The willful illusions at the board meeting

There are many things to say about the vote of no confidence and the following board meeting.

By every account I’ve read and heard, the board meeting today was packed with about two dozen non-faculty who voiced support of the chancellor. This included US Representative Bobby Rush, who claimed that we shouldn’t even be discussing a vote of no confidence, and that the Chancellor has been doing an outstanding job. An international student spoke and claimed he was fine with the enormous tuition hike. The chair of the board voiced his support. And after the vote was dropped off at the mayor’s office, the mayor’s office issued a letter of support for the chancellor.

Look. If you were on the board and you wanted to cling to some evidence that the chancellor is doing a good job, then you clearly found it. But it is the shakiest foundation for evidence. Not to get snarky about it, but I’m one of your logic professors, and this looks really really bad. If a student made a case with the same strength of induction as was demonstrated here, I’d need to talk to him about whether they’ve been doing their exercises…or even paying attention to the basic principles of induction.

Do you understand what the faculty has done to voice their opinion? They did not simply ask a couple dozen people to speak against the chancellor. This time, they brought their big guns. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Phil Vargas and Jeni Meresman in conducting local and district wide surveys, we know where the faculty stand thanks to them, and all the faculty who supported them. In the past week, conducted a thorough vote with 97% participation from the faculty. This way, we know the what the faculty overwhelmingly, and nearly unanimously, are claiming.

District administrators like data. They’ve said it again and again.

The faculty brought the comprehensive, definitive data, while district brought little more than cherry picked anecdotes that provide no strong basis for what they wanted to claim. If the board wished to exercise any critical thought, they would have seen through it.

There’s another question that comes of this, but it will have to come in a later post. I’ll leave it here for now:

What does it mean that 90% of HWC faculty voted “no confidence?” What does it mean when more or less your entire academic arm claims that their leader is failing at supporting academics? Do you consider what they have to say? Or do you dismiss them?

Bobby Rush claimed that the faculty are just afraid of change. “(Faculty) fight change with everything they have, because change threatens their sense of being comfortable,” he said. “We ought to be commending and applauding her for her results. Why are we here this morning even discussing a vote of confidence for Chancellor Hyman?”

Are you actually serious when you accuse us of being afraid of change? Does the board believe that? Does the chancellor actually believe that?

At a speech a few months ago, Chancellor Hyman dismissed the “whiners,” which I can’t help but understand as her moniker for “faculty.” At the very least, she described the whiners’ claims in the same way she’s described the faculty’s claims.

So, the next questions are two:

1. What does it mean that 90% of the HWC faculty have declared “no confidence?”

2. What do Hyman, Pernot, Rasmus, and the rest of the crew understand it as meaning?

And another question, perhaps for a third post:

3. What brought us here, anyway? What could district have done differently while still pursuing their mission statement to have avoided this place?

5 thoughts on “The willful illusions at the board meeting

  1. I do wish we knew the Cheryl Hyman that those people described. That Cheryl Hyman would work with faculty to make decision which positively impact all students. That Cheryl Hyman, when in meetings with faculty, would not say things like, “I could be at the gym right now.” That Cheryl Hyman would not belittle, dismiss and disdain the work, words and advice of the very faculty who serve our students so admirably. Unfortunately, we aren’t important enough to get the public face of Hyman, we get the reality.

    • Amen to that. When I’ve spoken to Rasmus and Charles at District, they both coo about how they have tremendous respect for her, believe in what she’s doing, and that she’s the best boss with whom they’ve worked.

      The thing is, Rasmus and Charles have struck me as intelligent, compassionate individuals that sincerely believe in the goals of community colleges. And yet their practice and stance is so far removed from faculty. They seem aware of this fact, but also seem to lack any deep understanding of why there is this division.

  2. Wright College also voted overwhelmingly for the vote of no confidence–just like Harold, we were above 90% participation in the vote and the vote was almost unanimous. We had 3 abstentions, all the rest for the vote of no confidence. When the faculty at the two largest colleges are so united, I think it’s a safe bet that we speak for many of the faculty members who may be feeling more vulnerable because their colleges are under a more direct attack.

  3. It was educational to see that Cheryl Hyman trotted out the same “political and community leaders” who were steadfast in defending Wayne D. Watson’s mismanagement at the City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago State University. Hyman continues to play patronage politics and award connected contractors with $$$$$$. Her refusal to meet and discuss her policies with faculty and staff is damning. Her management style is terrible. It is top down abuse at its worst.

    Hyman was unqualified for a position in higher education administration from Day One. She was a bankrupt suburbanite who won the lottery when she was selected.

    The new Malcolm X College should not have been opened since it has numerous building code violations that affect the health and safety of students and staff. Hyman owns this mess and the useless shuttle bus service that no one uses and wastes millions.

    96% of faculty at Wright voted for Hyman’s removal.

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