Students and Faculty at Chicago State University Protest the Selection of the Two Finalists for President of the University

Chicago State University has an undergraduate enrollment of about 5,200 students. More than 85 percent of the student body is black.

The university’s board of trustees has named Wayne D. Watson and Carol L. Adams as the two finalists for the position of university president. Both candidates will be on campus this coming week meeting with students and faculty. Some student leaders are urging students to wear black during the campus visits to protest the selection of the two candidates.

Watson is the chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, a seven-campus system of community colleges with total enrollments of 115,000 students. Watson holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and educational doctorate, all from Northwestern University.

Adams is secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency. A graduate of Fisk University, she holds a master’s degree from Boston University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Previously, she served as executive director of the Center for Inner-City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.

Many students and faculty at Chicago State are unhappy with the choices. The faculty are particularly concerned about a 2005 vote of no confidence in Watson by the faculty of the Chicago community colleges. Adams has been criticized for firing an employee of her agency who had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit. Adams was appointed to her position by former governor Rod Blagojevich. Some students and faculty have stated that they would have preferred a candidate with no ties to Illinois politics.