13.5.16

THE SOUND OF ATLAS, SHRUGGING.

Financial exigency or not, it's business as usual for the Chicago State University governing board.  That prompts a lament from a departing faculty member.
Several decades ago I read Atlas Shrugged, the dystopian novel by Ayn Rand where nasty, self-serving incompetents drive industries and infrastructure into the ground while able people are fired, destroyed or who quit. At the time, I thought it was a highly implausible straw-man scenario used to promote her philosophy of objectivism.

In the 1980s an activist friend of mine referred to a fellow in our movement as a ‘revolutionary pimp’ who promoted his own interests on the backs of the activism of others. At the time, I thought it was a personal judgement on a mildly unsavory character.

In 2012 an accreditation evaluator came to CSU for the pre-visit consultation. In an informal conversation, the evaluator said that the word outside of Chicago was that Wayne Watson had been set in place specifically to drive CSU into the ground because the land and campus were valuable properties [emphasis added]. At the time, I thought it was pretty stupid, as conspiracy theories go.

At it turns out, they were all prescient. I have SEEN highly skilled, devoted, and competent colleagues fired, demoted, and chased away. I have SEEN prominent figures coming out of a back room in this very building, where they schemed and plotted to keep Wayne Watson and his cronies in power. They then stood up in public three years later to exhort our students to defend their right to education. I have SEEN a series of brutal, thoughtless, and damaging actions that have eroded our viability. Through incompetence, they might have avoided some catastrophes merely by accident. It seems instead that their intent is, indeed, to close the school and seize the remaining assets.

And this Board sat here. Were you just watching, or are you part of this?
Yes, Chicago State own property adjacent to Metra Electric, which might have potential for an office park or perhaps transit-oriented residential redevelopment.  But that property is in Chicago, run for better or mostly worse, by Democrats, and in Illinois, where Springfield Democrats continue to deny reality.

Never attribute to malice that which can be more easily understood as incompetence.  Or incompetence defended as good intentions.

No comments: