Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Turning in keys at Chicago State

All staff and students at Chicago State University are being asked to turn in their keys. The move is designed to safeguard state property after the university runs out of money on May 1.
Unlike more financially stable public schools such as the University of Illinois or Southern Illinois University, about one-third of Chicago State's budget — about $36 million — comes from the state, and the school doesn't have a large enough endowment or cash reserves to keep it afloat.
If you thought the link on "Southern Illinois University" might bring a silver lining, think again: it's basically a dead end. I don't know where the Tribune got the 1/3 figure for state funding for CSU.  At SIUC, more like 1/2 of our unrestricted funds come from the state. Though lots of restrictions have  been lifted this past year to keep us afloat, we won't be able to survive much longer by robbing other accounts. The University of Illinois can make it through another academic year without state funding, I've been told; SIUC can't, at least not without massive cuts, including numerous layoffs.

Unless something changes, this is where we're all headed. Enjoy your key while you can. The state obviously has a high interest in preserving empty offices and classrooms. Perhaps they can recoup something by selling the desks.


  1. Chicago St has a six year graduation rate of 16%. A case can be made for closing it, but not like this. Its facilities and many faculty might play a useful role in the community college system. Of course, politically this would be nearly impossible. Local politicians would never allow this. But, that's democracy. We do not always the optimal solution.

    Rauner's quasi-dictatorial methods will not lead anywhere. November's elections will likely enable the House to override his vetoes. Chicago St will reopen even more dysfunction than it is now and much damage is being done elsewhere that will take years to overcome.

    -Mike Sullivan

  2. From what little I know, Chicago State certainly has troubles, many due to lousy political appointees in recent year. We should probably be careful about throwing stones re graduation rates, however. On the US "College Scorecard" data we rank 8 out of 11 public 4-year schools in Illinois by this measure.


    1. Dave, Following from this, Dave, is there not a link between the 20% decline of faculty you noticed in a previous post and the continuance of SIUC's "managerial bureaucracy" as a former FA leader turned administrator once put it? More than ever, this is now a time to demand shared governance and the exclusion of administrators from (Faculty?) Senate meetings - a process begun by Cheng? When I mentioned this to UK contacrts with a knowledge of far more activist unions they were absolutely horrified at this practice,

    2. I think administrators (i.e., folks with AP appointments, including chairs) served on the FS long before Cheng; not all evil began with her. But I agree the FS would be better off without them.

      Better still would be to treat chairs as faculty rather than AP; I think they were switched under Wendler. As things stand, the admin has it both ways: chairs et al count as "faculty" when it suits them (FS, or when identifying themselves as representing faculty) and AP otherwise (not members of bargaining unit, not able to strike, etc.). The definitions should be consistent.

      [Disclosure: As I discussed on this blog years ago, I served out a term on FS after being elected chair.]

  3. Yes, Dave, I agree here. Definitions "should be consistent."


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