Chicago State President to Be Ousted

September 15, 2016

Chicago State University trustees are preparing to remove President Thomas Calhoun Jr. just nine months into his tenure at the struggling institution.

An agenda for a Friday meeting shows that trustees expect to vote on a separation agreement for Calhoun and name a new interim president. The move is planned despite the fact that Calhoun only started in his position in January and is supported by the university’s faculty union, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago State declared financial exigency in February and continued to struggle as an Illinois budget impasse dragged on and lawmakers only provided partial funding to universities. The university, which is located on the city’s South Side and has a mostly African-American student body, laid off about 400 employees, or 40 percent of its workforce, this year. Its six-year graduation rate fell this year to 11 percent, after fluctuating between 13 and 21 percent in recent years.

The university’s faculty union president, Robert Bionaz, sent trustees a letter voicing support for Calhoun Wednesday morning. He said trustees were ousting a popular president while keeping other senior administrators that faculty and staff oppose, and he called for the governor of Illinois to replace the board.

"The board has chosen a path guaranteed to create continued conflict, contention and uproar on this campus," Bionaz said, according to the Tribune.

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