Friday, May 29, 2009
May 29, 2009
Education in Chicago: Wayne D. Watson is the Wrong Man at the Wrong Time for Chicago State University.
"...What cannot be denied is that Mr. Watson is a skilled self-promoter and a man experienced at political maneuvering. If you don't believe me, just go to his Web site at www.waynedwatson.com for a quick lesson..."
"And how do you plan to fight your own Board of Trustees' determination to water down the milk of college instruction even further? These misguided guardians of mediocrity want to admit high school graduates who score as low as 15 on the ACT.
This is folly. The Trustees are bent on swamping student body and faculty with a flood of half-literates who will make themselves, their literate school mates and the faculty miserable while wasting huge sums of the nation's money and patience..."
Thursday, May 28, 2009
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Verification of Meeting Notice
4. Information Items
a. 2008 Audit Findings
b. Budget Update
c. Review of Contracts
2. Thompson Hospitality
3. Student Health Insurance
4. Boersma Travel Agency
5. Recess into Executive Session Pursuant to The Illinois Open Meetings Act
a. Employment Matters
b. Legal Matters
6. Reconvene into Open Session
7. Other Matters
a. Public and Employee Comments
With some luck video clips should be available by the weekend.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
So that most recent rumor is that all vice presidents and deans are going to be replaced. What would happen if all the deans, chairs and the provost resigned on the first day. Oh, and it would be done in front of television cameras. If this applicant thinks he can manage this university without us then he would be surprised by how difficult running a university is. Of course, not all chairs would support this. There are some who believe they will be looked after by the new regime. Even if 90% of the chairs resigned that would be an enormous statement about who runs this university.
Finally, I have had a couple of days to think about this. I still don’t know what the end game is in this presidential search process. Why choose someone who is so obviously unqualified to be at a doctoral degree granting institution? Who benefits and how? If you have any ideas about what this is about, please let us know on the blog.
I will keep you posted with what is happening in this struggle.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
No, Erma has never been a Provost or Vice President or Fiscal Officer but those qualifications are obviously irrelevant to this board. We can never rule out loyalty to those determined to undermine the university as the key component of her ascension to the interim presidency. It is likely that all those employees that the board chairman doesn’t want around will receive their invitation to employment elsewhere sometime during July. I would imagine that would start with the Public Affairs area since there is no one over there who can write and issue a press release, thus the need to hire a PR firm probably on the State’s dime. Next would likely be the Provost, because we know that Dr. Westbrooks’ disloyalty in reading the resignation statement of the presidential search advisory committee sealed her fate as far the board chairman is concerned. Next is probably the entire Chemistry Department since having a PhD doesn’t mean they can teach. [Not my words] Finally, the Committee for Public Safety will be formally abolished. Those who have dared to resist the calculated destruction of the university will be first to be led away. Until that is they realize tenure does afford some protections and my due process rights being violated just increases the payout the university will make to me for retaliatory discharge. I am sure my colleagues on the Committee for Public Safety will receive similar damage awards. I am, of course, willing to be wrong about this and time will tell.
The plots thicken.
Friday, May 15, 2009
But that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to point out the effect of the media blitz and of the political connections of the trustees and their allies. They have a base on the streets of the South Side that is a threat to our struggle to change the university in a positive way. They are getting out their message that the faculty are having a bad effect on the students and are otherwise not doing their jobs. We ignore the street opinion at our own risk, and I believe the risk is great.
In a comment to an earlier post, I suggested leafletting some of the churches on the South Side, particularly ones where the trustees have a base. I don't know if that is the best proposal or if there is another approach, but I feel we cannot win this struggle unless we reach out off campus to make our case. We don't control the media that folks on the South Side are tuned into (at least this seems to be true). We have to get our message out in some way. What do you think?
The Chitown Daily news has a story on the audit and a story on the BOT approving a contract extension for the student health insurance program. Both stories highlight how incompetence permeates the institution starting with the Board of Trustees. Continue to contact the Governor’s office and keep the pressure on to fill the five vacancies on the Board with trustees that we can trust to make the hard choices without considering themselves and their friend’s interests ahead of the university’s interests.
In the short term, I am also concerned about who will serve as interim Interim president from June 28th until July 31st. Does anyone else smell something fishy here? The board has known that it wanted this applicant for a year and a half so what was the emphasis on July 1st if the applicant isn’t able to start on July 1st? Some thing doesn’t add up here.
I spoke yesterday with a staffer from Speaker Madigan’s office. It is possible that HB 4450 will be called on Tuesday in committee. Citizens may provide testimony at the hearing or submit a written statement to the committee via email. If you are interested in submitting a statement, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Now what we do professionally is being likened to selling 99 cent hamburgers. Faculty are responsible for students leaving the university and faculty will need to be taught how to teach. Ok faculty, are you ready to do whatever is necessary now? Have you been insulted enough yet?
Later today I will post video clips from yesterday's board meeting on this blog. The behavior of the Trustees is very telling. This board must go. They have failed the university repeatedly and now insult our professional committment, competence and integrity. I wanted to send a shout out to Len Etlinger, retired CSU employee who visited us from the City Colleges,at the Tuesday Faculty Meeting. I hadn't seen Len in several years so I was curious until I realized it was just old home week, right???
Continue to contact Governor Quinn and your state representative about the board if you believe they should go. Speaker of the House Michael Madigan introduced HB 4450 last week. This bill, if passed, would fire all members of boards and commissions in the State of Illinois and would the give the Governor the choice to re-appoint them. Tell your Representative to vote yes on HB 4450!
Monday, May 11, 2009
What CSU prof "admitted to encouraging students to be rude." Me? Here is what I wrote about rudeness after the Watson interview: "I was very encouraged today by the participation of students and faculty in the Watson interview. I was particularly happy to see the students take such sharp leadership. One of the most encouraging things was their rudeness to Watson, which, for reasons unknown to me, was much greater than their rudeness to Adams. I am not being facetious; I am completely serious. People in authority tend to make us fearful of asserting ourselves. Part of their control is a deeply ingrained fear of challenging authority. The rudeness is helpful because it takes a step toward overcoming that fear. Of course, it was only for a couple of days, but it give hope for the future." (blog for April 14 "Hooray for students and faculty, particularly students")
I wrote that rudeness is helpful because it is part of a process of overcoming fear of challenging authority; this observation and conviction arise from years of political experience. I believe it is a serious political observation, though many may disagree. What it is not, however, is an admission that I encouraged students to be rude.
In this instance Watson did not speak accurately. Can he think accurately?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Don’t forget the Faculty Meeting on Tuesday at 1230 in the Library Auditorium and the board meeting on Wednesday at 730 AM at the same location. We need a strong faculty show of support.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
And this from Peter Sachs, education reporter from the Chitown Daily News:
"I just wanted to let you know that the Daily News will be hosting a live, online chat at 12 p.m. Friday with George Providence, the editor of the student paper. We'll be talking about the controversy surrounding the shutdown of Tempo, the presidential search process and what the future holds for CSU. The chat is open to everyone to ask questions and submit comments. You'll just need to go to our homepage, chitowndailynews.org, when the chat starts. The chat box will appear at noon-- there's nothing else you need to do to join."
Finally, the Faculty Senate is scheduling an educational forum for Tuesday May 12th, time and place to be announced for all faculty, tenured, tenure track, and adjuncts. We realize this is during finals and there is critical information that faculty need to know. There will be discussion of the presidential search process, the applicant selection process, shared governance and the implications for the faculty at the university.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
In one of my classes yesterday, we were discussing student activism in the 1960s, which, by the way, had been on the syllabus for this day of class since the beginning of the semester – a bit of luck, I guess. We examined a document created by German students at the Free University of Berlin when they conducted the first sit-in at a German university in 1966. Some students viewed our discussion of this document as an academic exercise and did a fine job, but for the ones who have been particularly active in the student protest of the Board of Trustees, our discussion made a connection that went beyond normal study.
Here’s the main statement that resonated with students: “We are fighting not only for the right to study for a longer period of time and to have a greater voice in expressing our opinions. That is only half of it. We are more concerned that decisions affecting students be made democratically and with student participation.”
But the next statement in the document also made a connection to our current struggle: “What is going on right now in Berlin is a conflict, like that in society at large, the main point of which is neither longer periods of study nor increased vacation time. Instead, it is about dismantling oligarchic rule and implementing democratic freedom in all areas of society.” Among other things, we certainly saw oligarchic rule embodied in the actions of the Board of Trustees.
Our discussion of this document was a great teaching moment, and it reminded me of an earlier idea I had when the two “finalists” for the presidential search were announced without participation of the search advisory committee. The idea was to hold a “teach-in” that focused on discussing the way we want to see the university work – we could make it open to the entire university community as well as the general public. There are so many different directions we could take this kind of event, including making it an ongoing series of events. One of the points would be that this kind of event would create an open space for discussion and decision making about where we want to go from here. It’s not a well-formed idea right now, but I’ll toss it out there for further discussion.