Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wayne Watson's Plan to Stop the CSU Enrollment Hemorrhage: Hope

Are the meetings of the Chicago State Board of Trustees simply theater? Are they nothing more than a stage for Wayne Watson and his clown show? The December meeting offered more of the same fare we have become accustomed to seeing at these farces. Watson and his administrators served up heaping platters of bullshit for the Board members to happily consume. Inadvertently, however, in an exchange with Chicago State administrators over our persistent enrollment problems, Board Chairman Anthony Young offered a compelling reason to rid the institution of this administrative plague.

Although the administration often paints a rosy picture of our enrollment declines—describing them as “right-sizing” or claiming that increased numbers of “applications” or “admissions” will somehow translate into increased numbers of students—they are clearly concerned. Around one hour into the second segment of the December 12 meeting recording, this exchange begins. First, Latrice Eggleston reports to the board on the administration’s urgent efforts to prevent another enrollment drop:

Eggleston: “We’re really pushing to increase our enrollment. Um, we’re pushing to make sure that our enrollment is, we’re currently for the fall semester at fifty, 5211 students, we’re hoping to reach that enrollment in the spring, or higher. Um, so that is the goal for Enrollment Management and we’re pushing to make sure we can reach those, um, numbers in the spring.

Then at 1:02:35, Anthony Young prefaces a question with a somewhat unflattering assessment of Watson’s performance—if anyone cares about university enrollment that is:

I guess my question is, I know enrollment has gone down every year since I’ve been on this board and I think every year since this administration has been in place (not true, enrollment increased by 127 in Watson’s first year). Do you have an idea of when enrollment will stop declining?

Eggleston: “So there are several factors of why enrollment has continued to decrease that are both external and internal to the university, some of the external factors are based on . . .

Young: “I don’t mean to cut you off now.

Eggleston: “I’m sorry.

Young: “we’ve heard the reasons why enrollment declined, I’m not asking you why it’s gone down.

At 1:03:24, Young asks a fairly important follow-up question:

. . . Can you see a date when enrollment stops declining? And how far away is that?

This time, Cheri Sidney responds with vague and meaningless verbiage:

I would say yes, we do see that day, and I think it’s not just one answer, it’s a dimensional answer.” Because there are processes and efficiencies that we are putting into place now. I there are, we’re enhancing our communication plans, we’re reaching out to students a lot sooner, a lot earlier now, and we’re also doing a collaborative approach to that . . . I strongly believe that our enrollment numbers will start to go up.

At 1:07:06, Young pointedly asks:

Do you expect the spring enrollment for this year to be equal to the spring enrollment from last year?

Sidney responds really in the only way she can, with platitudes and a laundry list of initiatives that may or may not work, after all, she is not clairvoyant:

Sidney: “We are trying, um, we are putting all of our efforts into it. There are factors that we, that we can’t control, but everything that we can control, we are insuring that we have financial resources available as much as much as we can to help our students. So we are using inventive ways to help our students (list of various efforts here) . . . We are looking at everything at our disposal to insure that those numbers are met.

Finally, at 1:15:41, Wayne Watson rides to the rescue, bloviating in his customary tiresome, repetitive and pedantic way. Honestly, anytime he speaks, it reminds me of what William Gibbs McAdoo said about Warren Harding’s speeches: “an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea.” Here’s the transcript:

Our enrollment is going to stabilize. Bottom line to the Chariman’s question, our enrollment is going to stabilize. Enrollment is not a science, as much as people would like to think that it is. It is not a science, if it was, you would see someone going, you know. It is the combination of art, it is the reality of life. It is the reality of life. We expect our enrollment to level out right around five thousand. Whether it is five thousand, two hundred, but right around five thousand. Then we hope, the hope with strategic planning, the hope with strategies in place, and goals and metrics and accountability behind it, for our enrollment to grow incrementally, and, then the question is, if you were to ask me, I don’t want to see our enrollment go beyond a certain point, go beyond two thous . . , six thousand, two hundred; seven thousand, I don’t want to see it. We’re not prepared for that. That is a whole different kind of institution. So, in answer to your question sir, you know, we expect for it to be stabilizing, a period of stabilization, then a grow . . . then a period of incremental growth. That stabilization should be taking place this coming semester, meaning this spring semester.

So there you have it. We “hope” that enrollment can stabilize and Wayne Watson does not want to see it increase very much because “we’re not prepared” for it.

Like everyone else on this campus, I fervently wish that our enrollment decline would stop. I fear for the continued existence of this school if it does not. However, does anyone really believe that this administration is up to the challenge? After all, the major problem with our public image and, I believe, the major problem with our enrollment, is Wayne Watson and his administration. Anthony Young made a concise case for Watson’s firing. I cannot imagine any university president keeping her/his job after presiding over the fifth worst enrollment decline since 2010 among 267 universities nationwide. But here at Chicago State, our Board enables Watson and allows him to continue to damage our school.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

More Illiterate Postings on the Chicago State Web Site

Chicago State boasts arguably the most unsuccessful senior leadership of any U.S. public university. Chicago State also boasts arguably the most inarticulate senior leadership of any U.S. public university. Again, anyone wondering why students might not choose to attend our school need look no further than the consistently embarrassing postings on the CSU web site. The top story this morning contains an egregious English error. Does anyone in this administration know the difference between a possessive and a contraction? Does anyone in this administration know when and when not to use an apostrophe? Apparently not, since this is not the first time this kind of mistake has appeared on the front page of the university's web site. If this school is so careless about its public image, what does that suggest about the efficiency and accuracy of its other components? This stuff just makes us all look stupid.

Just in case you thought the mistake in that post was a typo, here's another one from today:

What an embarrassment for what purports to be an institution of higher learning.

I wrote this on September 12. It still seems apropos:

In my estimation, a university web site should be a polished, professional representation of the school. However, our web site is an embarrassment. No one writes perfect prose but the university web site is not some web blog or casual opinion site. The written material that appears on our web pages should be scrupulously edited. It is not like listening to Watson’s extemporaneous ramblings—always turgid, pedantic and inarticulate. The written stuff must be correct when it finally appears. No viable university site should produce the kind of horrific written material that appears on Chicago State’s web pages. If the articles on the web site look plain dumb, we all look stupid. In the same vein, if the university does not possess sufficient self-respect to ensure that its public pronouncements are as articulate as possible, what conclusion is the reader likely to draw?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tis the season, (the election season that is...)

So in Chicago it is election season, meaning the citizens of our fair city will have the opportunity to re-elect the current mayor or elect a new mayor. The offices of City Clerk and Treasurer are also up as well as the 50 aldermanic seats. As a political scientist I am always interested in campaigns and elections. This cycle is no different. One television ad making the rounds includes an appearance by the Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. Thanks to her re-invention efforts, also reported on the PBS Newshour, the graduation rates and completion rates have doubled since she took over in 2010. At a paltry 7% when she started, the City Colleges graduation rate is now over 15%. Hmmm, I wondered to my self. How did the graduation rate get so low in the first place??? Who was in charge at the City Colleges whilst academic success plummeted to such an appalling level? Why of course, it was Wayne Watson. So if I understand this right, a massive re-invention effort was necessary to correct a failing system that he oversaw for 10 years. I would hope that the CSU Board of Trustees would take note and understand that a massive re-invention/recovery/rehabilitation effort will be needed once the university is finally rid of him. Some believe this institution is irreparably damaged. I believe we are quickly closing in on a point of no repair but aren’t there quite yet. For those interested in a future for CSU and figuring out how to fix the systemic deficiencies, start keeping a list of what is broken and how might it be fixed. Putting this out in the public domain might actually help in the repair efforts. At the very least no one gets to say they didn't know it was this bad. I would imagine that with a failure this great, all options will be on the table.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Willie Preston Fights and Wins Against Angela Henderson: Another Judge Finds Chicago State's Abusive Legal Machinations Contemptuous

When someone runs afoul of Watson or one of his pets, the administration finds ways to retaliate. Even something as run-of-the-mill as a philosophical disagreement can subject the person daring to express an independent interpretation to the full weight of the Watson revenge machine. The administration particularly likes to pick on the powerless. Their goal seems nothing less than the complete destruction of the person who had the audacity to disagree with Watson or one of his minions.

The Willie Preston situation offers a textbook example of the kind of retaliation against its critics that this administration practices. In 2013 and 2014, Angela Henderson and the CSU administration took several actions against this CSU student: through the Office of Student Affairs, the administration intervened in a student election to void Preston’s election as Student Trustee on the CSU Board; subsequent to the election, Angela Henderson filed a groundless complaint against Preston that resulted in a “no stalking order of protection.” This complaint stemmed from Preston’s verbal disagreement with positions expressed at a meeting on campus. Ultimately, the administration used the order of protection as a pretext to expel Preston from the university and to brand him an “American terrorist.” The CSU police arrested Preston twice on campus, once for an alleged trespass and another time for appearing at a public meeting to express his point of view. Even though Henderson was not in attendance at that meeting, other administrators summoned the police who arrested Preston for violating the order of protection—in full view of dozens of persons.

In Preston’s case, Chicago State’s abuse of power caused financial hardship: Preston had to retain attorneys to defend him against the spurious charges filed by Henderson and the administration. In addition, the nature of the charges caused Preston to suffer public defamation of his character. The administration apparently used its political connections to ensure that a judge would issue a “no-stalking” order, and Preston’s first attorney—someone acquainted with persons in the CSU administration—offered him legal advice that would benefit the CSU administration, not his client.

Despite his economic hardships and the inability to marshal the political influence wielded by the administration, Preston persevered. He found an attorney willing to contest the order of protection and on Friday, December 19, a circuit court judge in Markham voided the ridiculous “no stalking order.” During the brief hearing, the representative of the Attorney General’s office assigned to the case admitted that no grounds ever existed for the issuance of the original order. Unfortunately, the Assistant Attorney General’s rapid capitulation prevented the judge from asking questions that would expose the scope of the wrong committed against Preston. Nonetheless, the judge’s ruling represented a complete repudiation of Henderson’s complaint. Just as an aside, how much did the state spend on this bogus prosecution? I guess the staff in the Attorney General’s Office have nothing better to do.

Of course, Willie Preston’s travails are hardly over. He still must deal with the pending criminal charges and he still desires to be re-admitted to Chicago State. However, since the basis for much of the action against him is now null and void, must not those subsequent actions also be null and void? I will let the lawyers argue that. In any case, congratulations to Willie Preston for standing up to the administration’s thuggish attempt to destroy him and for exposing their perfidy and abuse of power. Interesting that whenever the CSU administration steps outside the area of its political reach how repugnant its actions seem to arbiters and observers (see James Crowley for example). The closer you get to these people, the worse they look.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Chicago State Board Screws the Students and Drives Another Nail Into Chicago State's Coffin: That Dynamic Fund-Raiser Wayne Watson Gets to Form His Own Foundation

If you had an investment that continued to lose money, would you pour more money into it? If you had an employee who had proven her or his utter incompetence, would you give her/him increasing power and responsibility? Well that is what our feckless Board of Trustees did Friday. They took steps to sever the university’s relationship with the Chicago State Foundation and charged Wayne Watson with forming another organization to raise funds for the university, an endeavor at which he has been a spectacular failure.

Of course, spectacular failure is Wayne Watson’s stock-in-trade, his metier if you will. He is a Ph.D. with no scholarly contributions to any field, no significant teaching experience and no previous university experience before someone handed him this job. As he did at City Colleges, his performance here has been a debacle. City Colleges shed at least 27,000 students during his reign of error, Chicago State has lost over 2100. Of course, his higher education “leadership” history is marked by factious relationships with faculty, multiple scandals, costly lawsuits and excuses for everything. When he was interviewing for his current position in 2009, a number of observers called him a “political hack.” Since he has kept his job by dint of his political connections (certainly not by even competent performance or any scholarly achievements), it seems difficult to argue with that 2009 assessment. Nonetheless, our Board handed him even more responsibility Friday, one of the worst in a long line of terrible decisions made by that group.

What is the real reason for this unfathomable move? In my estimation, it is all about Katey Assem and the independent nature of the Chicago State Foundation. Watson could not fire Assem, he could not control the foundation and he certainly could not control that organization’s Board of Directors. So, he had to convince a complicit Board to dissolve the contract between the university and the foundation. In truth, the problems with Chicago State’s fund-raising potential are mainly attributable to Wayne Watson. Nonetheless, the Board addressed an issue that needed “reform” far less than does the leadership of this school. Again, shame on this Board for doing Watson’s bidding and for failing in their basic responsibilities to the staff and students of Chicago State and to the taxpayers of Illinois.

Here is the transcript of the Board resolution from the most recent Board of Trustees meeting. Most important, the Board voted to sever the university’s relationship with the Chicago State Foundation. Wayne Watson’s recent self-serving and cynical bullshit memorandum claimed the Board decided to take that action “after a thorough review and assessment.” All done in secret, of course. Clearly, this Board decision came at Wayne Watson’s insistence. In fact, the Board’s attorney took great pains to say twice that the resolution was a “referral” from the “legal (or law) department.”

The reading of the resolution begins at 5:46 of segment two of the meeting recording. The transcript:

Attorney: “Upon the referral from the legal department, ah, there is a resolution to be considered by the board, um, which, um, states as follows: be it resolved that the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University, do you want me to read the entire resolution Mr. Chairman?

Anthonyh Young: “Yes, please.

Attorney: “I’ll read the entire resolution.

Resolution to invoke the 90 day notice of termination provision contained in the University’s contract with the Chicago State University Foundation.

Whereas, the current economic climate has forced the university to assume a significantly larger portion of its operating expenses, including student financial aid and, wheras give the reduction in state and federal financial aid, the university needs to provide additional support options to students, and;
Whereas, the economic climate has likewise forced the university to reexamine all of its contractual relationships, and;
Whereas, the examination has forced the university to conclude that it must restructure and realign a portion of its fund-raising system, and;
Whereas, the university is thankful and appreciative of the Foundation’s efforts over the years in support of its mission to provide student scholarship and various other forms of kind.. various other forms of financial support and whereas fiscal realities demand that the university receive an even more robust return in its investment dollar and;
Whereas, the university has begun the process of establishing a new foundation and is exploring the development of a new foundation which will be more closely aligned with the needs of the university.

Now therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University does hereby direct that a 90 day notice to terminate its contract with the Chicago State University Foundation Board, effective June 30, 2015, be issued immediately. That the University President be directed to take immediate steps to establish a new foundation board with a 501(3) status immediately. That is the motion upon the referral from the law department.

I am sure that Wayne Watson will find some crony to reward with a high-paying job as the head of his “new” foundation. As usual, the losers will be the staff and students of Chicago State, Watson will walk away from this job with a cushy pension, leaving behind a university in shambles (if it exists at all). You really cannot make this stuff up.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thoughts of Cicero and Cataline

So our year end Board of Trustees meeting on Friday was not without incident. No, there were no arrests of students for wearing baseball caps. And no, there were no accusations of rigged searches or plagiarism. I did learn a few things though.
I learned that at most colleges, the nursing program drives enrollment and that the reason that enrollment is down at CSU is the need for improvement in academic program quality. After 23 years in higher education I was shocked to find out that a program that admits only 40 students is the driver for enrollment for a university of 5,000 students. Who knew? And after the successful accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission I found out that we have problems with academic program quality and those problems are leading to the unabated decline in our enrollment. The bump bump sound you heard was the faculty once again being thrown under the bus by this failed regime.  I learned that there was a successful town hall meeting. As a political scientist, I am always fascinated by political events like town hall meetings and in my professional career have never seen an unsuccessful town hall meeting. What would that look like? No one shows up? Fist fights break out? Why report on something that could have been communicated via email. Those who will loose their jobs in the upcoming weeks are probably no more comforted by that reality because of a town hall meeting.
I also learned that the CSU Foundation was responsible for the poor fund raising efforts seen since the failed Watson administration bumbled and stumbled onto campus. Yes, loyal readers, the CSU Foundation which was chartered in 1967 and incorporated in 1968, has apparently failed in raising money for the university and the BOT has decided to serve a 90 day notice that the contract with the Foundation is to end. There is a line in one of the Matrix movies that says, “everything that has a beginning has an end.” Unfortunately the wrong contract was terminated. This community was told in 2009 that hiring the current president would bring largesse to the university because of his many political connections. Obviously that was a lie as evidenced by the paucity of contributions and dollars attributable to this president. His fund raising has been an epic failure, an embarrassment to presidents around the country and most certainly an embarrassment to this university. Now the Board of Trustees has seen fit to place the blame of this epic failure on the CSU Foundation instead of where it belongs, firmly on the shoulders of this failed president. As I stated to the then board members in 2009 when they made the horrible decision to hire a president with no publications, no scholarship and no university experience, the results of that decision would be theirs alone. So joining the president in his abject failure (substantially documented on this blog and in the publications of record) is the Board of Trustees. This decision is likely going to make the 2014 Top Ten Worst Board Decisions list to be published at the end of the month in this venue. Not only will the formation of a new fund raising body take time, what happens in the interim while this new mega fund raising machine gets built? The reality is that our students, who are typically in the bottom quartile in median household income will be put at risk. But fear not loyal readers, for in the words of the intrepid associate vice president for enrollment decline, hope will save the day. Yes, you did read that correctly. When asked by the BOT Chairman will enrollment be below 5,000 in the spring, her response was “we hope not.” Hope was the guiding element for the future of the university. I didn’t see hope as a core principle or goal in the much touted strategic plan, though I did hear meaningless jargon spewed by an obviously incompetent administrator. This of course, sets up those who have demonstrably failed the university to blame those who weren’t hopeful enough for the condition of a university that probably should be shut down before it is burned to the ground by the inept and feckless management. The common thread running through these statements is the absolute absence of accountability so frequently demonstrated. It is always someone else’s fault for the condition of the university. Never once has this president stood up and said he was responsible. He is obviously incapable of such a basic act of leadership which is why the university hasn’t been led in nearly six years. No fund raising, blame the foundation. Enrollment decline, blame the faculty. Triple digit audit findings, blame the previous administrations. A spiraling negative institutional reputation, blame the unfair media.
Have you no shame, no shred of dignity, no scintilla of respect? Haven’t you done enough damage to this university, this student body, this faculty, this staff? Haven’t your incompetent cronies slopped at the public trough long enough? The Crowley case alone will likely cost $4 million dollars. Didn’t you learn anything for the Moore case? Obviously not.
I am reminded of Cicero’s Oration against Cataline that I learned in third year Latin in high school. Its opening translated to English begins “How long, at last Catiline, will you abuse our patience? And for how long will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will your unbridled audacity hurl itself? Do not the nightly fires of the Palatine alarm you? ”Two thousand years later these words could just as easily apply to the conspiracy of incompetence foisted upon the university by board members long gone and continued by board members still in place.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Watson Follies Play Again at the Board of Trustees Meeting: It is Time to Blame the Foundation and Faculty for Wayne Watson's Multiple Failures

I have to admit that my earlier post on the penury of Chicago State’s Board and President contained some arithmetical errors. Spencer Leak’s contributions must be reduced from $525 to $225, bringing the aggregate of individual contributions from all the Board members and the President to $18,395 in six years, with the contributions of Board members totaling $14,995, an average of $2499.17/year.

I understand that at yesterday’s Board meeting, the Board mindlessly approved a measure charging Wayne Watson with forming a 501c(3) organization to handle fund-raising for the university. The “contract” with the existing CSU Foundation will apparently be terminated within 90 days. Why? Because Wayne Watson blames the Foundation for failing to raise money for the university. In addition, I understand that Wayne Watson told the Board that Chicago State’s enrollment decline is because of: a) increased academic rigor, or b) problems with academic programs. He apparently did not elaborate on these seemingly contradictory explanations.

As I noted in my post on the contributions to Chicago State by Board members and the President since 2008, I am pleased to say that I have acquired some earlier CSU President’s Reports that enable me to compare the financial commitment demonstrated by our current group of leaders with the previous president and board members. While exact figures are not given in the President’s Reports, a minimum and maximum range for contributions provides an opportunity to gauge the extent of financial support given the institution by specific individuals. Here is the comparison:

For the available years (1998 through 2003 and 2005-06), Elnora Daniel contributed a minimum of $16,000 to Chicago State with individual Board members contributing at least an additional minimum $36,850. The maximum possible contribution from Daniel comes to $32,493, with the maximum contribution from Board members being $55,982. On a yearly basis, the former President of CSU and former CSU Board members contributed an average ranging from $8808 to $14,745.83 per year.

In addition to individual contributions from current Board members, corporations and organizations they head have contributed $36,700 since 2008. In contrast, corporations and organizations associated with former Board members contributed a minimum of $160,000 from 1998-2003 and 2006. These contributions bring the aggregate of current Board members and the President’s contrbutions to $55,095 compared with a mimimum of $215,982 contributed by Watson and the gang’s predecessors. Even though exact figures are not available, it seems reasonable to conclude that in the six years with extant records, that the Board and University President contributed at least $250,000 to the school.

Of course, Wayne Watson needs the money, after all, he’s only made (between salary and double-dipping pension) somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million since coming to Chicago State. Who could expect him to contribute any more than the $3400 he has so generously donated to the school he leads. In contrast, he’s contributed $3095 to politicians during the time he’s been at CSU. Obviously, those contributions have had some effect.

Wayne Watson specializes in blaming other persons for his failures. Plunging enrollment? It’s the faculty’s fault. No fund-raising? Blame the Foundation. The reality is that Watson has so sullied Chicago State’s reputation that it may not be salvageable (see the City Colleges “reinvention” initiative to get an idea what an educational system must do after Watson’s “reforms” have damaged it). The reality of fund-raising is that Watson simply cannot raise money. Can you imagine any reputable donor contributing to the school after listening to Watson’s sales pitch? Can you imagine any reputable donor even speaking with Watson after checking out the school’s reputation and his performance?

Thanks again to our Board of Trustees. They do not support the school financially, they enable this waste of taxpayer money to continue as President. They enable this President to destroy the school and they will do anything Watson wants them to do. Anthony Young, Michael Curtin, Nikki Zollar, Spencer Leak, Horace Smith and James Joyce are about as far from an independent Board of Trustees as it is possible to be. Shame on them for abrogating their responsibility to the taxpayers of the state and to the staff and students of Chicago State University.

Finally, I also understand that Watson's girl friend, when asked specific questions about Chicago State's enrollment responded that the administration "hoped" enrollment would not drop below 5,000 in the Spring and "hoped" that the enrollment decline would be halted soon. That is quite a strategy for dealing with this university's most pressing problem.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The University Without Students: Will Chicago State Drop Below 5,000?

By now, it seems apparent that for Chicago State, the political considerations of keeping this administration in power trump all other factors. No scandal is sufficient to move anyone in the state to action, save to ensure that the Watson disaster continues. As the Fall semester comes to a conclusion, we are again looking ahead to the Spring. What will our enrollment be? Here are the administration’s goals for Chicago State’s spring enrollment. I think they reflect several things: no one can tell the truth to the president; these goals are not rooted in any historical reality or trend data and reflect a tenuous grip on reality; our upper-level administrators simply do not know what they are doing.

You might recall that for Fall 2014, the administration created “metrics” that set the goal of a 3 percent increase in enrollment from Fall 2013 (5701 to 5872). The administration based this “metric” on nothing, since there is no record of any administration headed by Wayne Watson ever achieving such an enrollment increase and since there was apparently no actual data suggesting that such an increase was possible. Of course, we know how that all worked out—enrollment declined 8.6 percent to 5211.

Undaunted by past failures, the administration has outdone itself in its goals for Spring 2015. It has decided that we should be able to reach 5597 students, an increase of 7.4 percent over Fall 2014 and a 5.7 percent increase over Spring 2014. Imagine working for a group of people who insist on setting goals that are capricious and ultimately grounded in nothing. Our administrators can simply decide that in spite of data demonstrating that spring enrollments decline, we can increase our enrollment by a figure unparallelled in the history of Wayne Watson’s “leadership.” My sympathy goes out to the poor persons who have to develop the ridiculous scenarios to meet those stupid goals.

Here is the trend data for the past three years (all figures for spring are unofficial, they come from Provost Council minutes):

Fall 2011 enrollment: 6882. Spring 2012 enrollment: 6262, a decrease of 9 percent.
Fall 2012 enrollment: 6107. Spring 2013 enrollment: 5769, a decrease of 5.5 percent.
Fall 2013 enrollment 5701. Spring 2014 enrollment: 5297, a decrease of 7.1 percent.

Therefore, with our Fall 2014 enrollment standing at 5211, a more reasonable projection would be a Spring enrollment around 4850 (a 7 percent decline).

The administration’s figures demonstrate how fanciful these “goals” are. First, of the 5211 students enrolled for Fall 2014, 365 have apparently applied for graduation and another 164 have withdrawn from the university, decreasing the total to 4682. In addition, nearly 500 current students have bursar holds, a percentage will not be returning for Spring. Finally, there is no way at this point to determine the number of students who will be dropped for poor scholarship at the conclusion of the Fall semester. Thus, we only have 4682 students available to return in the Spring of 100 percent of our current students return. What do you think the likelihood of that is?

So, if all our current students return for the next semester, we only have to attract 915 new students to Chicago State to reach the administration’s 5597 figure. In reality, we will probably need closer to 1200 (assuming that at least 300 students will leave school for various reasons). As of December 8, we had admitted 86 new students and our total enrollment stood at 212 fewer than the same date a year ago, a decrease of 9 percent. Although I am no math whiz, it seems likely that we will experience a decline in student enrollment rather than the heady increase sought by our administrators.

So what is our administration’s strategy for addressing this problem? I understand that at the recent propaganda rally held by the administration that our naked emperor said that if everyone at Chicago State brought in one student, our enrollment would be fine. Really, that is the administration’s best solution? There are several persons responsible for dealing with enrollment issues making hefty salaries and they come up with that?

Recently, Cheri Sidney told Chicago State’s hopeless Board of Trustees that the administration was still “right-sizing” the university. The administration’s inept and hapless efforts to devise strategies to combat our enrollment decline belie that assertion. No one will tell Wayne Watson that he is the problem, that his administration has taken the school to the precipice. No one in the state will step in and save the school from this group. Frankly, this seems to be the result desired by a range of persons with the ability to correct the situation. Thus, we go through this bizarre dance every semester so that Watson can be placated and continue to play president and reward his friends and cronies with lucre.

Recent events have demonstrated the power of the political forces supporting this president and his administration. No one outside the judicial system seems willing to hold Wayne Watson and his cronies accountable for their behavior. However, the most important resource Chicago State possesses—our students—are obviously weighing in on the issue. They are leaving this school in droves. I think our enrollment will decline to below 5000 next semester. Ultimately, of course, no one really cares. What do you think?