Chicago State University President Steps Down


Wayne Watson (right), president of the troubled Chicago State University, will leave his position.

Chicago State has long been plagued by low graduation rates, financial mismanagement, and fights between faculty and administration.

Chicago State hired Watson, the former president of the City Colleges of Chicago, in 2009 because, as the school’s board chairman explained, Watson “has at least the credentials and a record of honesty and integrity and professionalism. We have come to an end of an era where this university was operated for patronage and for corrupt awarding of contracts.”

The school’s faculty and students objected to Watson, booing when the board announced he would be the school’s president.

Watson was supposed to be a change agent who would increase enrollment and graduation rates and improve relations with the faculty. But three and a half years into his five-year contract the board has announced that it’s time for yet more change.

Chicago State’s new board chairman, Gary Rozier, told the Chicago Tribune that:

It is time to look for new leadership. We are looking at the future of the university, and while we recognize that Wayne has done a lot of good things the school needed … you get to a place where you are looking at new leadership or a change in leadership.

Watson will take a one-year sabbatical at his $250,000 salary and then retire.

No doubt Chicago State now plans to “turn a corner” by hiring a “proven change agent” to “transform” the school. . [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer