Monday, November 16, 2015

Our Administration Hard at Work Trying to Discipline Faculty for Crimes They Had Not Committed

Before I went back to graduate school to continue my education, I spent significant time in supervision and management, both in law enforcement and in the private sector. One of the things I learned quickly was to never act precipitously, since you can look like a complete ass when your assumptions are proven wrong. Here at Chicago State, our administrative standard seems to be peremptory, arbitrary, and precipitous action, resulting in some administrator looking like an ass.

As most of our readers know, the death throes of our administration have given us an continuing array of systemic failures and disastrous decisions the past few months. However, our intrepid administrators in these final days of this fetid regime still get aroused by the opportunity to mete out discipline to some miscreant faculty or staff member. When the administration's enthusiasm for vengeance runs into its basic administrative incompetence, the result can be downright embarrassing (at least to someone with the capacity to feel embarrassment). Recent communications from our "Ethics" Officer provide a textbook example of what I'm describing here.

Once again this fall, we had to complete that astoundingly cynical "Ethics Training." The window for doing the computer training ran from October 1 through October 30. Everything apparently went smoothly until the "Ethics" Officer determined that two faculty had, in fact, failed to complete the training. This, of course, is a "serious" violation of the rules here at Chicago State (which our administration always scrupulously observes). Since the well-being of the entire academic enterprise hung in the balance, our stellar "Ethics" Officer swung immediately into action, dashing off a threatening letter to the unfortunate faculty, demanding a meeting before the university lowered the boom on them for their "non-compliance" with a "university directive." The "Ethics" Officer informed one faculty member that s/he had only completed 43 percent of the training, and the other that s/he had only completed 54 percent of the training. Both were informed that a "sanction is being considered." The two faculty were also ordered to contact the Ethics Office by November 12 to make appointments for a meeting on either November 16 or November 17. Obviously this urgent matter had to be dealt with, even if the union representatives these faculty are entitled to have at such a meeting might not have been able to meet on either of the dates indicated in the imperial summons. True elementary school disciplinary practices on display here. The signature on the letter seemed designed to strike fear into the hearts of these faculty scofflaws--"Judge Bernetta D. Bush (ret.)" Wow!

With things looking bleak for our two poor faculty victims and with the "Ethics" Officer salivating at the chance to hang a couple of faculty skins on her belt, these faculty members threw a wrench into the machinery. Lo and behold, they both produced a "Certificate of Completion . . . for the successful completion of Ethics Training for University Employees." Both certificates bore the date of October 30, 2015, which was within the time period for completion of the training. Although the faculty notified the "Ethics" Officer they had completed the training, they have not been afforded the courtesy of a follow-up letter rescinding the meeting demand. Really a professional way to handle this.

Below are redacted copies of both the letter from the "Ethics" Officer and the "Certificates of Completion" produced by the faculty members. As an aside, since I had another career before becoming a university teacher, should I start signing everything "Alameda County Sheriff's Department Sergeant Robert E. Bionaz, #466 (ret.)"? What do you think?


  1. The two faculty members should demand a meeting with the (retired) "Honorable" Judge Bush.

    Make her actually have to come to campus for her part-time position of 85K.

    They should also report Judge Bush to the OEIG before the meeting.