19.1.14

PHONY SOLIDARITY.

The editors of the Chicago Tribune are unimpressed by the efforts of Chicago State University's administration to shut down an annoying but proper weblog maintained by dissident faculty who seek to restore academic integrity to a mismanaged university.
Not surprisingly, CSU's attempts to muzzle the profs are driving traffic to the blog instead.

You'd think the blog's allegations — unchallenged by the lawyers — would merit investigation by the university's trustees, or by Gov. Pat Quinn, who appoints the board members. But they remain willfully Clueless. With a capital C.
To add to troubles in the expense-preference playpen that Chicago State adminstrators are creating, Tribune editors are of the view that interim provost Angela Henderson submitted to the University of Illinois at Chicago a doctoral dissertation not her own.
These days it's easy to lift someone else's work, accidentally or on purpose, through the miracle of cut and paste. But it's also easy to get caught, thanks to plagiarism-detection software. [Chicago State historian Robert] Bionaz ran Henderson's thesis through one such program, which flagged the similarities.

Tribune reporter Jodi S. Cohen ran a similar check and asked three independent experts to review the paper.

"It is not sloppiness here or there, or plagiarism here or there, it is quite often," said Tricia Bertram Gallant, editor of a book on academic ethics. "It is clear that this work is problematic enough that it needs to be looked at and perhaps withdrawn."

Teddi Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University, said the examples ranged from "really sloppy or poor citation" to "quite problematic."

Daniel Wueste, director of the Rutland Institute for Ethics, also at Clemson, noted "significant problems" that suggest Henderson lacks "a full and complete understanding of academic protocols and scholarly expectations."

"That is a problem if that person is provost of a university," Wueste said. Exactly.

For UIC, the question is whether its doctoral students are held to the same standards as the average high school sophomore.

For Chicago State, there's a bigger question: Do those academic standards apply to the person whose job is to enforce them?
At an expense-preference playground run by diversity hustlers, however, the default response is to double down on the hustle.
The issue of race is coming. Two days ago, one of my colleagues reported that Watson criticized a group of African American faculty members for not coming to the defense of both Henderson and Cheri Sidney. I think Watson’s stance here illustrates perfectly the man’s manipulative and cynical propensities. One of the features of the Watson administration has been its persistent failure to understand this school’s students and faculty. Ignoring the fact that Chicago State students are hard-working, discerning and intelligent men and women, Watson and his minions have demonstrated that they view them as a bunch of weak-minded fools who are in thrall to the faculty. Watson’s behavior toward the faculty oozes contempt. In his view, we are rubes who will swallow any nonsense the administration dishes out. In fact, how dare we question any of the proclamations and decrees that come down from Mt. Olympus? Watson’s ham-handed recent attempt to split the faculty along racial lines is an appeal for support for his destructive behavior from a group of people who, in my estimation, have little in common with him professionally.
Old trick. Detroit mayor Coleman Young used to dismiss any public mention of shortcomings in the governance of Detroit as the work of racists.  Thus did Detroit become a city residually inhabited by the destitute.  Mayor Young antagonized white folk of any class, and the shortcomings of government drove middle- and upper-class people of all colors out.  Chicago State faculty still have the voice option, to accompany whatever exit option academicians hold in a job market rendered less favorable by the public's discovery of higher education's massive sub-prime sector.
[Chicago State president] Wayne Watson has done nothing scholarly since receiving his Ph.D. in 1972. His teaching experience is negligible. In contrast, the African American faculty at Chicago State consistently distinguish themselves in teaching and in their scholarly pursuits. They honor their responsibilities to the university and the community by their service to both. In comparison with Angela Henderson, they actually earned their advanced degrees. Finally, if the African American faculty feel that anyone on this campus should be defended, they are sufficiently articulate to formulate their own arguments. They do not require instruction on how or what to think.
Higher education's subprime sector means lousy working conditions for faculty, with no public interest being served thereby.
In truth, this wretched scenario has produced victims. The students, current and past, of Chicago State University are victims; the school’s staff, faculty and administrators are victims; the citizens and taxpayers of the state of Illinois are victims, and persons who respect the standards and values of higher education are victims. Angela Henderson is not a victim. She brought this disgrace upon herself.
As the Tribune notes, Illinois-Chicago must also look for self-inflicted wounds.

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