Chicago State Continues Debate on President - NBC Chicago

Chicago State Continues Debate on President

Watson state the reason behind his replacement is his refusal to promote board members friends.



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    Dr. Wayne Watson

    Aside from hiring an attorney, Chicago State University has taken no action in answering the question of who is president at the south side campus.

    Following a five hour closed meeting Friday, the board of trustees pushed their decision regarding Wayne Watson until their next meeting on March 8.

    The board announced Monday that Watson, the University’s president since 2009, would take a yearlong sabbatical and then expected to retire.

    However, Watson has a different opinion on the announcement, and has remained in his office this week declaring he is still president. His contract doesn’t end until 2014.

    “I'm the president of Chicago State University. I cannot speak for the board. At this point I'm running the university and I'm focused on running the university with the strongest academic team that I can put forward," Watson said.

    Watson requested the sabbatical agreement which was intended to allow him to relieve his role as president after the board announced they wanted new leadership. Watson would also receive his $250,000 salary during the sabbatical.

    Following the meeting, dozens of people addressed board members regarding their lack of decision.

    Several of those addressing the board stated that Watson was the reason Chicago State University has been recognized in recent years, and has pushed the university forward.

    Chicago State has been a source of pride for the local student body and has been an economic anchor for Chatham, Auburn, Gresham and the Southland, according to Martin L. King, chairman of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition board.

    King states Watson has aided in the success of the university and that fairness in his replacement is the best solution for the students and the community.

    However, Gary Rozier said that the decision for new leadership came after a decline in enrollment and the lack of confidence the University’s faculty has in Watson.

    With the debate over new leadership shifting the board’s focus from education to politics and the university being portrayed in a negative light, students are eager for an agreement to be made.

    "If the board is not focused on academics, but on politics, it's a problem. We don't want to be in the newspaper as an embarrassment. We came here to get a college degree and become productive citizens," Ashton Valentine, a senior at CSU said.

    Earlier this week, Watson sent a letter to trustees stating the real reason behind his replacement is his refusal to hire or give salary increases to some of the board member friends.