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Rauner reportedly pushing to make Vallas president of CSU

Monday, Mar 20, 2017

* Chicago Crusader

Tensions are escalating at Chicago State University, where sources tell the Chicago Crusader that Gov. Bruce Rauner is getting pushback from some officials as he seeks to make former CPS chief, Paul Vallas, president of the university. […]

Sources told the Crusader that on March 3, Rauner’s Education Secretary, Beth Purvis, called a meeting with Board of Trustees chairman Marshall Hatch and Tony Anderson. Anderson is board chairman of Perspectives Charter Schools and serves on Rauner’s newly-created eight-member advisory council at CSU.

Rauner was not at the meeting, but sources told the Crusader that Purvis told Hatch and Anderson that Rauner wanted Vallas to be the president to replace Thomas Calhoun, who abruptly resigned last September under mysterious circumstances.

Sources told the Crusader that if Rauner’s request isn’t met, he will not secure additional funding to help solve the school’s financial woes and withdraw his support. The Board of Trustees would also risk losing Vallas—an important member who gained praise when he served as CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 1995 to 2001. At a time when CPS was financially bankrupt, Vallas was credited with keeping the school system afloat and boosting academic achievement among the district’s minority students. […]

Sources said Rauner’s plan to get Vallas as president did not sit well with Hatch, who has served on the Board of Trustees since 2015. Another board member, Nikki M. Zollar, who has served on the board since 2013, said she said “no” when she was called about Rauner’s request.

* Rauner administration response

“First, any notion of threatening future state funding is entirely false. Second, the Governor’s Office has been in regular communications with CSU leaders about potential university leadership candidates, including Paul Vallas, to work towards a turnaround of this university in crisis.”

* Mary Mitchell followed up

Purvis acknowledged the meeting with Hatch, Anderson and Vallas but denied putting pressure on the two board members to get the votes needed for Vallas to be president.

“There was a conversation about how do we bring the urgency so we can bring more resources to the university,” she said. “There was absolutely no threat.” […]

“I don’t understand his purpose,” Zollar said. “I was shocked that he was going to be on the board. And I was even more shocked that the governor wanted him to be the chairman of the board.

“Paul himself have said in many meetings, ‘I want to be the president of the university.’ I do think he has all good intentions, but I wouldn’t be able to support the idea of Mr. Vallas being the president of CSU because he doesn’t have the requisite background in higher education.

Vallas has a masters degree from WIU.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


25 Comments »
  1. - OH - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    Vallas can wear on you, but he’s probably the right kind of guy for this gig. There’s a whole bunch of institutional atrophy at CSU — he’d bust it up.


  2. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    ===sources told the Crusader that Purvis told Hatch and Anderson that Rauner wanted Vallas to be the president===

    Sheesh, that is some third-hand information.


  3. - Deft Wing - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    Things aren’t likely to end well with CSU almost under any scenario.

    But if rumors of a Rauner power play are true, the end-game for CSU may be expedited.


  4. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    == Things aren’t likely to end well with CSU almost under any scenario. ==

    I’m kind of wondering if this is a reward or a punishment for Vallas.


  5. - Morton Salt - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Who is going to be the new head of the IBHE?


  6. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    You do not need a Doctorate to lead a university. It helps build support within the faculty, because they think it is important.

    Management and political skills are important, not research.


  7. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    The louder the push-back from the CSU insiders, the more I like the Vallas as President idea. CSU needs someone from the outside who can stand up to the people who’ve been using CSU as a patronage dumping ground for a generation. Some of the current board members have been part of the problem there, so no one should be expecting to hear solutions from them. Clean house, and do it now.

    This might be the only issue that I agree on whole-heartedly with Governor Rauner.


  8. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    Nikki Zollar is the last person to critique others’ qualifications and competence.


  9. - Deft Wing - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Just wondering, is anyone counting how many public political battles is Rauner presently in? Madigan, Rahm, Mendoza, AFSCME, … now CSU?

    Real question, does it make any sense to keep adding to the list of enemies? Especially in the absence of any demonstrable achievement?


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===Madigan, Rahm, Mendoza, AFSCME, … now CSU===

    You forgot Radogno.


  11. - Deft Wing - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    –”You forgot Radogno.–”

    Yeah, I did. Ty. That one is truly confounding.


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    Given CSU’s history, anyone the Emil Jones old guard doesn’t like is worth a shot.


  13. - Reluctantly Living in ILL - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    So does this mean we’re going to keep having a CSU? What about the other regional universities? They have been starved for funding and are all in danger of shutting down.


  14. - Annonin' - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    Wonderin’ what BigBrain promised on the pension ends —-tying together state, city, CPS,County SURS time ould be a nice piece of moolah. Good ROI for the WIU masters.


  15. - xxtofer - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    Until the state supports its supposedly state-supported colleges and universities, I’d be hard-pressed to agree that the Governor gets to wield this kind of power. He gets to appoint board members — NOT presidents.


  16. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    ==He gets to appoint board members — NOT presidents==

    Boards select Presidents. Select Board members that will appoint who you want. Result - Governor selects the President.


  17. - Roscoe Tom - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    A White President at CSU? Please this is Chicago.


  18. - Consider the Unnamed Sources - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    The unnamed sources complaining about Rauner and Vallas sound suspiciously like former CSU Wayne Watson (the favorite of Emil Jones) is still attempting to run/ruin the university through his proxies. Watson did incalculable damage to CSU (an Appellate Court opinion affirming a multi-million dollar judgement of a wrongfully discharged university employee suggested that Watson ought to have been sued for his misconduct).

    It is time to clean house on campus and that includes removing Watson’s cronies.


  19. - walker - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Deft Wing: Smart insight.

    Rauner and ILGOP might do well by strategically limiting the target set. Continuing squabbles with Mendoza, for example, will hurt more than help Team Rauner.


  20. - Signal and Noise - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    Consider the Unnamed Sources - Nice to see you Dr. Bionaz.


  21. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 6:02 pm:

    ===Madigan, Rahm, Mendoza, AFSCME, … now CSU===

    You forgot Radogno.–

    Teachers. University administrators. Trial lawyers. The courts. They’re all in on it, too.


  22. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 6:21 pm:

    Annonin’ by intent or not, SURS is the place to wind up particularly if he had prior service credit there.


  23. - Saluki beancounter - Monday, Mar 20, 17 @ 7:51 pm:

    Well that’s one way to keep him out of the Dem primary for Gov. Not that he’s got any money to keep up.


  24. - 51 Ward - Tuesday, Mar 21, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    CSU is a patronage joke. Anyone the board disagrees with is a better choice. At no time has actual education been a priority at the school just a patronage job program for Emil Jones supporters


  25. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Mar 21, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    Paul Vallas did a great job straightening out CPS.
    He has done good work in other states. He is quite
    good at this.


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