Friday, November 18, 2016

Sorry Mr Lucy, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Considering the silence emanating across campus this fall and the feeling among various constituencies that no one knows what is going on, or what the administration is doing,  Mr Cecil Lucy, current occupant of the president's office at CSU, issued a notice for a meeting on Thursday with the faculty and chairs (mandated for them apparently) of the College of Arts and Sciences. After the interminable litany of his pedigree and the trajectory of his life that finally brought him to CSU, Mr Lucy said he wanted to hear our concerns and answer our questions. An agenda page was handed out at the beginning of the meeting with two items: "Introductions" and "Answers and Questions" (curious Orwellian phraseology).  He then employed the words that are part of every CSU administrator's vocabulary in times of difficulty for which they do not want to accept responsibility, or be accountable for something that they did that failed, he said, we needed "to move forward..."

The first question by a long-time faculty member, however, was not in the spirit of "moving forward," but it did reflect the bald reality of the problem CSU has had this past year in trying "to move forward." "I asked this question of Dr. Calhoun last year, so I will ask it of you, how do you improve the university with so many holdovers of the Watson administration? And now, ALL of the upper administration is Watson's?"

In spite of his professed appreciation for academia, Mr Lucy remains a corporate guy and the corporate mentality -vs- the academic was on display yesterday. He said he did not like being "labelled" as a Watson holdover and, I think he said that because most of the faculty in the auditorium were here when Watson was president, we are all Watson holdovers. What? The logic of this eludes me, but if anyone or Mr Lucy himself, cares to explain that please set me right. He cannot be as simplistic as to believe that by being on campus during the Watson years tars you with the same status as a Watson administrator making policy and ALL the decisions with limited or no shared governance. Clearly Mr Lucy does not understand what happened under his first boss here. He might also like to consider two truths one of them coming from his own corporate culture: in order to change the culture of an institution you have to cut off its head (meaning get rid of the past leadership and higher up administration); the other, from Albert Einstein, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Heck, there is even biblical disparagement about putting "old wine into new skins..."

Nevertheless, it is clear that the CSU faculty craves leadership and is just being given old wine.

From the Watson regime that bears responsibility for having made us more vulnerable to the external assault from the state, and continues in power; to the firing of CSU tenured and tenure-track faculty this past July; to the termination of former president Dr Thomas Calhoun in September organized by a cabal of Watsonians and pliable Board members; "moving forward," is a pretty tall request. We were ready to move forward last January. We need new leadership from a new Board, from new upper administration all across the Cook Building. The Watson cabal needs to go.

So, if Mr. Lucy really did want to hear my concerns and give answers before I asked questions, here are a few that I did not have time to voice at the meeting.

1. What was your role in the firing of Dr. Calhoun? Don't stand behind your cv timeline of your date of hire. We know who was in the cabal meeting off campus or in parked cars and how the Management team was voting three to one against Calhoun. You were part of that team Mr Lucy.

2. Will we be rehiring the faculty whom you and Angela Henderson fired in July?

3. How many more times will the administration ask us to "share" our concerns and continue to ignore them? What, is the point of further discussion?
Mr Lucy you have met with the Faculty Senate President and the UPI President. They have discussed very clearly faculty concerns with you. And the faculty have stated their concerns pretty clearly through several votes of no confidence in the former president and his actions, and votes of no confidence in the current provost. Please, before asking us again for our concerns, reread these documents. They are not based on flimsy or capricious reasons. They contain bills of particulars relating to the incompetence that has dragged this university down over the past few years.

The provost whom you defended on Thursday as an advocate for the faculty has not been held accountable for her first job on campus, given to her by her friend and mentor Wayne Watson, for which she was barely qualified. Angela Henderson headed enrollment management and enrollment declined year after year. Yet, her friend and mentor Wayne Watson promoted her to provost. She has the limited respect of perhaps some faculty and I am being generous here. What she submitted as a dissertation would not have passed an undergrad plagiarism standard. That UIC was pressured to "fix" this problem does not negate that fact. Please do not insult us further with defenses of a woman who had no qualms about throwing CSU student critics of Watson into the criminal justice system. Ask her what that means, if you don't already know.

Mr Lucy, whatever inside deal you got to become president of CSU and help in the ouster of Dr. Calhoun, you have a lot of nerve expecting us to line up now like good corporate soldiers and forget everything that has transpired in the past. We are trying our best to do what we can in the spheres in which we work. We are holding our noses and working with the administration that got us an HLC visit because of their failure to understand the implications of financial exigency status. But don't expect confidence from us just because you ask for it.

Simply put, Mr Lucy, you are a holdover from Wayne Watson. Unfortunately, you walk and quack like a lame duck.


  1. He became interim on September 16 and Dr. Michael Ellison was out the door on September 19.

    Did anyone believe their lame assurance that enrollment will stabilize Fall 2017?

    "When you wish upon a star..."

    1. Actually, Watson assured the board that enrollment would stabilize in Spring 2015.

  2. From the July 11 letter from the HLC to CSU: "While the HLC evaluation team expressed strong confidence in the leadership of the University’s new President, there has been high turnover in recent years, and many key staff members are relatively new including the Chief Financial Officer (who is interim) and members of the Enrollment Management Staff, thereby heightening the urgency for high levels of engagement, transparency and planning"

  3. Hopefully an Internal audit is coming soon. The state should bring everyone who has stolen from the tax payers of Illinois to justice. May it be swift and may it involve plenty of jail time!