson and Henderson did.

Unfortunately for our vengeful duo, their actions became part of the ongoing federal court action filed by Willie Preston and Brittany Bailey. Both Watson and Henderson were forced to give depositions in that matter. Those depositions reveal the sordid machinations these two engaged in to rid themselves of that pesky Tom Lyons.

In his deposition, Watson acknowledges that the administration closed the HIV/AIDS Institute in early 2015, but claims that he neither participated in the decision nor knew who actually decided to eliminate the program. In her deposition, Angela Henderson directly contradicts Watson’s testimony, saying that the entire “operations team” participated in the decision-making process. She claims that several persons were involved in the decision, including the Vice President of Finance (Lawrence Pinkleton), the Budget Director (Arrileen Patawaran), the Director of Human Resources (Renee Mitchell), the General Counsel (Patrick Cage), the Chief of Police (Ronnie Watson), the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management (Cheri Sidney) and the President (Wayne Watson). Watson's and Henderson’s statements are here:

Henderson then contorts herself in an attempt to explain that the HIV/AIDS Institute was not actually closed, that the administration just got rid of the director. However, later in the deposition, she contradicts herself again by admitting that there was no longer an institute. Here is the testimony:

Henderson is completely untruthful about the funding for the institute claiming its budget—according to Chicago State’s “budget book”—to be $500,000. Here is her testimony followed by the actual budget information from Chicago State’s Internal Operating Budget from fiscal 2008 through fiscal 2016:

This is from the fiscal 2008 budget book, the HIV/AIDS Institute is budget unit 0439:

The budget for the Institute for fiscal 2009-12:

The budget for the Institute from fiscal 2013 to the present:

Further distortions in Henderson's testimony revolve around the "other institutes" whose "administrators" also went back to faculty status. This entire discussion is dishonest. Lewis Myers never stopped teaching, so, as Henderson said, he got nothing more than "release" time (for our non-academic readers, that's a decrease in your teaching load with no subsequent pay increase), Mikal Rasheed is already an administrator (reappointed to a Chair's position for 2015-16) so he could hardly go back to being a faculty member as Henderson suggests. He got override CUES for whatever "institution" he participated in. Dr. McKeever is actually Dr. Smith-McKeever in Social Work. She also got release time from teaching. Both Myers and Smith-McKeever taught in both semesters in 2014-15. Thus, Tom Lyons is the only person Watson and Henderson removed from an administrative position and returned to teaching. Here's the testimony:

Two things seem notable here. First, the level of university financial support for the institute decreased dramatically under Wayne Watson; second, the actual budget has never been even close to $500,000. Henderson apparently pulled that figure out of the air. The absurd and evasive testimony of Watson and Henderson coupled with the outright lies told by those two seems to foreshadow more embarrassment for Chicago State when they appear in court for the Preston case. It seems fair to say that the pathological desire for loyalty exhibited by our administration trumps the welfare of our students and the community. This institute's closure is simply a betrayal of this university's societal responsibilities.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

More Deposition Testimony from Wayne Watson:

Most of us try to avoid making asses of ourselves in front of other persons. Not so Wayne Watson, whose recent deposition testimony revealed him to be either a breathtaking liar or mentally unfit for the position he holds. If this university had a functioning Board of Trustees, that group would put an end to this travesty of an administration. Unfortunately, there is no scandal sufficiently egregious to move that body to act in the best interests of the university and its students. Here are few more examples of the cavalcade of contradictions, outright falsehoods and claims of memory loss that pepper Watson’s deposition testimony. Small wonder that Circuit Court Judge McCarthy described his testimony in the Crowley case as “evasive” among other pejoratives.

Let’s start with some startling ignorance followed by a glaring contradiction. Here is the question/answer between Willie Preston’s attorney and Watson about Rhonda Veronica Williams, the Chicago State Student Trustee on the board. He does not know that she is unable to vote on his employment status then follows that comment by recognizing her name then acting like he never heard of her:

Watson claims not to know the amount of either his salary or his pension from City Colleges:

Watson testifies that no one at Chicago State questioned or criticized his hiring of Cheri Sidney and on the advice of the Assistant Attorney General, refuses to answer the question about professors who made the same criticism:

Watson does not know what one of his senior administrators does or who hired her.

Finally, in a completely witless response to a simple question, Watson demonstrates that he remembers two linguistic terms from his college days:

And the board fiddles on. The current narrative goes something like this: because Watson will be gone soon, there's no reason to focus on him. He continues to do tremendous damage to the school and needs to either resign or be fired immediately. There will be more of Watson's testimony in coming days.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Is Wayne Watson a Liar? Not Much Doubt According to One Former CSU Administrator

Here's one of the legion of former Chicago State administrators weighing in on Wayne Watson's deposition testimony:

"He is the biggest micromanager with selfish, political and racial intentions. I couldn't hire anybody without him meeting with candidates and him allowing it. . . He knows all the processes that go on in the university cause he manipulates them thru HR, Legal and Provost office."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Breaking News! Patrick Cage Thinking About Life After Chicago State. He Wants to Be a Judge

Guess What? Patrick Cage has applied for a new job! He wants to be a Cook County Circuit Court judge. Can you imagine? Patrick Cage, who had his testimony impeached in the same court, who is in no small part responsible for the huge award in the Crowley case, who never responds to legitimate requests for public information, who has been a national laughingstock for his legal pronouncements, sitting on the bench? Is this the quid pro quo for doing Watson's dirty work? Here's an interesting comment from someone with a keen interest in the doings at Chicago State: "Once your president is gone, it will be somewhat entertaining to watch his crony appointees try to hold on to their positions in the absence of their protector as well as in the absence of any applicable skill sets."

Whatever the answers to those questions, anyone wishing to do so can make comments on Cage's suitability for such a position. Those comments can be sent to:

Joyce Williams-Administrator
The Alliance of Bar Associations
20 S. Clark St., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603

The Chicago Bar Association
321 S. Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604


Circuit Court of Court County Nominating Committee
c/o Timothy C. Evans
Chief Judge
50 West Washington Suite 2600
Chicago, IL 60602

Here's a partial list of applicants. For information on the other applicants, see this web site:

This Can't Be True

So if I am reading the excerpts in the previous post correctly, the president of this university has little grasp of the functioning of the institution, which runs counter to what I have personally witnessed during the past six years. When the president of the university is in involved in minutia like the Faculty Senate governance documents, hiring of faculty, and a myriad of other activities, then he doesn't get to say later, I don't know how things work. Watson has been unable to stay in his lane since arriving at the university and now under oath, he portrays a hands off management style? I am incredulous at these assertions. 
For someone who has purportedly walked into meetings asking who he can fire, it seems disingenuous to first state that he has authority to terminate the employment of a subordinate and then in a follow up question not understand the question "And do you have the final decision about whether or not to terminate the employment of those individuals who reported directly to you?"
As for the hiring of Ms Muscadin as the Associate Vice President of Student of Affairs, it doesn't "bubble up." There is a process, that includes a search committee and interviews and comparisons against other qualified candidates. I know there was a "process" because I was part of that process and made my judgements about it and its outcome known to the committee and its chair. That's how the process works. Hiring decisions of senior administrators don't just bubble up. 
Since it is apparent he knows so little, let me help here. Resign. Today, now. Save the university from your acknowledged ignorance. Admit to the board that you are unable to function as the president and resign. Otherwise, your incompetence will continue to be on display. 
The full transcript must lead one to conclude that the most inept, incompetent president of a four year university is ensconced at CSU. Along the continuum of embarrassment where is this university? 
Words at this point fail your humble narrator.
And as one loyal reader recently remarked, the carnival is still in town.

Wayne Watson's Deposition Testimony: Like Sergeant Schultz, He "Knows (and does) Nothing."

What follows are excerpts from Wayne Watson's deposition of June 4, 2015, in the Willie Preston case. The upshot of all of what appears below is that Watson knows nothing about what goes on at the university and does not involve himself in things like personnel matters--based on his testimony under oath. For those of us who have endured the last five-plus years, this self-portrayal may not ring quite true. Of course, the other alternative is that Watson desires to portray himself as a senile old fool. Read these passages and decide for yourself.

In these first segments, Watson vaguely recognizes the university's organizational chart and acknowledges that a number of high-level administrators report directly to him:

Here, Watson expresses some understanding about what the university's purported "Ethics Officer" does, but he does not understand what "investigate" means.

In this portion, Watson seems to be playing games with Willie Preston's attorney as he contradicts himself and claims he doesn't understand a question that would be clear to a three-year-old:

Next, we learn that Wayne Watson neither knows exactly what judicial affairs does, nor that students are entitled to due process rights before the imposition of discipline:

Watson knows nothing about who is actually responsible for imposing student discipline, again he directly contradicts himself:

Watson then descends further into mendacity, even idiocy by claiming that faculty salaries are determined by "a committee of the University administrators." Of course, he cannot name any members of that committee.

Watson concludes his utterly dishonest sworn testimony by claiming that he has nothing to do with hiring decisions, using the recent promotion of Farah Muscadin as an example. He finishes the cavalcade of lies by claiming not to understand another clear and direct question:

Altogether, this deposition paints a clear picture of someone who exhibits no regard for the conventions of appropriate behavior under oath. Needless to say, the self-portrait he painted on June 4, 2015, bears no resemblance to reality.

Illinois Law on the Payment of Wages

From the Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act (820 ILCS 115):

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Do You Want to Get Paid for Working? Don't Work at Chicago State

How incompetent is the Wayne Watson administration? Compounding their dishonesty with their breathtaking ineptitude, they represent the gold standard of crappy administrations. Thanks to arguably the worst Board of Trustees of any U.S. university, we continue to be plagued with arguably the worst administration of any U.S. university. Now, the problem is that we don't meet our payroll obligations. A number of persons have not been paid for summer school, not been paid their regular salaries for the July 15 payroll date, and have not been paid overrides due since the end of the spring semester in mid-May. Pay attention to whether or not you got paid today, don't take anything for granted. For those of you wishing to file a wage complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor, here's a link to their web site: Again, thank you to our board for saddling us with this troupe of fools. I wonder whether Watson, Henderson, or any of the other gaggle of cronies blighting this school got paid today. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Failing the Pinocchio Test

So I often read a column in the Washington Post that fact checks statements made by various politicians. It confirms the statements and then determines the veracity of those statements and then assigns a number of Pinocchios based on the level of deception. Four Pinocchios is essentially a “liar, liar, pants on fire” ranking. With that said I was curious at a memorandum that I received today notifying the university of the appointment of department chairpersons. This once tri-annual process is now an annual farce perpetrated by the unabashedly corrupt Watson administration on the university. At real universities, something the current incumbent has no experience of, the faculty of each department elect a chair person and that person is confirmed (or not) by the dean of the college. The chairs work for the deans. At Crony State, the chairs are hand picked by the president, a practice unheard of at other universities. So faculty go through the farce of electing a chair only to have in some occasions that decision overturned by an inept and failed president. To wit, please note the following memorandum. 

There are two key pieces of information on this memo. The first is the date and the second is the first line of the memo. So let’s look at the second piece first. The sentence reads “I have reviewed the following department and dean recommendations for department chairperson/director.” That is pretty straightforward except that it is a lie. That leads to the second key piece of information. It is impossible for Angela Henderson to have reviewed a recommendation from my department that didn’t happen until June 23rd when my department met for its chair election. Thus a memo dated June 11th that states that a departmental recommendation was made for the person selected would be a lie and that would make that person making that statement a liar. I, like several of my colleagues in my department are curious whether the administration has developed the ability of precognition and knew 12 days in advance what the decision of the department was vis-a-vis the chairperson. Obviously not. Because in my department it was another faculty member who received the majority of the votes. The memo also states “... interviews with some of the candidates..” Why were any candidates interviewed by the Provost? The chairs don’t report to the Provost. Why weren’t all of the recommended faculty interviewed. Oh, because the decision was made prior to the faculty electing their peer, at least in my department. So not only was the process a ridiculous farce, but the administration made no pretense of adhering to the principles of shared governance inherent in this process. Thanks to Provost for putting in writing the continuing absurdity of this administration. And thanks to the Board of Trustees for allowing this farce to continue unabated for several years.
For your efforts, 

Another interesting tidbit is that for one of the departments the interim chairperson is also the Dean of that college. That would appear to be a conflict of interest, at least in terms of personnel actions. Giving one person two bites at the personnel review apple seems to be unfair and could jeopardize the university should something untoward happen to a faculty member in a personnel action.
All in all, more shenanigans from the administration that put the B in buffoonery.