Saturday, September 10, 2016

The MAC: Protecting the Offices of its Members, Guts Student Services. After All, We Don't Need Students

One of the ploys used by our administrators to pull the wool over our eyes involves them moaning about how they’ve suffered as a result of the layoffs/terminations. For a number of highly-paid department heads, this is arrant nonsense. In fact, the offices run by members of the MAC came out remarkably unscathed by the recent staff excisions, particularly compared to the services important to Chicago State students. As the President said at his recent town hall meeting, a number of the MAC's decisions have been bad. Their motto seems to be: protect us, screw the students. All this information is based on the most current data I have from Human Resources, dated July 15, 2016.


In Spring 2015, a total of 27 faculty and professional advisors served students in all colleges except Pharmacy. This total does not include administrators (Chairs, etc.) who may have also advised students. Added to this total were 3 Undergraduate Certification Counselors in the College of Education, and 5 first-year advisors, for a total of 35 persons.

In Fall 2015, the Provost’s edict that faculty should no longer do advising had reduced undergraduate advising to 9 undergraduate advisors working in the “Advising Center,” plus 3 Certification Counselors, plus 6 first-year advisors, a total of 18.

In Fall 2016, the number of undergraduate advisors had fallen to 4. The “Advising Center” had closed, all advising was now being done in the first-year office in SUB. Even with our decreased enrollment, this represents 400-500 students for each advisor. Since Spring 2015, the number of advisors for the College of Arts and Sciences has been reduced from 19 to 3; for the College of Business, from 2 to none currently assigned; for the College of Health Sciences, from 3 to 1, for the College of Education from 3 advisors and 3 Certification Counselors to 1 advisor and 1 Certification Counselor who formerly did only graduate certification. All 3 of the Undergrad Certification Counselors were laid off in April.


The support staff/administration in the Library dropped from 20 in Spring 2016 to 6 in Fall 2016 (library faculty are not included). Of course, the library closes evenings and on weekends. How do you run a university without a fully functioning library? How does a library running on a standard daytime schedule serve students who work days and take courses at night?

Information Technology

This department has taken a significant hit, but because the persons making the layoff/termination decisions realized they too would need computer services, they suffered less drastic cuts. Overall, Application/Network Support has been reduced from 23 staff in Spring 2016 to 16 in Fall 2016. The Chief Information Officer’s office reduced from 2 to 1 (only the CIO remains). In total, IT has dropped from 25 to 17.

Percentage drops look like this for the respective functions: the university reduced advising personnel by 89 percent, the library staff by 70 percent, and the IT staff by 32 percent. Certainly, students are bearing the brunt of these cuts. The aggregate cuts in these departments come to 66.25 percent (27 remain out of the original complement of 80 persons).


In their infinite wisdom, the members of the MAC decided to cut undergraduate admissions—
which had 9 employees in Spring 2014, then 6 in Spring 2016—down to 3 people, with only one person actually dedicated to undergraduate admissions.

The Operations of the MAC Members

Now for comparison purposes, let’s look at the operations of some administrative offices. In the offices/units of three of the members of the MAC, Human Resources, the Provost, and the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the vast majority of their staff avoided layoff or termination.

Human Resources lost no one from Spring 2016 to Fall 2016. That department had 16 employees in Spring and still has 16 in Fall.

The Provost’s office included 9 employees in Spring 2016, now has 8. The only loss was a $33,000 employee. The two Associate Provosts, the Assistant Provost, the Assistant to the Provost, the Executive Secretary, the Associate to the Provost, and the Academic Contract Specialist remain, along with the Provost of course. This operation has actually seen an increase in its salary expenditures in the past few months, rising from $828,471 to $868,236 yearly.

Finally, the Vice President of Administration and Finance lost 6 persons from a staff of 28, a decrease of 21.4 percent. Altogether, these three administrators lost only 7 out of a staff of 53 (13 percent) in Spring 2016. The losses came from Purchasing (3 persons; one at $91,180, one at $35,136, one at $35,388), the Bursar/Cashier (1 person, the Bursar at $75,000), the Controller (1 person at $93,192), the Budget Office (1 person at $45,348).

Clearly these three administrators protected their own turf while eviscerating the student services necessary to have a viable university. The results are entirely unsurprising. A Fall enrollment of just 3536 as of Thursday, down 1231 from Fall 2015, as well as only 293 newly admitted undergraduates this fall, down from 791 last fall.

All this is what happens when you have unqualified persons making critical decisions, almost all of them demonstrably bad. This is also what happens when you have a Board of Trustees dedicated to furthering the interests of a small group of individuals at the expense of the University’s welfare, or in this case, the University’s survival.

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