A major cross section of leaders from civic, business, education, religious, political, community, and others will show their strong support for Wayne Watson as President of Chicago State University. The Chicago State University Board of Trustees will meet at 11:00 AM today (Friday March 8th)
Emil Jones: Chicago State President Wayne Watson is a ‘true leader’ Chicago SUN TIMES Guest Commentary March 7th, 2013
By Emil Jones March 6, 2013 6:26PM
Cordell Reed Student Union at Chicago State University. | Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: March 7, 2013 2:21AM
In my many years as a state senator, I learned that leadership is rarely a popularity contest. Today, although I have retired from the Legislature, I’ve been reminded of just how unpopular a true leader can be while witnessing the political shenanigans visited on my alma mater by its own board of trustees.
I attended Chicago State University, as did my late wife, Patricia. I am proud to note the convocation center bears our name. We pursued higher education with scant resources but a fierce determination for upward social mobility. That determination remains the chief motivation of most Chicago State students. These hard-working people — many of them adult and other nontraditional students — deserve every opportunity to attend a four-year school whose programs measure up to the standards of our other fine public universities.
These students also deserve a university that is run like a university, not a patronage machine operating at the whims of its board. The seven members of Chicago State’s board of trustees are appointed by the governor; the terms of three of those members, including its chair, expire within a few months. It is these three board members who have repeatedly overreached their mission to interfere with day-to-day operations and, far worse, to demand that the president hire their cronies, raise the salaries of their chosen faculty and staff, and even award contracts to vendors of their choice.
To his great credit, the university’s president, Dr. Wayne Watson, has resisted these highly inappropriate pressures while making changes that have made him unpopular.
When Dr. Watson took charge in 2010, he replaced a president tainted by allegations of improper spending. Coming to Chicago State after retiring from the City Colleges of Chicago, Dr. Watson brought extensive experience to the thankless task of reducing an indefensibly large faculty. At the same time, he led an essential culling of enrollment to drop students carrying unacceptably low grade averages.
It’s no wonder that Dr. Watson is not the most beloved man on campus, though respected throughout the educational community. It’s no wonder a resisting faculty voted no confidence in the president who reduced their unionized ranks. It’s no wonder enrollment is down when the correct standards are brought to bear for the entire student body. And it’s no wonder, given the low expectations many apply to an institution serving mostly minority students, that he has experienced cheap politicking. He courageously corrected institutional wrongs and mishaps that had history as long as 20 years.
Dr. Watson has brought order and a higher standard to the school that educates so many of the city’s disadvantaged. Now, under intense fire from the three hostile board members, he is resisting their demand that he resign his post before his contract expires next year. These board members are trying to force Dr. Watson out before they lose their chance.
This kind of vindictive blood sport has no place in an institution of higher learning. It comes with no consideration for students or prospective students who will be preparing for midterms and graduation or weighing whether they will choose Chicago State as the institution they want to study at over the next few years. I am calling on Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to address the impropriety displayed by these shameless board members.
Now is the time to replace Chicago State’s outgoing board members with people committed to education, not personal gain.
Emil Jones is the former president of the Illinois Senate.
Community Support For Dr. Wayne Watson Helps Sustain him as President of Chicago State
Thanks to those in The Chicago State University (CSU) community, elected officials, religious, business, civic and community leaders, present and former CSU students, and others in the community locally and nationally that showed the strong support for Dr. Wayne Watson, and have his personal and professional legacy processed with dignity. Thanks for beating down those who would dare leak and CONTINUE to leak personnel matters related to Dr. Watson to the press for their own personal reasons but for now, thanks for beating down the premature reports that he was already gone when he is still on the job. Of course there will be more on all sides, but at least now it is a process that I and others hope will be resolved with people having enough respect for each other to talk to each other and not through media leaks.
In just a weeks time Chicago State University board Chairman Gary Rozier, and others have taken the university and community through a roller coaster of totally conflicting announcements regarding the leadership of Dr. Wayne Watson and the stability of the university. The week began with news leaks of how the campus needed new leadership and Dr. Watson being all but gone but ended it up Friday with that being no such thing and President Wayne Watson was still President with a new round of discussions scheduled for this Friday's Board meeting at Chicago State. And even now those damned media leaks CONTINUE to trump what should be personnel matters being discussed so openly in the major media even before the formal board can meet. Just WHO is control of the Board’s media and personnel matters that delicate internal matters are so “exclusively” given and reported by the media with the local and national community having to react? Who with this kind of PR control at CSU has been given the authority to keep this important Black educator in Dr. Watson and this historic Black CSU institution the ongoing subject of media gossip.? Whenever this matter comes to a close and maybe even now, the CSU Board really needs to review its confidentiality process as it relates to its PR Department and PR process for the deliberate leaking of internal executive matters to the media should not be condoned!
So for now, the next CSU Board meeting is scheduled for Friday, when Board Chairman Rozier said he expects trustees will continue discussing Watson's employment status, but as I stated before the news leaks already HAS the public discussing Dr. Watson’s status for
we woke up this morning to yet ANOTHER “Exclusive” news leak about Dr. Watson’s possible fate long before the official Board meeting is even called to order on Friday. CSU Board Chairman Rozier stated to the press last week that "We think it is important to continue to think about ways to move the university forward," but Rozier should do it at the official meeting and not through ongoing media leaks.
Follow Up On NO BLACKS with CSU Board PR Contract
This new blog today is to follow up on the piece I posted yesterday regarding the fact I that I was very upset when I learned that The Board leaders of Chicago State University (CSU) had allegedly by-passed the excellent existing PR Department at CSU to contract with an extra PR Firm to strategically speak for the Board leadership of this historic majority Black university BUT HAD NO BLACKS in their firm to publicly represent the Board! Hell yes I was, am still ticked off at this. I think this is a damned insult to the existing PR professionals in the CSU PR Department, and an insult to the many qualified CSU graduates who are in the PR business!! When I first started posting blogs about my feelings about CSU and the leadership challenges currently going on with President Wayne Watson and all, many many people told me to TALK to people AT the university and back up my personal feelings with some real facts which I have done, and here is what I feel about what I have been hearing.
I have learned that the major
source of some of the leaks in the media about the private personnel matters involving Dr. Watson and other serious university issues have been done through this new PR firm led by Jescular Terman.for the Board was
hired by the CSU Board C
hairman, Gary Rozier, described by some
young elitist, who is a vice president at Ariel Investments. While Rozier may be a Vice President with John Rodgers company this current process and actions by Rozier clearly shows that he has
not learned how to move and shake with every corner of Chicago as his boss John Rodgers. I am sure John would have handled things differently.
Now, while I do not have relationship with Board Chairman Rozier, this act by him to select this PR Firm with NO BLACK MANAGEMENT or Black partners of spokespeople I could find, this shows just how out of touch Rozier with how things are done in Chicago. He hires this downtown firm as a "hidden hand" to plant the seeds in the media to assassinate the reputation of President Wayne Watson and this great South Side university at the worse time of the year. He has not sensitivities to the impact this would have on students and prospective students and pending accreditation, etc. The students are days away from their midterms, and the seniors at just weeks away from graduating. This is the time when prospective students are deciding if they want to attend Chicago State. Surely, this negative publicity has not helped the recruiting efforts, as I see and hear this same CSU Board Chairman Rozier complaining that enrollment is down under Watson when many who are contacting me with information know why it is down. Dr. Watson had to remove students who were not longer meeting academic standards versus just maintaining them on the rolls just for increased numbers sake.
I decided to check out this PR firm that has been retained by Rozier. Surprising, NONE
of the executives they feature on the website are African American. I could be wrong so readers of this please do like I did and go to the link word for it. Just go to the link http://jtpr.com and look for the banner "Our Team."
You would think a firm that does so much business with our government agencies would meet most guidelines for diversity and inclusion and would come to this historic Black institution and show their Black managers and staff which should have included some of the great qualified media professionals who are CSU graduates.
But more importantly, you would think the chairman of the board of trustees for a predominantly black school, which trains students in communications, journalism and PR, would invest money in a firm that presents the best opportunity to hire or provide interns for his students, and from the very community that this historic Black institution
From what I have seen thus far, This chairman Rozier may be good for his business, but he is clearly out of touch with the Black community and the kind of sensitivity one would expect from the Chairman of a majority Black institution like CSU and I would urge the local and state Black elected officials that directly represent CSU to strongly urge Governor Quinn not reappoint him on the board.
MARK S. ALLEN, Veteran Activist
included in the 2012 edition and nominated again for the 2013 edition of Who's Who In Black Chicago as "One Of Chicago's Most Influential Black Voices"
Chairman, National Black Wall Street Chicago
Founder and Lead Organizer, Illinois Voter Restoration Project
Chief of Staff to National Chairman, National Black Wall Street USA
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Chairman, Community Reinvestment Organizing Project of The Monroe Foundation
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Chicago, Illinois 60653
The Rev. Al Sharpton calls Mark Allen "one of Chicago's legendary political activists and one of the best organizers of his generation"
Legislation and Human Resources Committee
Academic Library Auditorium, Room 415
Full Board Meeting
Academic Library Auditorium, Room 415