Friday, September 23, 2016

How to Hire a President for $812,500: The Chicago State Board Breaks Out the Checkbook

If you haven’t seen the recent article in the Tribune, take a look at it. Thanks to FOIA, the paper got hold of the severance agreement between the board and Dr. Calhoun. Part of the agreement includes a “letter of reference” for Calhoun written by Anthony Young, Here’s an excerpt:

"He was a voice of calm in the midst of tumult," Young wrote. "He endeared himself to the broader university community, inspiring the faculty and students. With great poise, he was able to bring a message of hope, while all indicators were predicting disaster. His understanding of university culture, his enthusiasm for the possibilities of the academy, and his commitment to faculty and student success are hallmarks of his character."

So, this board terminated an apparently stellar university president. Why? The story fails to tell us as do the members of this buffoonish board. Now we come to the bad news; the payout arrangement for the severance. The university will pay $300,000 to Dr. Calhoun by October 1, 2016, another $300,000 on January 3, 2017. Since Dr. Calhoun began his short-lived term as Chicago State President on January 4, 2016, the total compensation/severance paid by to the university to our now non-president comes to $812,500 ($212,500 already paid in salary through September 15, plus the $600,000 buyout to be paid within the next three and one-half months.

Think about that. The school that effectively declared bankruptcy on February 4, 2016, has $600,000 to throw away on a gift to a terminated chief executive. We have no money for students, staff, faculty, infrastructure, or academic support. We have money for this, though. We have cut to the bone admissions, financial aid, building services, academic advising, library operations, and maintenance services. We have money for this, though. We claim poverty and terminate/layoff/demote hundreds of our employees because we have no money to pay them. We have money for this, though. Maybe those ridiculous trustees should have taken the time to walk through the campus buildings (other than the Cook building and New Library). Maybe those trustees should have talked to students, staff, and faculty instead of listening to a small cadre of administrators determined to undermine Dr. Calhoun and seize complete control of this institution. Of course that supposes the fools who sit on the board are interested in the welfare of the school. They have proven time and again they are not, that their primary goal is to protect the positions of persons who have continually made decisions that furthered their interests at the expense of the best interests of the institution.

Now we enter the post-$812,000 president era. Nothing has changed. We continue to operate just as we have for the past six-plus years. The board continues to be tone deaf, patronizing, and downright insulting. The “new” administration (another one) continues its odious practices. It’s business as usual here at Chicago State. While the administrative queue at the public trough continues, the university community suffers. Time for a forensic audit folks.

Here’s the article:


  1. It's cheaper for the University than being sued... again. How many faculty and staff will they have to lay off this time?

  2. It's cheaper for the University than being sued... again. How many faculty and staff will they have to lay off this time?