Saturday, March 25, 2017

Now the City's Political Class Enters the Fray: We Needn't Worry, They'll Tell Us How to Think and Behave

Those of you who pay attention to such things have undoubtedly noticed that a spirited debate about who should lead Chicago State is now taking place in our local media outlets. This argument is remarkably like one occurring among a group of parents. Once they decide on the best course of action, they will instruct the children what that action will be and how to behave. We have people debating the future, indeed the very existence of this University without talking to the students, staff, or faculty. I suppose we should take comfort in that kind of parental control.

The “no white person should be president of Chicago State” faction is particularly guilty of this kind of paternalism. First of all, this group makes the straw man argument that there will be a white person as president. To the best of my knowledge, no one who actually knows what they are talking about has said that. Here are the proponents of that viewpoint who have commented on the Chicago State leadership situation:

The two articles by Mary Mitchell (textbook examples of propaganda masquerading as journalism) used the Chicago Crusader’s previous story as well as comments from “community activist” Kamm Howard. Secretary of Education Beth Purvis and Paul Vallas provided the opposing viewpoint, although Mitchell gave Vallas no opportunity to comment on Howard’s critical remarks. The Chicago Crusader’s sources included “some officials” at Chicago State, and various anonymous “sources.” The only named source was Board member Nikki Zollar.

Then yesterday, we had a gaggle of “Black Officials” or “Black City Leaders” hold a press conference on campus. This group included Roderick Sawyer, Stanley Moore, Chuy Garcia, Alderman David Moore, Alderman Howard Brookins, and a number of other people whose faces are not familiar to me. Their main argument was that they did not want Paul Vallas at Chicago State.

Since none of these reporters or public officials sought the children’s views, I will provide them.

1) We want Thomas Calhoun reinstated as Chicago State President.
2) We want this institution to function as a state university, not a corrupt political ward. We want an end to the rank cronyism that has created our current crisis situation.
3) In order to achieve point #2, we want Wayne Watson and all his cronies off this campus. That specifically includes Angela Henderson, Patrick Cage, and Renee Mitchell, along with any other lower level persons currently afflicting the university.
4) We have no confidence in Interim President Cecil Lucy. We want him removed from his position.
5) We insist that the University’s finances be subjected to a forensic audit.
6) We will support any effort by the Chicago State University Board of Trustees to bring in a university leader who will make sweeping personnel changes at the top of our administration.
7) In line with our views in point #6, we will support a Board decision to grant temporary executive and personnel authority to Paul Vallas.

Yesterday’s press conference exposed the hypocrisy of some of those “leaders” who were so willing to pontificate about what the Board should do. I don’t remember seeing any of them protesting the outrageous firing of Thomas Calhoun; I don’t remember hearing any of them denounce the various scandals and corrupt practices of the Watson administration. Roderick Sawyer found time on his busy calendar to support Wayne Watson when the Board wanted to fire him in 2013. Now he finds time to again meddle in the affairs of a STATE University when Watson’s interests are newly threatened. Most shameful, those “leaders” tried to stifle dissenting ideas at yesterday’s press conference.

When Dr. Kelly Harris, who has actually worked here for a number of years, had the audacity to ask pointed questions, he was told that (paraphrase) “if you’re not running for office, you should shut up and leave.” When Dr. Harris and Professor Kim Dulaney pointed out that we had the person we wanted in Thomas Calhoun, the response was (paraphrase again) "He's welcome to apply." Really? Are any of you people going to be part of the selection process? Do any of you make operational decisions for this university? Who the hell do you think you are?

Here’s some news for the people who want this University to maintain the status quo, including the people who participated in yesterday's clown show. We don’t need your pedantry. We don’t need your advice or instructions about how we should think or behave. In fact, we’d appreciate it if you kept your ignorance to yourselves. You have not supported this school. Rather, you’ve done material damage to it. You knew or should have known what was going on during the Watson administration and you did nothing. We especially don’t need your condescending bullshit. Take your puffed-up selves somewhere else to hold your “press conferences.”

It’s become clear that if this school is to be saved, the staff and faculty will do the saving. We have a competent, hard-working, and dedicated staff and faculty at Chicago State. All we require is leadership. Here’s the formula: Clear out the administrative garbage. Give us a quality leader. Get the hell out of our way.


  1. The city of Detroit, which is predominantly black can vote for a white mayor is an example that race should not be an issue.

  2. The city of Detroit, which is predominantly black can vote for a white mayor is an example that race should not be an issue.

  3. The insinuation or even the thought that CSU should have only a black president or black president of the BOT is the epitome of playing the race card. Lets not forget CSU is not a black university but a state university supported by state funds and dollars that come from a multi cultured state. CSU administration has always tried to portray CSU as a black university to intimidate the state and use tax payer’s dollars for their own personal agenda and self enrichment. If CSU is to survive, misguided, an ill informed self surviving politicians and others need to get out of the arena and, let the governor’s selection of Paul Vallas who has proven managerial skills and leadership ability save CSU. If Paul Vallas is not given the opportunity, CSU Is domed to failure and more than likely closure. As for Watson, he should be banded from the campus and all input into university business and affairs.

    While on the Watson issue, when is the forensic accounting scheduled? I believe the reason Watson keeps showing up on campus is a “CYA” on his part. We all are accountable for our actions and for sure Watson is no different. Lisa Madigan should launch an investigation into Watson’s activities at CSU. It appears that he misused taxpayers’ dollars for his personal use and gain. An example of Watson maneuvering taxpayers’ dollars for his personal gain was through promotions and raises given to his girlfriend Cheri Sidney which he authorized who is now his wife. You do not have to be a genius figure out the motive for the promotions and raises Cheri Sidney received given Watson and Sidney were married a short time after both left CSU. The taxpayers’ dollars she received are now part of the illegal funds Watson took from CSU and should be investigated by Lisa Madigan.

  4. Total agreement with "deeply concerned" and Dr. Bionaz.

  5. Your loyal readers commend Governor Rauner and believe Paul Vallas will address the forensic audit as soon as he is confirmed head administrator today hopefully.

  6. points 5, 6, and 7 should have been first. where were these people in March 2010 or on April 29, 2016, when all of the staff was being fired. who was here to save their jobs, while firing the lowest paid and retaining the highest paid.

    have you noticed that the students are not always predominantly Black, especially in the graduate programs. in computer science, they are Indian.

  7. THANK YOU for expressing the sentiment of several CSU students who read this blog. I agree there should be a "clean sweep" of administration. When I come to campus, I feel as though I'm attending a funeral not an institution of higher learning. I hope my mourning will be over by the end of today's board meeting.

    1. YES. We agree this failed administration must go.