CHICAGO (CBS) — The faculty union at Chicago State University has called on the board of trustees to resign, and has urged the state to conduct a forensic audit of the school’s finances, in the wake of the controversial ouster of president Thomas Calhoun Jr. and significantly declining enrollment.
John Miller, president of the University Professionals of Illinois, said the board ignored the wishes of faculty, staff, and students, when it removed Calhoun last month. The board agreed to pay Calhoun $600,000 in severance, under a clause in his contract that allowed him to be removed without cause, with him being paid two years’ salary to leave immediately.
The board approved the settlement agreement without explanation, and trustees were heckled by enraged students, faculty, and staff who had supported Calhoun, who was only on the job nine months.
“We question the decision to spend $600,000-plus. Over the last year, they did additional payouts to other administrators,” he said.
Miller said the board of trustees is incapable of governing and needs to resign. He also said the Illinois State Board of Higher Education should conduct a forensic audit of the university’s finances.
“We have a board that ignored the voice of the staff, the employees, the faculty of the institution; ignored the voice of the immediate community; ignored the voice of the students; and went ahead and removed President Calhoun and appointed their own person,” he said. “We’re questioning past decisions, and we think that an independent voice needs to come in and take a look at the books.”
Miller said CSU has laid off nearly 40 percent of its staff due to its financial troubles, which forced the school to cancel spring break and end its spring term early this year, due to a lack of state funding amid the ongoing budget stalemate.
The school’s financial troubles also left some students without hot water in their dorm rooms for at least two weeks earlier this month.
On Tuesday, the university announced only 86 freshmen had enrolled for the fall semester, and overall enrollment is down 25 percent.