CSU President Out after Nine Months

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Thomas J. Calhoun

By J. Coyden Palmer, Chicago Crusader

As things at Chicago State continue to decline, the man who has been president at the university on the South Side is leaving after nine months on the job. Thomas J. Calhoun’s departure comes the day after students who live in the university’s dormitories contacted the media about their living conditions.

Students told how they have been living without hot water in the dorms for the past two weeks. They also said there is no hot water in the cafeteria so a catering service has been providing meals to the students who pay over $8,000 a semester in tuition.

A public posting of a Board of Trustee meeting agenda set for Sept. 16th has a vote on a separation agreement with Calhoun listed as one of the items on the meeting agenda.

Calhoun’s sudden departure will lead to more questions about the university’s future.

Chicago State has been dealing with a financial emergency since the beginning of this year. There were questions of whether or not the school would even be open for the fall semester due to the state’s failure to fund the school because no state budget has been passed. But lawmakers came up with a last minute deal, which keep Chicago State’s doors open.

Calhoun himself just a few weeks ago said the university would weather the storm and he was looking forward to leading the way. But now he appears to be out and the Board will be naming an interim replacement at Friday’s meeting.

Robert Bionaz, head of the faculty union, said the faculty backs President Calhoun nearly 100 percent. He said losing Calhoun at this time will be costly for the university and added the university will again have to spend money they do not have to search for a new leader.

“The Board has chosen a path guaranteed to create continued conflict, contention and uproar on this campus,” Bionaz said.

He and others are calling for the removal of the entire Board, who are appointed by Governor Rauner. For years those with an interest in CSU have said the Board is a big part of the problems at Chicago State. They said the Board members are usually people with political connections who see the position as a way to boost their own personal profiles without caring about the university or students.

“It’s sad to see the President go,” said one student who was rushing off to class when she heard the news. “I guess we’re all going to be on our own.”

Sabrina Land, spokeswoman for Chicago State University, confirmed there is a separation agreement in the works that will be discussed at Friday’s meeting. However she said she did not know the details of the agreement.

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