Quick Hit Micah Maidenberg Monday August 30th, 2010, 1:36pm

Chicago State's Struggles

Chicago State University is failing to serve the predominately low-income, minority student population that matriculates at the school. That's one of the conclusions reached in a new feature about struggling universities Washington Monthly recently published. The article hones in on CSU's difficulties largely because of these dismal numbers:

Chicago State has the worst graduation rate of any public four-year university in Illinois and one of the worst in the nation, with just 13 percent of students finishing in six years.

In recent years, Chicago State has been a poster child of dysfunctional governance and home to controversial administrators. "The common thread that runs through all of this," a faculty leader said last year, "is negligence, incompetence and malfeasance." The school's immediate past president, Elnora Daniel, sent staffers on Mediterranean and Caribbean leadership summit cruises and called her $75,000 annual housing allowance "chump change." Students, meanwhile, dealt with dirty classrooms and weak academic and career advising. Last year, CSU's Faculty Senate asked Gov. Pat Quinn to remove its Board of Trustees and stop them from hiring a new president. But the board voted to elevate City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Wayne Watson to that post over the loud protests of students and faculty members, who saw him as a political choice. With the supply of college graduates not keeping pace with demand, improvements at Chicago State can't come soon enough.

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