Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Chicago State Administration: Pigs at the Trough

As you may recall from a recent post, Wayne Watson blamed Chicago State’s organized workers for the university’s cost of doing business, which in effect blamed us for the school’s fiscal problems. Over the past few years, I have made a number of reports on the budget situation at Chicago State and the spending priorities of the Watson administration. In contrast to our budget information, which is a closely held secret, Western Illinois University actually posts its annual budget on its web site, making it available to anyone in the public who might like to examine the document. Using this budget as a point of comparison further underscores Watson’s profligate spending when it comes to university administrators. Perhaps someday someone in the state will actually notice how much money goes down Chicago State’s administrative rat hole, but I doubt it. Anyway, for you readers not already numbed by my frequent use of statistics, here is what the comparison reveals.

In fall 2014, Western Illinois enrolled 11458 students compared to Chicago State’s 5211. Western’s budget listed a total of 1942 ($109.1 million total salaries) positions with the following breakdown: 368 administrators, 803 faculty, and 771 civil service. Total salary appropriations were: $25.5 million for administrators, $51.9 million for faculty, and $31.6 million for civil service. As a percentage of total personnel, administrators constituted 18.9 percent, faculty 41.3 percent, civil service 39.7 percent. In terms of percentage of salary appropriated, administrators constituted 23.4 percent, faculty 47.6 percent, civil service 29 percent. Of the 368 total administrators at Western Illinois, 161 (43.75 percent) held positions at the rank of Assistant Dean or higher. The titles of these posititions break down thus: 1 President, 3 Provost (1 Provost, 2 Associate Provosts), 9 Vice Presidents (4 Vice Presidents, 2 Associate Vice Presidents, 3 Assistant Vice Presidents), 136 Directors (68 Directors, 16 Associate Directors, 52 Assistant Directors), 12 Deans (4 Deans, 8 Associate Deans). As a percentage of Western Illinois’ total employee population, persons holding positions higher than Assistant Dean constitute 8.3 percent of the total workforce.

Chicago State’s budget combined with its most recent organizational chart listed a total of 967 positions ($57.3 million in total salaries). I have incorporated some minor changes from the university’s organizational chart in an attempt to bring Chicago State’s information up to date. The total number of administrators differs from the budget appropriation by only two positions. These positions breakdown as follows: 266 administrators, 316 faculty, and 385 civil service. Total salary appropriations are: $19.4 million for administrators, $20.4 million for faculty, $17.5 million for civil service. Percentages of total personnel look like this: 27.5 percent administrators, 32.7 percent faculty, 39.8 percent civil service.. Salary percentages of total appropriations are: 33.8 percent for administrators, 35.6 percent for faculty, 30.6 percent for civil service. Of Chicago State’s 266 total administrators, 107 (40.2 percent) hold positions at Assistant Dean or above. Our breakdown is: 1 President, 3 Provosts (1 Provost, 1 Associate Provost, 1 Assistant Provost), 12 Vice Presidents (4 Vice Presidents, 6 Associate Vice Presidents, 1 Assistant Vice President), 77 Directors (54 Directors, 7 Associate Directors, 16 Assistant Directors), 15 Deans (8 Deans, 4 Associate Deans, 3 Assistant Deans). As a percentage of our total employee population, 11 percent of our employees hold positions at the rank of Assistant Dean or higher.

The comparison between the two institutions follows. A percentage higher than 45.5 percent indicates a larger proportion at Chicago State, a percentage smaller than 45.5 percent indicates a smaller proportion at Chicago State:

Enrollment: Chicago State has 45.5 percent of Western Illinois’ student population.
Total Salaries: Chicago State has 52.5 percent of Western Illinois’ total salaries.
Number of Administrators: Chicago State has 72.2 percent of Western Illinois’ administrators.
Administrative Salaries: Chicago State has 75.8 percent of Western Illinois’ administrative salaries.
Upper-level administrators: Chicago State has 66.4 percent of Western Illinois’ upper administrators.
Number of Faculty: Chicago State has 39.3 percent of Western Illinois’ faculty.
Faculty Salaries: Chicago State has 39.3 percent of Western Illinois’ faculty salaries.
Number of civil service employees: Chicago State has 49.9 percent of Western Illinois’ civil service employees
Civil Service Salaries: Chicago State has 55.4 percent of Western Illinois’ civil service salaries.

Finally, Chicago State’s percentage of upper-level administrators in the total employee population is 32.5 percent higher than Western Illinois’. I interpret these figures to mean that Western Illinois’ spending priorities are its academic programs, while Chicago State’s are its administrative salaries. This is a concrete example of two institutions allocating funds in entirely different ways. Perhaps the reason we are now purportedly struggling is the bloated, turgid administrative presence on this campus.

Here’s a photo of several of our top-level administrators at a recent meeting:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Dear blog readers,

This is mostly a confession of my failure to live by my own beliefs but also an invitation for you to join me in a celebration.

I retired from teaching at Chicago State last June after 29 years as an adjunct and then unit A faculty member. During that time I tried to serve the university and students in many ways, as a teacher, as a philosopher and writer, and as an organizer of colloquia and seminars (I initiated the Arts and Sciences Forum in 1987 and coordinated it for eight years), but mostly as a principled communist teacher/activist. I felt these contributions deserved recognition from the university through the award of the status Professor Emeritus (an honorary title which, at most schools, is routinely awarded to retiring faculty). So I submitted a portfolio requesting that status. Having that title would be helpful to me in the future as I continue to write and publish.

During the summer and fall, thousands protested the racist shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It occurred to me to write a post for the blog comparing the racist killing of Michael Brown with the well-documented (on this blog) abuse of students such as Willie Preston and Jokari Miller and faculty such as Phillip Beverly by the Watson administration: black students and faculty were being singled out for special attack. Watson did not attack white faculty or students in the same way. I was planning to entitle the post “Two Faces of American Racism” comparing the racist killing of a young black man by a white cop to the racist attacks on black students and faculty at Chicago State. Many recognize the racism of Michael Brown’s killing: a young black man is killed by a white cop. But the racist abuse of black people in segregated all-black or mostly black environments by black cops, black jail guards, black judges, and black university administrators is both more common and more insidious: it is harder to oppose this racism. Why? Most people won’t call it racism, even though it is. They think anti-black racism has to come from someone who is not black.

I never wrote and published that post. Why not? I made excuses that I had moved on and it was up to the people still at CSU to fight Watson’s racism. But the real reason is that I did not want to mess up my chances of getting Professor Emeritus.

Then I read Bob’s post including the press release from Willie and Brittany’s attorney Rima Kapitan (April 3rd “Wayne Watson Unscripted: Press Release from Willie Preston's Attorney”). The post and press release summarized some of the content of a discussion between Jokari Miller and Wayne Watson: Watson “belittles Miller’s activism and academic record.” In response to Miller’s criticism of Watson’s attack on Preston, Watson says, “Stop trying to save every damn little puppy that falls off the curb. Puppies are important. We need to save them. But get yourself in the position where you can own the curb…. I’m building curbs.” He acknowledges that Preston’s expulsion from Chicago State had nothing to do with the [false] charges of harassment by Angela Henderson. He admits Preston was expelled for criticizing the administration. He justifies his racist actions against Preston by saying he was “trying to save a damn university” (actually tending to destroy it).

When I read this I realized that my failure to post about two faces of U.S. racism was wrong. Did I really want recognition from such a person, someone who would expel a black student because he criticized the administration and then brag about it? Why did I want recognition from such a racist? My silence was wrong. I apologize to all for not writing that post back in September.

I have tried to live a principled life as a communist. Obviously I have not completely succeeded. I believe there are others who have remained silent because of fear of what Watson might do to them or, like me, in hope that by remaining silent they could receive a reward or benefit of some sort from Watson. If so, I encourage you to think about this: what sort of person do you wish to be? Someone who goes along with evil and racist injustice to get some crumb of a reward? Or someone who stands for anti-racist principle?

I made the wrong choice. In writing this post, I am trying to correct it. I do not want the status of Professor Emeritus if it is conferred on me by Wayne Watson. That vile racist can keep it.

Some of you may know that my wife Mary and I are moving to California. We are also nearing the 50th anniversary of our marriage. There is a party to celebrate our anniversary and to say farewell to our many friends and colleagues who have given meaning to our time in Chicago. I would like all of you to join Mary and me on May 17th at 4 pm at Memorial Park in Blue Island in the Pavilion at the south end of the park on Highland Avenue at the corner of Walnut (the north end is 127th Street) to celebrate and say farewell. Email me at so that I can send you the Evite invitation.


Monday, April 27, 2015

The Rigged Presidential Search. Do You Want Angela Henderson as Chicago State's Next President? An Open Letter to the Chicago State Community

Do You Want Angela Henderson to be Chicago State’s Next President?

This morning I sent e-mails to Chicago State's unit A and unit B full-time faculty (to those persons for whom I have addresses). Since I do not have an e-mail list that includes other members of the Chicago State community, I want to give you a chance to weigh in on this issue by sending me a simple e-mail. If you are so inclined, please read the following and respond. Thank you in advance for expressing your opinion on this topic.

Bob Bionaz

As most of you are aware, the CSU Board of Trustees is currently engaged in the search for a new president. Without going into great detail, I believe the outcome of this search is already determined and will yield Angela Henderson as Wayne Watson’s successor. In my estimation, this result would signal “business as usual” at our school, with attendant consequences.

What kind of president does Chicago State deserve? Here is a snapshot of the qualifications of the leaders of six other Illinois universities: Governors State, Northeastern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Illinois State and UI-Springfield.

Education: five of the six other chancellors/presidents have PhD’s, one has an EdD. The most recent terminal degree earned by these persons came in 1990.

University Teaching: five of the six other chancellors/presidents have ten-plus years of university teaching experience, those same five attained the rank of full professor.

University Administrative Experience: All six university leaders have between 11 and 30-plus years of university administrative experience, most of it at the rank of Dean or higher. The president with no apparent university teaching experience has spent 31 years in university administration, all at the Assistant Vice President level or higher.

None of this suggests that these people are necessarily “good” leaders, simply that the majority are senior scholars who achieved professional success at a university prior to becoming university administrators.

Compare these qualifications with Angela Henderson’s.

Education: PhD granted by UIC in 2013.

University Teaching: none, four years of teaching experience at Olive-Harvey College. Based on her education, she might be qualified for an Assistant Professor’s position at Chicago State.

University Administrative Experience: four years as Vice President of Enrollment Management then Provost. Prior to 2011, one and one-half years as a Dean at Olive-Harvey then eight years of administrative experience at the City Colleges District Office.

Is that good enough for us? Is that all we are entitled to?

I do not believe that Angela Henderson is someone who is even remotely qualified to be president of any post-secondary institution. I am asking you to let me know if you agree. Please take the time to to respond to a simple comment by sending an e-mail to This is it:

I WANT ANGELA HENDERSON TO BE CHICAGO STATE’S NEXT PRESIDENT. A simple one word e-mail reply (yes or no) will be sufficient.

Please take a moment to do this. As always, I promise strict confidentiality. In the beginning, I plan to tally these results and present them to members of the search committee. I do not know if we can stop Henderson’s selection but I think the future of our school depends on making the effort.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why Should Watson Know Anything About Chicago State?: The Prez and his Gang Dazzle the Higher Education Appropriations Committee

On Thursday, April 16, the Watson administrative circus descended on the Higher Education Appropriations Committee in Springfield. It seems reasonable for any university president appearing before a legislative committee to have a solid command of university facts at her/his disposal. However, our president and his Provost embarrassed themselves with a number of misrepresentations, distortions and outright bullshit. Not that it will make any difference to anyone on the committee, it seems apparent that neither anyone on our Board of Trustees nor in the state legislature is likely to step in to save this university. It appears that the tactic of choice is to simply let Chicago State bleed out, which it will undoubtedly do under this nightmare administration.

Here are some of the choicest bits from the committee hearing. Accompanying Watson to Springfield were Angela Henderson, Larry Pinkleton, Farah Muscadin, tender Tom Wogan, and Arrileen (Ari) Patawaran. Watson apparently is not too good with names. He referred to Farah Muscadin as “Sarah,” and introduced Patawaran as “Ari Petalari.” After arguing for the state to adequately fund Chicago State, he started right off by saying “graduation rate for our first-time, full-time Freshman, and that needs to be . . . we need to be clear that that is a small percentage of our students, it might represent 25, 30 percent of our student base of any class.” Shortly after Watson spouted that piece of nonsense, Representative Batinick asked “Do you have any thoughts on why the cost of doing business for you is high?” If Watson wanted to answer honestly he could have responded that his bloated administration sucks money from the educational mission of the university to line the pockets of a bunch of incompetent cronies. Instead, he blamed the various unions on campus, saying “ninety-one (91) percent of our state appropriation goes towards personnel costs, ninety-one percent. And two-thirds of those individuals are in bargaining agreements, sir, two-thirds of those individuals. At the end of the day you have to, you know, if we have cuts, or at the end of the day when you’re looking at the cost of education, you have to look at the personnel. And two-thirds of our employees are within bargaining agreements.”

Shortly after establishing that the organized employees on campus are the reason for Chicago State’s alleged financial difficulties, Watson treated the committee to a history lesson. Reminiscent of “Peabody’s Improbable History” on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, Watson’s rendering of the history of education went like this: “And Chicago State is a PBI . . . Only difference between a PBI and a HBCU (historically black college) is that HBCUs were established for the express purpose of educating the children of former slaves, OK . . . and it had to be created before 1896 I think it was. Chicago [State] was created in 1867 and even though it had a predominantly African American base, it was not created for the express purpose of educating the children of former slaves.”

Later in the hearing, Representative Pritchard pressed the Chicago State aggregation about raising money in alternative ways—private philanthropy in particular. Angela Henderson sallied forth with this gem: “Yes, I will speak to it from the academic side. Recently, in the last year, we’ve actually provided a lot of training to our deans in each of our colleges and they will have thirty percent of their responsibilities will include outreach and fund-raising and partnerships in the community. So that has not traditionally happened, they will have metrics. And so, they are out there raising funds for students.”

Still later, this interesting exchange occurred:

Pritchard: “And your total student population today?”

Muscadin: “Currently it’s 4818.”

Pritchard: “4818?”

Henderson: “No, that’s undergraduate.”

Muscadin: “No, that’s our current student population. . . Our current student population for spring 2015 is 4818 students.”

Toward the end of the hearing, Representative Burke also asked about Chicago State’s plunging enrollment. As part of her response, Henderson touted the university’s “increase” in Hispanic students which she claimed was “seventeen (17) percent.”

Reviewing the performance of our administrators we discover that the president does not know what percentage of our students are first-time, full-time Freshmen, although he knows that our purported financial crisis results from our organized employees. Watson has no compunction about making ignorant assertions based on an embarrassing ignorance of history. Although Henderson announced to the legislators that our Deans will spend “30 percent” of their time (based on metrics, of course) fund-raising, she was somewhat fuzzy about our actual enrollment figures.

Subjecting some of our administrator’s claims to fact-checking reveals the following: Our full-time Freshmen (if the figures quoted by Henderson can be believed) constitute 5.9 percent of the university’s fall 2014 enrollment figure. Monique Davis corrected Watson’s historical misstatements by reminding him that when she graduated from Chicago State in 1967, “it was not a majority African American college, it was a few African American students that attended the college.” Anyone even semi-knowledgeable about African American history knows that African American populations in almost all northern cities were miniscule until the 1910s. In Illinois, the total African American population of 28,762 in 1870 and the total African American Cook County population of 3848 represented 1.1 percent of both state and county totals. Only an ignorant blowhard would pontificate about that topic in the way Watson instructed the legislators.

As to Henderson's comments about our Hispanic student population, here is the truth: In fall 2011, 471 Hispanic students enrolled at Chicago State. This spring the count stands at 350. I really do not know from what point Henderson measures the "17 percent" increase, but it appears that the current level of Hispanic enrollment is actually only 74.3 percent of the 2011 level. Only at Chicago State would a 25.7 percent decrease be magically transformed into a 17 percent increase.

As far as Watson’s response to the question about Chicago State’s high cost of operations, here are some figures to consider. Based on the most recently available salary numbers, full-time administrative employees at Chicago State cost the university about 36.9 percent of salary expenditures for all full-time employees. Administrators constitute about 30 percent of the school’s full-time workers. In contrast, about 34.3 percent of Chicago State’s salary expenditures go to full-time faculty (units A and B). Total salaries for administrators exceed the total salaries for full-time faculty by about $1.5 million ($21.3 million to $19.8 million). If Watson wants to find money to cut from Chicago State’s budget, he need look no further than his cadre of overpaid, inept, crony administrators. Of course, he neglected to mention this to the committee.

Once again, Watson and his acolytes have publicly embarrassed the university with their lack of knowledge. Could it have been otherwise? Hardly.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

You Know You're At CSU When...

So you know you’re at CSU when... has become an interesting exercise for me recently. I've discovered some examples to fill in and invite you loyal readers to participate in my "So you know you're at CSU when..." challenge.
You know you’re at CSU when the highest credentialed person in a division is a receptionist. Yes, loyal readers, you read that right. To wit, the Division of Enrollment Management, that cancerous growth strangling the life out of the university. Dr. Avis Muhammad, who has several years of university teaching experience, and executive administrative experience had through the ineptness of the current regime been relegated to answering queries from various and sundry at the division’s front desk. How in the world could this happen you say. How could someone with a terminal degree and university teaching experience only ascend to an entry level job? How could someone with nearly two decades of experience at the institution not be in charge of the division responsible for providing the life blood of the university, the students? How indeed! Well we need look no further than looking at who is in charge of the division at the moment. That would be none other than Cheri Sidney. Yes, loyal readers that is the same Cheri Sidney who lied on the job application for the job that was created for her by her paramour, Wayne Watson. The same Cheri Sidney who has during her time at the university made no discernible contribution to the university’s future. This is the same Cheri Sidney who now appears to be changing career paths from Enrollment Management to compliance. Compliance you say. I do. I do. If you notice her signature block you will see CCEP. That isn’t an acronym from the old Soviet Union. It actually stands for Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional. I must admit to being taken aback by the irony of someone caught falsifying a job application being certified as a CCEP. But let us continue. This certification is not new to the university. We have had three former employees who were all CCEPs. The former Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management began her employ as a Compliance Officer in Enrollment Management. Her replacement, since left, was also a CCEP and the former Director of Compliance for the university was a CCEP. This got me thinking about how one could become a CCEP, so I visited the website of the organization that certifies these professionals, the Compliance Certification Board, to see what the criteria are for certification. You can visit and see the criteria here.
The first of the five steps to gaining certification is to acquire work experience. According to the CCB for an
     “Active Compliance Professional means:
     * You have at least one year in a full-time compliance position.
     * At least 50 percent of your job duties are directly related to compliance and ethics.
     * Your duties are directly related to those in the “Detailed Content Outline."
     Active Compliance Professionals include, but are not limited to, compliance and ethics officers.”

This is very curious because that would mean that since she became the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management she would have had to do compliance for one year with at least fifty percent of her duties being directly related to compliance and ethics. I am dubious that either of these criteria were met. And if they were that came at the expense of managing a division that had grown out of control with an unprecedented enrollment decline. Given her already proven propensity to lie, it seems unlikely that Step One was accomplished with the intention of the CCB.


Step Two is interesting as well. Many professions require CEUs to maintain certification. CCB requires “20 CCB approved continuing education units” in order to sit for the examination. It appears Sidney did in fact complete this requirement by attending a “Basic Compliance & Ethics Academy” in Vancouver British Columbia in July 2014. If you look at the Travel Authorization shown below you will see it is dated July 1, 2014 with approval by both the Interim Provost and President on July 3rd. My understanding of university policy is that out of country travel requires a thirty day approval and the math on this authorization indicates only 18 days. For someone going to a compliance training, I would suggest starting with the application process to ensure compliance with your own request. Fortunately this conference satisfied the CEU requirement and conceivably prepared Sidney to take the CCEP exam. 

Step 3 of the certification process “Apply to Take the CCEP Exam” comes only after a candidacy status. I would imagine this would be the one year period of experience outlined in Step 1. If, in fact, Sidney had been operating in a compliance capacity for a one year period, who was overseeing enrollment management? Could this provide a partial explanation for the epic failure of that division since the arrival of her superior in 2009? While she was out spending $4,500 to travel to Vancouver to attend training not related to enrollment or admissions, the university continued to bleed students. It does not appear that someone with the ethical lapses that Sidney has demonstrated would be suited for functioning in a compliance or ethics position. And for state monies to be spent on this endeavor is questionable.
Step 4 of the process is to “Schedule Your Certified Compliance & Ethics Pro Exam” This is straightforward. Testing is available locally at several city and suburban locations.
Finally, at Step 5, an applicant takes and ostensibly passes the 115 question exam in the two hour time period allowed and is awarded the CCEP designation. There seems to be quite a bit of time that needs to be invested in this process. There is content that needs to be studied and an exam to be taken. It is curious that the time invested in this endeavor was not used to improve the appalling performance of the enrollment management division. That state monies were used was also curious especially for out of country travel. Faculty have been repeatedly told there is no money for travel and yet I guess there is if you have some relationship with the president.
The upside of all of this is that hopefully, with having attended the Basic Compliance and Ethics Academy, Sidney won’t lie on any other employment documents or engage in unethical behavior, like creating a hostile work environment for employees who have earned credentials higher than hers.
Loyal readers, feel free to submit your favorite “You know you’re at CSU when...” anecdote. It’s those stories of the current regime that make this university epic in its failure.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Making Our Most Vulnerable People Pay for the Administration's Mismanagement

Another bit of information from the 2016 ISL forms indicates the number of persons laid off prior to December 15, 2014. Combined with the number of persons recently laid off reveals that Chicago State has apparently eliminated at least 16 jobs in the past year. While these numbers may not be exact, to the best of my knowledge here is the tally: 6 Chief Clerks, eliminating the position; 1 Administrative Clerk, eliminating the position; 5 Security Officers, eliminating the position; 1 Office Support Associate, 1 Human Resources Representative, 1 Information Technology Support Associate, 1 Accountant III. The salary savings realized by taking jobs away from these people proves to be around $535,000, which will just about cover the salaries of the four new crony administrators the university is in the process of hiring. These include: 1) the newly-upgraded (from a Dean) Associate (or Assistant) Vice President of Student Affairs. The crony candidate here and the person who will most likely land the job is Farah Muscadin. 2) The Chief of Police, an obvious crony hire who will most likely be chosen by Wayne Watson’s crony Ronnie Watson. 3) The newly created Director of Alumni Affairs, another likely crony in the Wayne Watson Foundation which will replace the existing CSU Foundation. 4) A new crony employee to be selected as the Vice President of Enrollment Management.

A few days ago, the Deans and Chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences gathered in an “emergency” meeting to rubber-stamp the proposals of Angela Henderson and Academic Affairs for fall course cuts. Below is the memorandum that emerged from that meeting. It could hardly include any ideas worse than the ones enumerated in the document. The first recommendation deals with Freshman Seminar courses. Since those courses had to go through the curriculum approval process, it seems doubtful that the administration can just arbitrarily eliminate them. We will see. The second recommendation is impractical and bumps up against the CSU-UPI contract. One question that comes immediately to mind is this: if the administration plans to “combine multiple sections” will they be combining sections with the same meeting days and times? Given our administration’s demonstrated inability to make the course cuts anything less than a bloodbath, I wonder. The next three proposals are asinine. Since the administration eliminated in recent semesters so many courses that students needed to graduate, it seems highly problematic to use that as a criterion for course cuts; cutting the number of independent studies will further adversely affect students whose courses are being cut, extending their time to graduation and costing them additional money to attend CSU; eliminating the special session seems particularly unwise, particularly since the administration originally offered it as a way to increase enrollment and it provides a safety valve for some students whose courses get cut for the regular semester.

Interesting is that all of the Provost’s recommendations “were agreed” to by the group. Did no one speak against any of these moronic proposals? Proudly, the memorandum acknowledges that the “efforts” of this group includes the elimination of “over 15 adjuncts and at least one full-time temporary position.” Again, the most vulnerable people in the school are paying the price for the administrative mismanagement of the university. Frankly, the “ominous financial situation facing the university” is in no small part a function of the Wayne Watson’s (and cronies) maladministration of this school. Of course, the voices notably absent from this discussion are the students and faculty. These proposals do nothing except make graduation more difficult and attending Chicago State less attractive. Congratulations to everyone associated with this disgrace. We can add these 16 victims to the other 16 real, live people (just in the past year) who have already had their lives negatively affected by the Watson administration. How many administrators will these salary savings enable Watson to hire? Frankly, these policies should be disastrous for Chicago State’s enrollment. 4,000 anyone?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Former Colleague Asks: At What Cost "Li'l Wayne's War"?

So Li’l Wayne Is at War

In the name of war, Wayne has vanquished enemies, raised friends to highly-paid positions, and bullied students. He has financed his war by stealing state and federal money through financial gyrations that speak to his sophisticated understanding of corruption and its uses.

Given the absolute disregard for policies and procedures, critical to the smooth running of the university on the part of Wayne and his sidekick Miss Angie, and given the similar disregard for state and federal regulations concerning financial aid and grant funding, the university is circling the drain. Enrollment is drastically down, Crowley’s lawsuit must be paid, Glenn Meek’s lawsuit is in the pipeline as is LaShonda Peebles’. These promise to be expensive.

All in the name of Li’l Wayne’s war.

What puzzles me is what he thinks winning looks like? When Wayne slithers off campus after his retirement, what will be left behind? Will it be a university that is a vibrant center of higher education for Chicago’s Black population? Will it be a university doing cutting-edge research such as that done by the HIV/AIDs Center? Will there be a group of highly-placed, satisfied graduates who give willingly and often to their Alma Mater? Nope. Sorry—none of that is possible.

What will be left are the smoking remains of a university that has graduated thousands of students who have gone on to happy and productive lives. Rather than serving as a symbol of opportunity to Chicago’s school children, the university will be a lifeless shell: decaying classrooms empty of students, demoralized faculty whose work goes unfunded because the IRB* or the grants office has violated federal regulations, lawsuits that may bankrupt the university all together, and students whose dreams have been deferred by the destructive actions of Wayne Watson and his crew.

This is achingly sad to watch. So many professionals at the university who have worked long and hard, decades, to lift the university up now have to watch it being torn down.

So, just who is Wayne at war with? The university? His own disastrous incompetence? Or the students whom he purports to serve? All three? And what is the cost of “winning”?

Robin Benny

* Miss Angie should know something about the role of the IRB, since her “dissertation” alleges that she did “research” using human subjects. But then she was completely unfamiliar with common citation practices, so who knows what she absorbed about the IRB role in her “work.”

Wayne Watson's Fiscal Stewardship: Spend Like a Sailor in a Brothel

I am pleased to inform my esteemed colleague that I have a paper copy of this year's ISL report which I acquired only yesterday. This report has been posted on the university's web site for the past several years (the 2012 through 2015 versions are currently there). Given the revelations in this year's report, I can understand why Chicago State's administration would want to keep it secret. For information, the ISL Forms are submitted by the university to the Illinois State Legislature and include a wide range of material, much of it in response to questions from the legislature. This year's version is 239 pages.

In an earlier post, I reminded our readers that the Watson presidency at Chicago State, just like the Watson Chancellorship at City Colleges, existed mainly to award jobs and contracts to friends and cronies. The 2016 ISL Forms (the official title) graphically demonstrate this as it enables an observer to understand where Chicago State spends taxpayer dollars. It also permits an analysis of the damage being done to Chicago State by Wayne Watson, supported by a Board of Trustees that steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the disaster unfolding before their eyes. Here are some highlights:

In 2013, Chicago State spent $531,000 on various contracts for numerous vendors. The two largest categories of expenses were legal at $112,000 and catering at $88,000. In 2014, the university's administrators increased contract spending to a grand total of $3.3 million, $2.3 million in expenditures to vendors and another $967,000 in various accounting adjustments. The 2014 figure of $2.3 million is 433 percent of spending in 2013, while the total expenditure of $3.3 million weighs in at a 621 percent increase over 2013 spending levels. In 2014, the two largest expenditures were again for contract legal services and catering. Contract legal services in 2014 mushroomed to $787,000 from the 2013 figure (an increase over 700 percent) and catering rose to $251,000, nearly triple the 2013 expenditure of $88,000. I guess we had a lot of parties last year.

Some of the most lucrative contracts went to firms engaged by Watson to either defend him or to try to dig up evidence to falsely accuse his critics. Pugh, Jones and Johnson who defended Watson in the Jim Crowley case cost the university $103,000; Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan, the firm who wrote the ridiculous January 2014 letter accusing the blog of trademark infringement got $92,000, John S. Kendall, the attorney who filed the trademark applications three days after the university tried to shut down the blog for trademark infringement of trademarks they did not actually possess, received $52,500; and Laner Muchin, retained to conduct an "investigation" of false charges designed to silence one of Watson's enemies, cost the university $26,500. Obviously, Wayne Watson's various misdeeds are costing the university dearly. In fact, the contract expenses of $787,000 nearly equal City Colleges' expenditure of $835,000 for the same period. Of course, while Chicago State's attorney costs are 94 percent of City Colleges' our little school has about 5 percent of the community college system's enrollment. The total budget appropriation for labor and legal the past two years comes to $606,000. Obviously, last year's expenditures exceeded that total. This year promises to be even more expensive.

Other huge increases occurred in the generic category of "consulting" which more than tripled to $126,000 from $41,000 in 2013, and a category called "Instructional Services," which did not appear in the 2013 ISL, but for which the university spent $225,000 in 2014. Finally, our old friends the Hollins Group got $70,700 from Chicago State for their exhaustive Provost search on the third floor of the Cook building.

Here are the total contract expenses from the 2015 and 2016 ISL Forms.

This year's edition of the ISL Forms has a great deal more interesting information that I will detail in subsequent posts. As far as our contract expenditures, it looks like the Watson administration is spending like a drunken sailor (this should not in any way be taken as disparaging sailors), not too concerned about the future fiscal well-being of the university. In fact, this kind of explosive increase in spending supports an interpretation that looting the coffers of the university may actually be afoot here. All the while, our Board members, members of the Illinois State Legislature, and the Governor himself, sit back and do nothing.

Who Knew This Could Be So Complicated

So where oh where are the FY16 ISL Forms??? Given that for the past few years they have been posted on the CSU website, it's curious they are missing this year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chicago State's Institutional Review Board: Another University Organization Whose Composition Will be Determined by Wayne Watson

I am publishing this at the request of a colleague who wishes to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation from Watson and his minions. There are a number of troubling points made in this letter: 1) it highlights Wayne Watson's propensity for vindictiveness--apparent in the university's retaliation against Dr. Thomas Lyons and its inexplicable decision to close the HIV/AIDS Research Center; 2) it also underscores Wayne Watson's desire to micro-manage the academic side of the university, an undertaking for which he is completely unqualified; 3) it demonstrates his need to subordinate the welfare of the university to his thirst for revenge; 4) finally, the letter implies that Watson's unwarranted interference in what should be a committee composed of persons with some expertise in academic research seems a predictable outcome of the kind of passivity Chicago State's faculty have demonstrated toward Wayne Watson's frequently disastrous incursions into the university's academic affairs.

On March 12, 2015 CSU’s Institutional Review Board meet to attend to its business of “protect[ing] the rights and welfare of research subjects, through review of research involving human subjects at Chicago State University .” At this meeting Dr. Tom Lyons, IRB Chairperson, announced that he would be resigning from the university and, thus, the IRB needed to elect a new chairperson. After deliberation by IRB members we decided that Dr. McFarland would serve as interim chairperson. He has a long tenure on the committee and is only one of two faculty members on the board with tenure. Given the sensitive nature of the position we thought it best to have a tenured professor serve as chair. Subsequently, Dr. Lyons sent a memo to Dr. Watson and Dr. Henderson informing them of the IRB’s decision. Dr. McFarland began immediately to serve as interim chair of the IRB including approving several research protocols. On March 24, 2015 Dr. Watson sent a letter to Dr. Lyons in which he ignores the wishes of the IRB and chooses an untenured faculty member. Dr. Watson’s choice for IRB chair began to act as chair upon notice by Watson. The IRB met again on April 9, 2015 to review research proposals. In this meeting the IRB discussed Dr. Watson’s decision and raised concerns regarding it. We chose to elect to remove Dr. McFarland as IRB interim chair and elected Dr. Marshall to serve as chair as per Dr. Watson’s order. We also agreed to write a letter outlining our concerns about Dr. Watson’s decision given that the IRB is a committee that often deals with highly sensitive matters and our decisions about what is best for the committee and the university should be followed. The letter would be ‘non-confrontational’ and would seek to advise Dr. Watson and Provost Henderson about the sensitive matter. After two faculty members gave presentations regarding their IRB proposals we voted to approve the proposals. We were forced to adjourn the meeting without completing our work when Dr. McFarland left the meeting. Federal regulations require that at least one voting member of the IRB be male and one voting member female. With Dr. Lyons’ resignation and Dr. McFarland’s absence the IRB could not legally conduct business. Dr. McFarland has since formally resigned and been replaced by Dr. Bernard Rowan. Dr. Rowan is not a faculty member and has no scientific research background. He currently works in Provost Henderson’s office.
I write this hoping that you will publish this on the blog to let others know about this incident. I want to relay some of the concerns that I have regarding these events. First, Dr. Watson has shown very little regard for the faculty. Tom Lyons left the university because he felt unsafe as Dr. Watson had ‘punished’ him for his support of a former student. Dr. Watson and Provost Henderson shuttered the HIV/AIDS Institute that Dr. Lyons administered and bumped Lyons back to faculty ranks. This act cost Tom a great deal in salary and shut down an important program for the black community. In addition, with Dr. McFarland’s research experience and many years on the IRB I am at a loss for why Dr. Watson would want to reject the committee’s recommendation. Dr. McFarland has also supported transformation at Chicago State. Further, Dr. Watson displayed his attitude toward the faculty by putting faculty research in jeopardy and once again flouting shared governance. Faculty members are selected by the IRB to serve on the board because they have the research experience necessary to evaluate potential harm to research subjects and promote research and assist faculty members in their research. IRB expertise was ignored potentially placing the IRB, the university and individual faculty members in harm. Additionally, Dr. Watson has put an untenured faculty member in a very difficult position. Dr. Watson appointed Dr. Marshall without a single conversation taking place (she found out about her appointment when she received the Dr. Watson’s letter). As an untenured faculty member in this environment it is very difficult to say ‘no’ to such a request. It seems as if Dr. Marshall has little choice but to comply with Dr. Watson’s command. The IRB chair is a position that requires a great deal of time and, on occasion, one has to make difficult decisions regarding colleagues’ research. Our colleagues have had their research terminated by the IRB and others have not been allowed to go through with their research. Such decisions could place an untenured IRB chair in the very vulnerable position of making a negative determination on a research protocol by a colleague who may have to sign off on retention or tenure decisions.
While I personally have these concerns regarding Dr. Watson’s decision, there are likely many other issues raised by this.

Thank you for considering publishing this information for others to see,

Concerned Faculty Member

Here's a look at the composition of the committee. You'll note that Bernard Rowan, the Assistant Provost for Curriculum and Assessment is not listed by his official title. Instead, the web site lists Rowan as a faculty member in the Criminal Justice, Philosophy and Political Science Department. Rowan is an administrator, indicating otherwise is simply another in a long line of lies peddled by this administration.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Ethical Fading" from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and FYI it is National Plagiarism Education Week! (not that it matters at CSU)

In case you missed the rehashing of U of I's great admissions scandal of several years ago the Chronicle of Higher Ed published another article about it on April 17th  by Peter Schmidt  Scrutiny and analysis of U of I surely takes the heat off of CSU, doesn't it?  The most recent article about the "admissions scandal" adds an explanation of the "Illinois way" of politics and its application in a university setting: the concept of ETHICAL FADING. What an apt description for how institutions, our institution, for example, ignore all that "ethical training" we are mandated by the state of ILL  to take every November. This is "ethical fading:"

A senior administrator," Mr. Harris says, "does not wake up in the morning and say, Today I am going to do something that lands me on the front page of the Chicago Tribune for the wrong reasons." Instead, he says, what comes into play is a phenomenon known as "ethical fading," in which the culture or structure of an organization causes those within it to lose sight of ethical considerations.

...Often, he says, misconduct "originates, evolves, and sustains itself" as a result of a confluence of factors: common psychological tendencies, such as self-deception; environmental pressures, such as financial concerns; and structures within organizations, such as the enrollment-management systems that many colleges have put in place to coordinate their admissions decisions.

Dr Halpin's previous two posts detailing CSU Administrators' circumvention of IBHE are part of a greater pattern at CSU where accountability to state taxpayers and ethical considerations have been consistently "faded" by the Watson regime, the CSU Board of Trustees, former Governor Quinn and a host of affiliated politicians.

See if the paragraphs below from the article describing U of I could not apply to CSU as well. I was particularly struck by the phrases:  "Administrators and trustees 'sanitized their involvement'" and "Trustees rarely discussed the process among themselves, adopting "a hear no evil, see no evil" perspective."

...Administrators and trustees "sanitized their involvement" by employing positive, euphemistic language. Using such language "enhanced self-perceptions of morality," the paper says.

Senior administrators even said the special admissions process helped protect undergraduate admissions decisions from outside interference by providing a place for university officials and administrators to route inquiries about applicants rather than dealing with those inquiries themselves. In reality, the routing of such inquiries through the chancellor’s office aided such outside interference by keeping the people who had passed the inquiries along from having a full understanding of how the process worked and knowing the full ramifications of their actions. Trustees rarely discussed the process among themselves, adopting "a hear no evil, see no evil" perspective, the paper says.

And speaking of "ethical fading," before I forget, Happy Plagiarism Education Week 2015 (April 20-24) sponsored by Turnitin and the Chronicle of Higher Ed. I'm sure the Academic Affairs division is sponsoring many plagiarism awareness events for this.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

If Going Through Proper Channels Doesn’t Work, Open Up the Floodgates, Part Two: The Administration Wonders How They Can Cover This Up.

This is the second post from Dr. Janet Halpin. This series of communications reveals her frustration with a university administration that seems more intent on avoiding blame for its obvious failure to follow appropriate steps for deletion/addition of programs than on addressing the serious issues Dr. Halpin raises. A number of conclusions may be drawn from on her two posts: 1) "General Studies" is a different program than the Board of Governors degree program; 2) the Board of Governors program should never have been eliminated; 3) the General Studies program should never have been implemented as a "Reasonable Modification of an Existing Program"; 4)rather than deceive the IBHE, the Board of Governors program should have gone through the Program Elimination process and the university should have submitted a new program (General Studies) request for IBHE approval; 5) the provost of the university is responsible for and fully aware (or should be) of the problem and its potential programmatic and financial aid ramifications; 6) despite Dr. Halpin's well-founded concerns, the university appears ready to cover this up. Here is Dr. Halpin's second post on the topic:

If going through proper channels doesn’t work, open up the floodgates, Part Two

In my previous post I shared my initial report of the General Studies program admissions. Dr. H and I discussed the matter immediately after spring break and agreed that our Dean had to be informed. The information was sent that day, March 23, because it was important that he not be blind-sided by this. Then there were several phone calls and emails requesting an opportunity to discuss the findings. The Dean requested time to discuss it with the Provost, so I started including Provost Henderson on all reports and emails, in order that she would know what the concerns were.

Next, my email to my dean, of April 13, 2015:

On March 23, 2015, Dr. H and I apprised you of two extremely serious issues related to the General Studies Program:

1. Large numbers of students had apparently been admitted and were taking classes at the University without meeting the admissions requirements for the program.

2. The Provost and Enrollment Management were attempting to change the catalog without going through the channels the curriculum review process, in violation of principles of shared governance and the established practice of the university. It was also in violation of the circumstances in which the program was permitted to move to the College of Arts and Sciences.

On April 2 2015 I provided more information about the transition of the BOG-GSP program, and referenced the files, documents and minutes that you had received from me when your new team started in the CAS Dean's Office. You called me that afternoon to earnestly request that I wait until you had a chance to discuss this with Provost Henderson. I sent a copy of the information to Provost Henderson, in case she was unsure of the nature and details of the issue you wished to discuss.

I heard from the grapevine that a meeting was indeed scheduled for Friday, April 10, and from a different grapevine that the meeting may actually have occurred. No one has contacted me to provide any clarification, to indicate that there is no problem after all, that my information is faulty, that existing admissions requirements are not being waived/ignored.

Can you please update me on this. Registration for summer and fall is now only days away.

The dean phoned on April 15 to share the results of the meeting. I prefer to put things in writing because my memory is imperfect, so I sent a confirmation of the conversation:

Dear Dean:
We spoke about an hour ago and you briefed me on the results of a meeting you had to discuss the admission of dozens of General Studies against existing admissions regulations, and the attempt by Enrollment Management and the Provost to change the admissions regulations without going through the proper procedures.

You said that the following had been agreed:

1. Going forward, no new students will be admitted into the program unless they are in compliance with existing admissions regulations.

2. There will be a meeting of Dr. H (General Studies), the Registrar, Office of Admissions, and [CAS]Dean to ensure that there is a mechanism in place to track compliance.

3. Students currently in the program will be moved to other majors. I asked which majors they are qualified to enter: mainly University College?

Also, you indicated the Provost/Chief Academic Officer of this university was apparently unaware of the process [of shared governance? of changing programs and admissions standards?] and did not intentionally side-step the regulations for changing admissions requirements of the university.

Can you let me know, please, if I misheard any of this?

There was a quick response that [finally] raised concern about where I was going with this and would we be drawn into a quagmire. I’m sorry to say that my alarm, concern, and frustration had finally been replaced by exasperation, and my next email was less measured than perhaps it should have been:

April 15, 2015: “This is already a quagmire, and has been for quite a while.

Last summer when the University admitted students who had not met the requirements for admissions it was a a quagmire. When a second cohort was admitted for the spring 2015 semester the quagmire got deeper. Do any of these students get financial aid? One of the questions I asked earlier but no one has answered yet is: should students who were admitted erroneously without meeting the admissions standards be entitled to financial aid? That's the quagmire getting nasty, I think. We probably should pay that money back.

When there is a document dated December 2014 about changing the admissions requirements, and dozens have already been admitted under non-existent, non-approved admissions standards, it is already a quagmire.

When there is a document from several months later saying that the important thing is to change the catalog and not to have a signature from the Chief Academic Officer from the university, it is already a quagmire.

Maybe it goes back further than that. The former BOG program was problematic, but it had a valuable mission and vision to provide a service to people of this community. Rather than clear out problematic issues and leadership and appoint a team to help resolve some of the challenges, someone stamped their feet and said ‘Off with its head’. So a program that very many universities have and which can play a valuable role in education and employment preparation, disappeared. Oh wait, it wasn't eliminated. It went around through the back door behind the backs of IBHE and re-emerged as the General Studies program. That was one reason for the delay in launching it: no students could be admitted while the BOG major existed, because there was no [separate] CIP code. There's another clue that we already had a quagmire.

When the General Studies program was shoe-horned into the College of Arts and Sciences, the 24-credit hour rule was the FIREWALL that protected the college, because this was still meant to be a non-traditional program. The 24-credit-hours was the standard at which students in the former BOG could apply to the university-proper, after they had demonstrated the capacity and skills necessary to succeed.

In our first real conversation about this, about two weeks ago now, you asked how to fix this. I said we were way past just fixing it. We cannot just talk about 'moving forward'. An injustice was done to the University and to the College of Arts and Sciences. Regulations were trampled. It's time to 'fess up.’

Over the past SIX weeks Dr. H and I have been concerned about moving toward resolution and accountability for what is happening in General Studies. After ensuring that my Dean and the Provost knew precisely what the issue was, I finally sent my concerns to Faculty Senate. I was advised that while that was a correct next step, it would go nowhere. Due to the broken relationship between Faculty Senate, Academic Affairs, and the Board of Trustees, it would be better to report the findings to the Department of Education. I did send an exploratory email to two officials to enquire what route I should take, but have not heard back from them either.

On the morning of Thursday, April 16, I learned from Dr. H that a newly admitted General Studies student with zero higher education credits had called to set up an appointment. There is another detail attached to this particular case that compounds the seriousness of what the University is continuing to do, but let’s just stop here.

There was an assurance that ‘going forward’ this would not occur. I will be willing to work with anyone and everyone to restore a sense of integrity to this educational endeavor. Please help us.

Friday, April 17, 2015

If Going Through the Proper Channels Doesn’t Work, Open up the Floodgates: The Hopelessly Incompetent Watson Administration Puts Chicago State at Risk Again

I am posting the following for my colleague Dr. Janet Halpin. Some background information will help readers fully understand the issue here. First, because of previous violations of Title IV regulations, Chicago State is currently on provisional status for the disbursement of financial aid. Second, early in Wayne Watson’s regime, the administration decided to eliminate the Board of Governors (BOG) program and developed a new degree program which it called General Studies. Rather than go through program elimination for BOG then create a new program to replace the BOG degree path, the university simply transferred most of the admission criteria from BOG to General Studies as a Reasonable Modification of an Existing Program. Although BOG and the early General Studies program resided outside the university in special programs, eventually the administration moved General Studies into the College of Arts and Sciences. In order to be admitted to General Studies, a student must have earned 24 hours of college credit and be at least 25 years old. 2012-14 and 2014-16 undergraduate admissions criteria are below:

In March, Dr. Halpin discovered that with the knowledge and apparent approval of Angela Henderson, the university had admitted a number of students who simply did not qualify for the General Studies Program. At the end of Dr. Halpin’s post are several e-mails that demonstrate clearly that several administrators knew about the modification of admissions criteria. Of the 47 students enrolled in the General Studies program as of February 17, 2015, only 12 meet the criteria for admission to the program. Thus, 74.4 percent of the students enrolled in General Studies should not be there. Finally, 28 students are enrolled full-time, which means they are eligible for financial aid. Of those 28, 23 (82.1 percent) should not be in the program. Despite her knowledge of the change in admission criteria, Angela Henderson refused to give her written assent to the practice. Nonetheless, as Dr. Halpin’s material makes clear, Henderson is clearly responsible for the change in criteria and will be responsible for the potential consequences of the university’s failure to adhere to IBHE and DOE policies. At the least, it seems likely we will be paying back more financial aid we have unlawfully disbursed.

Here is Dr. Halpin’s post (the first of two, another will appear tomorrow):

If going through the proper channels doesn’t work, open up the floodgates

Dr. H of General Studies and I recognized a serious problem in the General Studies program, and immediately began attempts to have it addressed. This is the original report. It has been edited to remove any identifying information of students. Tomorrow I will document our further attempts, ending with April 15/16, when a newly admitted General Studies Student contacted Dr. H to set up an advising appointment.

Date: March 14, 2015
From: Dr. Janet Halpin, Professor of Geography
Regarding: The General Studies Major at Chicago State University

On Monday, March 9, 2015 I dropped by your office. A student who left several years ago contacted me to enquire about requirements to graduate if readmitted. I am trying to find a variety of alternatives for this student. I did not see a CAPP option for General Studies, so I thought you might be able to provide some assistance using degree planning sheets. However, we did not get that far.

Our conversation immediately led to the present situation with General Studies, in which enrollment jumped from about two dozen students in 201409 to 47 in 201501, and for whom you have been provided insufficient information. You added that you have not been able to access all the functions of Banner. I have been using Banner since 1998, so I offered to print out some information for you and Prof. D., who is assisting with advising.

Starting on Monday, March 9, and continuing until March 13, I checked each name on the database. Additionally, there were three students listed as GSP who had Academic Early Warnings in October 2014, whose names are no longer on the list of GSP majors. Table One summarizes the results.

Admissions status code No. of students (N=50) Notes on transfer credits
Freshmen (23+) 27 These students were admitted with no university credits at all. Some were admitted for fall 2014 and some for spring 2015
Freshmen (under 23) 1 student was ftftf in 2010/11, but is trying to graduate after being unable to complete their original program
Transfer Freshmen 12 credits ranging from 0* (two students) to 19
Transfer 10 credits ranging from 10 to 63.360
Table One

*I do not fully understand this. A transfer with 0 credit hours implies that these two students had attended an institution of higher education but had no transferable credits: only Fs or Ds, or perhaps developmental Math. The admissions requirements for CSU, according to the catalog and the Admissions website, will not accept a student who is not in good academic standing. I’m not sure what’s going on there. Also, transfer students should have at least 24 (?)

Of the 50 GSP majors, it appears that only about 10 or 15 met usual requirements for admission to Chicago State University based on 24 credit hour minimum or current ACT score for those with fewer than 24 credit hours. Do you have documentation of the “college readiness interviews” that were conducted as part of the admissions process before students were admitted? You said that the information meetings have been very poorly attended. The most recent one, on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, (?) had no attendees. I myself went to one in Spring 2014 when we sat and chatted the entire time because there were no attendees. You said you received a printout of the students who are declared majors, but you have no information about how they were interviewed or by whom.

While the Office of Admissions and First Year Experience handle the admission, orientation, and advisement of new students, when there is a problem students are sent to their major department. You and Professor D. should have documentation for the students listed in Table Two. For them to register for the spring semester, they would have required an academic plan, and probably a petition for reinstatement of financial aid. Additionally, the student who was Dropped for Poor Scholarship would have needed a Petition for Reinstatement and very clear documentation of the compelling circumstances that led to their getting back into the College of Arts and Sciences after the disastrous 0.0 GPA fall semester. [Identifying information has been obscured]:

Table Two
Name Status GPA Fall’14
Student A Probation 1.50 6/13
Student B Probation 1.00 3/13
Student C Probation 1.61 9/13
Student D DPS, Reinstated 0.00 0/7

You probably would not know anything about the following three students who started as
freshmen in fall 2014 but did not return in spring 2015 (Table Three)
I have received from an unnamed source a forwarded copy of a memorandum sent by Ms. Cheri Sidney of Enrollment Management on December 29, 2014 (see below), requesting approval of new Admissions Requirements for the General Studies program. There are numerous serious issues related to this.

When the decision was made in 2011 to phase out the former BOG and replace it with the General Studies program, we were requested to do it as an RME: a Reasonable Modification of an Existing program. There were three iron-clad rules that could not be changed, in order that it remain a non-traditional program for students of 24 or older. This would also forestall the need to apply to the IBHE for a new program.

1. Students could still challenge up to 18 credit hours for coursework based on portfolios demonstrating skill and knowledge competence from life and career experience

2. There would be no foreign language requirement

3. NO STUDENTS WITH FEWER THAN 24 CREDIT HOURS COULD BE ADMITTED TO THE PROGRAM, because in the non-traditional BOG program, students did not have to meet the same admissions requirements as traditional new admits. BOG was separate from the University, and students who wished to change to a regular major were required to apply to the University - it was not a straightforward Change of Major.

Obviously, the credit hour requirement has proven to be the most troubling. As Prof. Nelly Maynard summarized in an email to Dr. Dave Kanis and me on 2/25/2014

“That is why the nontraditional degree program was always under a continuing education, continuing studies, Center for New Learning, "First College" and other similar programs.

That is why it is a challenge to put a nontraditional degree program with dissimilar admission requirements under a traditional degree program.

The Board of Governors Program has a long history as a separate unit. It was developed in 1972 as a cooperative effort among five state universities formerly under the Illinois Board of Governors. Since then, more colleges and universities: public and private, have opened their doors to this growing population and the competition for adult students, 25 years and older has increased.

The task of restructuring the BOG program requires a second look. If too many obstacles are scattered around and in front of that population, those students will go elsewhere.. They would even pay a higher tuition and attend DePaul or Roosevelt's nontraditional degree program.”

The December 29, 2014 memorandum addresses the plan to change the admission requirements to allow the admission of freshman General Studies students. Why is that a problem?

2. It is a clear violation of an admission requirement that HAD to be in place to move the program from a nontraditional degree program for older adults into an academic college: The College of Arts and Sciences. We could not admit students who had not met the admissions requirements.

3. The memo states that the requirement for pre-admission interviews would follow the University College model. It does NOT follow the University College model: Students in the University College are conditionally admitted into the university, and they are clearly in a separate “Special Program”. On the other hand, once the new General Studies students are “admitted” they are indeed IN the College of Arts and Sciences, because the program is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. The memorandum was dated December 29, 2014, but dozens of students had already been admitted under the “new” admissions requirements and had already completed a semester of work. Another cohort was already being admitted and placed in courses for the spring 2015 semester.

5. This was compounded by the fact that pressure was being put on the university to change the catalog to reflect these changes in admissions policy. An email was sent on Feb. 25 and forwarded on March 2, 2015 (see below) asking for the catalog to be changed without a required signature, to avoid “compliance issues”. This was already too late to avoid compliance issues. But even more seriously, it was a clear attempt to circumvent the policies, procedures, and shared governance with academic bodies and committees of the university.

Registration will begin in a matter of weeks for the summer and fall semesters. This must be addressed immediately before any more students are “admitted” under these conditions. I will be away for several days on an earlier planned trip but will be available by email and cell phone.

The Banner printouts for the 50 students [were attached to the original letter].

Dr. Janet Halpin
Professor of Geography

To: “WH, ID, TR

Drs. D, H, and R

Have we updated the catalog to include the corrections related to General Studies? I spoke to Provost and she stated that our course should be that of correcting our catalog and not her signature.

Please advise as to where we are in the process.

Thank you.


Cheri Sidney, CCEP
Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management
Chicago State University
Cook Administration Rm. 129
Chicago, Il 60628
Ph: 773.995.3534

CSU - We meet you where you are!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: JM
Date: Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 5:24 PM
To: Cheri Sidney

The Office never received the signed copy. I know you have plenty on your plate but if I don’t nudge this we may get caught in a compliance issue.
I’m just trying to keep ahead of these issues.

How Wayne Watson Keeps His Job: It's the Jobs and Contracts Stupid

I think it fair to ask how someone with Wayne Watson’s record of dismal leadership can continue to hold positions of authority. The answer seems apparent: he is able to curry favor with his political benefactors by dispensing jobs and contracts to their friends, his friends, and political allies. This blog has already discussed Watson’s history of questionable hiring practices and his gift of more than $75 million in no-bid contracts to relatives of Emil Jones. Taking a look back at his history at City Colleges reveals another area in which Watson excels at giving taxpayer monies to well-connected cronies: outside legal work. Ultimately, this backward look will enable us to take a look forward and predict what might be in store for our school after Watson’s blighted regime departs.

A 2012 article in Crain’s took a critical look at the spending for outside legal work at City Colleges of Chicago. The article touched on the money spent by City Colleges on Emil Jones’ relatives, legal work assigned to law firms with connections to Richard M. Daley, and contracts to engineering firms with “political ties.” Although the author discussed these questionable expenditures, startlingly, he failed to mention Wayne Watson even once. The author went back only as far as 2008 in his comparison of City Colleges legal expenditure. However, City College Board Reports are available back to 1998. I will use these to construct a more accurate portrayal of the spending practices Crain’s found so troublesome. Wayne Watson emerges as the most prominent actor in this narrative.

During the Watson era, between 1998 and mid-2009, City Colleges of Chicago spent a minimum of $10.65 million on outside law firms. Notably, between 1998 and 2003, at least 15 months of data on legal expenses are not available in the extant records. Thus, the figure for the Watson years is likely to be closer to $12 million. For the 136 months of the Watson Chancellorship, his administration spent a minimum average of $78,334.65/month on legal fees to external law firms. Of that $10.65 million, a minimum of $3.53 million went to firms with ties to Richard Daley or Wayne Watson. Some of these names may be familiar: Laner Muchin, later apparently hired by Chicago State to investigate Phillip Beverly, reported in the Crain’s article to have ties to Richard Daley, received $981,000 from City Colleges for legal work between 1998 and 2009; another firm with reported ties to Daley, Franczek Radelet received $1.4 million; Chico and Nunes received $183,000 and Pugh, Jones and Johnson, the firm that defended Watson in the Jim Crowley case and a law firm with at least one lawyer who has been extremely useful to Watson and Angela Henderson, received $937,000.

The 2012 article noted that the General Counsel of City Colleges, James M. Reilly, “who is empowered to hire law firms without competitive bidding, was an aide to Mr. Daley before joining the school five years ago.” The author neglected to mention that Wayne Watson hired Reilly as General Counsel on September 17, 2007.

In 2012, new City Colleges Chancellor reportedly terminated an existing contract with a politically-connected engineering firm, Anchor Mechanical. Guess who awarded Anchor Mechanical its original contract then gave the firm a succession of three-year contracts for various services? If you said Wayne Watson, you are obviously paying attention. In 2003, Watson awarded the first of three successive no-bid contracts for a maximum of $85,000/year to the company. In the 9 years the contract existed, Anchor Mechanical stood to receive a maximum of $765,000 from City Colleges. The article quoted Ms. Hyman as saying: "We have to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money. We're making sure every contract is competitively bid, and we need to ensure that every contract is actually needed or if can be handled better in-house."

Just how does Hyman’s administration compare with Watson’s in terms of its stewardship of “the taxpayer’s money?” In the 66 months of the post-Watson era at City Colleges, legal expenses for outside law firms have actually decreased, down to $73,358/month compared to Watson’s $78,334. However, when the residual effects of the Watson Chancellorship are figured into the equation, the post-Watson era appears even more thrifty.

Just after Watson left City Colleges, Maria Moore filed her lawsuit for retaliatory discharge. As chronicled on this blog, she won a huge settlement from City Colleges and the City Colleges Board agreed to pay her legal fees (amount unknown). According to the Court Docket, three separate firms worked on Watson’s defense: Laner Muchin again, Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan—last seen writing letters threatening legal action against this blog for ridiculous “trademark infringement” claims, and Ford and Harrison. Between July 2009 and May 2012, these three firms charged City Colleges over $679,000: totals of $481,000 for Laner Muchin; just under $104,000 for Gonzalez, Saggio; just over $97,000 for Ford/Harrison. Thus, the actual outside legal expense for the Watson years comes to over $11.3 million or $83,300/month, for the post-Watson era, City College outside legal spending totals $4.16 million, or an average of $63,000/month. Given the obvious increase in legal fees (hourly billing rate) since Watson served as Chancellor, this is a striking reduction in City College legal expenses.

Looking ahead, Watson’s various mouthpieces will find him blameless as Chicago State struggles to cope with the cost of his presidency. Even though it is supposedly impermissible to use monies appropriated for salaries for other purposes, Watson acolytes will attempt to construct a narrative that attempts to place the blame for the Watson administration’s unethical and illegal behavior on the administration’s victims: witness the discussion of how the Crowley judgment necessitates layoffs. This argument is completely groundless. First, because salary appropriations are sancrosanct; second, because the Crowley case has not cost the university a dime (for the plaintiff’s side) to this point; third, the responsible parties are Watson, Cage and the other administrators who participated in that outrage, not Jim Crowley. Nevertheless, as judgments drive the cost of this administration up, Watson will, as he has done his entire career, try to shift the blame onto his innocent victims. That is what I think we will see in the coming months.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Here's the Latest: As We Prepare to Hire More Highly-Paid Administrators, Watson Lays Off Loyal Employees at the Bottom of the Pay Scale

In response to Corday’s post yesterday, here is what I have learned about the most recent layoffs: At least seven persons have been laid off, eliminating two employee classifications from the Chicago State budget. The elimination of these classifications apparently enables the university to avoid issues of seniority and precludes any of the laid off employees from “bumping” junior employees.

The persons affected by the layoffs have served Chicago State University for between seven and twenty-one years and the total salary “savings” realized by these layoffs are around $200,000. Of course, there will be no actual salary savings for the university as we are currently involved in searches for at least four upper-level administrative positions: the Chief of Police, a newly created Executive Director of Alumni Giving, another newly created Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and a new posting for the Vice President of Enrollment Management. I estimate that the aggregate salaries for these four positions will be at least $500,000.

This is an outrageous action by a president desperately trying to hang on to his ability to hire his friends and cronies. Both the Chief of Police and Student Affairs searches are most likely rigged to insure that Watson cronies (pick your Watson here) get those positions. You can just imagine who Wayne Watson will select as the “Executive Director of Alumni Giving” and the new Vice President of Enrollment Management. Perhaps it’s time to culminate the Cheri Sidney farce by giving that mendacious fraud another hefty raise and a new position from which she can further damage Chicago State.

Why are these layoffs happening at this time? I recently received an e-mail from a highly-placed administrator who had the following explanation:

An interesting thought though, the IBHE warning that public higher ed institutions should consider/plan for a potential 20-30% drop in funding next year is being used as a perfect scapegoat for firing staff to cover our PRIOR financial mismanagement. We're in the hole and hemorrhaging money via enrollment losses/bad business decisions/lawsuits and they got the gift of being told to prepare for a 30% cut. . . . We have to act to resolve insolvency over prior issues under the guise of state budget cut warnings and will have to run another round of firings if the cuts do come to pass. We're probably firing 20% of the university's labor workforce to help pay for the $4m Crowley judgement that the university doesn't have $/insurance to cover. Oh, and to get around that pesky 'union' issue, they are just going to fire everyone within certain classification groups to close out all union employees within that classification.”

This is truly the worst university administration in the nation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Let the Firings Begin (again)...anyone know what's going on at this place today?

Just had some information this afternoon that lay offs are going on today in the Cook Bldg--but it's not those whom you would hope would be laid off. About 7 or 8 people in the civil service sector have been let go--some in Admissions. Morale must be at an all-time low.
Anyone else have any other news on this?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How the Watson Administration Treats Chicago State's Tenure-Track Faculty: Use Them then Screw Them

On of the administrative practices that has basically escaped examination is the Watson gang’s contempt for personnel action deadlines. Even a cursory look at how they perform their duties in this area reveals again the utter incompetence of this administration. We already know that it took a grievance last year to force the administration to honor its contractual obligation to grant sabbaticals, but their failure to give even lip service to personnel obligations mandated by the contract and their own policies starkly sketches the contours of their disdain for our tenure-track colleagues. Our administrative motto might be: "use them if you must, screw them when you can."

As many of you know, contrary to customary practice and in contravention of its own personnel action policies, the administration last year apparently failed to notify in advance of the May board meeting any faculty who had earned tenure. As this year’s deadline for administrative notification of tenure recommendations approaches (April 21, 2015), there seems little reason to expect that the administration will act differently this year.

In addition, this year for tenure-track faculty in the midst of their probation, the university has, for at least several faculty, failed to provide status notification for either promotion or retention. Despite a December 15, 2014 date for retention announcements, faculty have still not been notified. Despite a January 21, 2015 date for promotion announcements, faculty have still not been notified. These unwarranted and inexplicable delays are simply unconscionable.

During my probationary period at this university, the administration scrupulously adhered to the personnel action deadlines. When the time came for the board to vote on my tenure, I already knew that the administration had made a favorable recommendation. The timely notification did much to reduce the understandable anxiety associated with the probationary process.

For those unfortunate faculty who are in the current tenure process, no such relief is forthcoming. Imagine waiting three or four months past the deadline to learn your fate—will you be retained or on a terminal contract? The utter lack of qualifications of anyone in this administration to judge any faculty member’s performance notwithstanding, failure to notify persons of administrative personnel decisions creates unnecessary anxiety and in the case of those faculty not retained, the late notification may put them at a distinct disadvantage in the job market.

As far as our administrators are concerned, the only reason for the existence of staff, faculty and students seems to be the furtherance of the interests of Wayne Watson and his regime. As little more than props, staff, faculty and students frequently wait for incompetent administrators to make other important decisions, often with necessary paperwork languishing in an office waiting for nothing more than a signature. In the past few years, Wayne Watson has centralized operations under his control with the result that almost no one else can make a move without his approval. As a result, ignorant, capricious and often disastrous administrative decisions abound.

The scorn with which our administration treats all Chicago State’s faculty is magnified in the case of our tenure-track colleagues.

Here is the personnel action timetable for 2014-15:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thoughts on the Never-Ending Corruption at Chicago State: The Board and its "Search Committee"

The recent announcement of the “search committee” for the new president highlights the fundamental disconnect between Chicago State’s faculty and its administration. Two caveats before I begin this discussion: first, with one notable exception, nothing that follows should be taken as a criticism of any of the faculty involved in this committee; second, while membership on the committee in no way signifies allegiance to Wayne Watson or his administration, it seems fair to say that no one on the committee is objectionable to our diminutive dictator. Can anyone imagine the selection criteria for this committee being created without the primary input of Wayne Watson? One look at the selection process for this committee convinces me that the administration has rigged the search and will do their utmost to ramrod some unacceptable candidate through the process. How many of you are interested in a continuation of the Wayne Watson regime, albeit through a surrogate?

The desire to anoint Watson’s successor necessitates a committee that includes a large number of employees who enjoy no job security. That certainly holds true for the administrators on the committee. While the four faculty members nominated by the Faculty Senate are secure, the four faculty members appointed by the “committee” without faculty input are all non-tenured. Here are some salient facts:

The fourteen nominees submitted by the Faculty Senate included 13 tenured and 1 Clinical Faculty. The average experience of these 14 faculty members comes to 16.6 years with six years representing the shortest length of service of any of the Faculty Senate nominees. In addition, six of the Faculty Senate nominees have taught at Chicago State for at least 20 years. The respective colleges selected all fourteen Faculty Senate nominees.

In contrast, the faculty selections of the “committee” comprise 3 unit A non-tenured faculty and 1 unit B full-time lecturer. The average length of service for these four persons (tenure-track for the unit A faculty) is 3.5 years, with the longest service belonging to the unit B lecturer. Overall, the faculty selected by the “committee” to serve on the search averages 6 years of service, with the senior member at Chicago State for 12 years.

University-wide, 28.7 percent of the tenured/tenure-track faculty are currently probationary. When the non-tenured Clinical and Research faculty are added to the total faculty, the percentage of non-tenured unit A faculty rises to 34.1 percent. However, Watson and Zollar insured that 50 percent of the faculty on the presidential search committee were non-tenured. In addition, selecting Jonathan Jackson out of all the unit B faculty at Chicago State seems significant. Other than being a devoted supporter of Wayne Watson and the son of Watson patron Jesse Jackson, what makes Jackson a better candidate than more senior unit B faculty?

There seem to be a number of inferences one could draw from the search committee selection process. First, the Board and Chicago State’s Administration do not think that senior faculty have any role in the selection of the school’s next president. Second, even though the Faculty Senate submitted both the Faculty Senate and Union Local President’s names (based on election results in the College of Arts and Sciences) the “committee” chose neither person. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Board and the administration do not care to have the input of either the democratically elected leader of faculty governance or the democratically elected leader of the local union chapter. In fact, the Board and the administration seem not to understand the importance to a viable process of faculty selection of faculty representatives.

At the beginning of this process, Nikki Zollar emphasized that she had no intention of allowing the Faculty Senate President to serve on the committee, not surprising given the Watson administration’s demonstrated propensity for retaliatory actions. However, as we emphasized in our February letter to Zollar, UPI should have a place in the search for a new university president. Thanks to the administration’s vindictiveness, there are no representatives on this committee from either institution of faculty governance on this campus. Is there any doubt that is by design?

The letter to Zollar included this passage: “The faculty is responsible for the selection of its committee members. This is a fundamental principle of shared governance.” Nikki Zollar and Wayne Watson have ignored this principle. This insures a contentious selection process and the potential for widespread faculty resistance to any candidate selected in such a fundamentally opaque and dishonest way. That is our administration’s choice. So be it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Rigged Presidential Search Begins in Earnest: Nikki Zollar Flips Us the Bird

Silly us in the Faculty Senate. When we received the March memorandum from Nikki Zollar “inviting” us to provide 12 names (two from each college) to serve as members on the Presidential Search Committee, we took it at face value. It seemed a sincere response to the concerns we enumerated in our late February letter to Trustee Zollar. Accordingly, we moved quickly to hold elections in each of the university’s colleges and on March 31, submitted the names of 14 faculty members selected by their peers. Frankly, we were pleased that at least one member of the Board of Trustees seemed interested in faculty concerns. Some of use even dared hope that this search would be different from business as usual at Chicago State.

Today we received the Board’s response. Rather than creating a viable search committee consisting of properly selected faculty members, the Committee Chair extends her middle finger to Chicago State’s faculty in a heartfelt “fuck you.” Here is what the newly conceptualized “search committee” will look like: As a sop to our original concerns, the committee will include 8 faculty members. Originally conceived to consist of 5 faculty, 2 “nominated” by the Faculty Senate and 3 chosen by some other undisclosed method, we now have 8 faculty, four chosen by Chicago State’s faculty, and 4 others apparently to be selected by a person or persons unknown.

Also interesting are the colleges the Committee Chair chose to exclude even though their nominees had been selected in a democratic process. Zollar’s memorandum reveals that the “committee” has chosen one non-tenured Clinical Professor from Pharmacy, one tenured Professor from Education and two tenured Professors from the Library/Counseling Center. Of course, all of these persons were included in the list of nominees selected by their peers (see the list below), but there is no representation at all from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Health Sciences. Perhaps persons from these colleges will be chosen by an anonymous person or persons based on secret criteria.

We have no problem with the four faculty selected since they were all products of a faculty-driven process--although Zollar chose two from the library/counseling component while ignoring three other colleges altogether--but at this point in the “search” process, 128 of the 181 tenured/tenure-track faculty at Chicago State have no representation on the purported “search committee.” That’s 70.7 percent of the tenured/tenure-track faculty at this school. Regardless of the committee’s final composition, 70.7 percent of the university’s tenured/tenure-track faculty will not have a representative democratically elected by her/his peers. They will be hand-picked, undoubtedly by the Chicago State administration.

Of the total complement of 276 full-time faculty at Chicago State (including Clinical/Research unit A and full-time unit B faculty), 202 (73.2 percent) will not have a democratically selected representative on this bullshit committee. Here is the list of nominees submitted by the Faculty Senate and Zollar’s memorandum of April 8, 2014:

It seems obvious that we are going to witness another farcical and corrupt search for another hack to lead Chicago State University. This search process is now hopelessly flawed and no committee containing the majority of its members hand-picked by this failed administration will have any viability. Perhaps there is more at play than just a bogus presidential search. Does anyone see possible retaliation here? After all, by not selecting anyone from Arts and Sciences, Zollar insured that the most prominent source of disaffection with the Watson administration would have no democratically elected member on her committee. She also insured that the Faculty Senate President would not serve on the committee.

For me, this fiasco raises a number of questions. First and foremost, since the faculty is not involved, who is selecting the four other faculty members to serve on this committee? Second, what is the criteria for selection? Third, how have the other members of the committee been selected and by whom? According to the Board, we were to know the identity of the non-faculty members of this committee on March 6. It is now April 9 and still no information seems forthcoming. This search already stinks to high heaven.