The following statement was issued by Dr. Wayne Watson:
TO THE CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY:
“There have been some statements in the media regarding my position at Chicago State University that I wish to correct.
Several days ago, I requested approval of an administrative sabbatical by the CSU Board of Trustees. During the proposed sabbatical, I would first and foremost, be able to better help my 96 year old dad whom I feel has suffered most from my current 24-7 commitment to the University. I would also have more time for the level of academic research and writing I wish to achieve as president of a major American University. I have not resigned as CSU's President and no date is set for the sabbatical to begin, if approved. Even though press reports have included some inaccuracies, I am grateful for the thoughtful remarks about our turnaround at the University and my part in it. Clearly, our work continues.”
The statement is in response to a story by local media outlets including the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago State University this morning announced that controversial president Wayne Watson had stepped down.
Watson, who was booed when his hiring was announced in 2009, had more than a year left on his contract.
In a statement, the Chicago State Board of Trustees announced that it had granted a one-year administrative sabbatical to Watson at the president’s request, and that he will retire at the end of that year. He likely will be paid his $250,000-a-year salary during the leave.
Sandra Westbrooks, the university’s provost, was named acting president.
The Chicago State board had been set to meet this morning to discuss employment matters, but late Sunday cancelled the meeting.
Watson did not return a call from the Tribune this weekend.
“Dr. Watson came to Chicago State at a very challenging time, and through his tireless efforts, helped to build a stronger culture of achievement while maintaining a focus first and foremost on students and their needs,” board chair Gary Rozier said in a statement.
Watson, 67, was hired in 2009 with the hope that he would bring a fresh start to the troubled South Side university after accusations of fiscal mismanagement plagued his predecessor, Elnora Daniel.
Watson had been the chancellor of City Colleges, the system of seven community colleges in Chicago, prior to taking the Chicago State job.
Watson leaves months after the university was re-evaluated to determine if it will maintain its accreditation. The university is still awaiting that report.