CHICAGO (CBS) — Two elected officials whose constituents include Chicago State University have been at odds over who should run the struggling state college.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas has been appointed to the CSU board of trustees, and Gov. Bruce Rauner has made Vallas part of a hand-picked team to oversee the restoration of fiscal and academic stability at the University.
Several people have suggested Vallas be named interim president, but Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore said current interim president Cecil Lucy just took over six months ago, and deserves a chance.
“Cecil Lucy, who has always been the second or third person in charge there, he’s been the guy that has kept the school afloat despite all the politics and all the fighting,” he said.
However, Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) suggested Lucy has been part of a group that has made several recent missteps at CSU.
“I’ve been monitoring everything that’s going on over at the university, and when you look at the track record of the university, we can no longer keep going down the same path,” he said.
Moore’s district and Beale’s ward both encompass the university campus.
Beale said Vallas should take charge at the university, which has seen its graduation rate plummet to 11 percent, according to published reports. Only 86 total students enrolled in its freshman class last fall.
“We have to do something drastic, and we have to do something different. We have to bring somebody in who is a proven troubleshooter; somebody who has proven to turn things around in the right direction. That’s what this is all about,” he said.
Moore insisted Lucy should be given a chance to right the ship.
“We don’t need someone to come from the outside and rescue our community, and help us along. What we do need is equal footing. What we do need is some appropriation,” he said.
The commissioner said CSU is near last in funding from the state among the 12 public universities in Illinois.