For twenty years, the state of Illinois has been on the verge of doing something drastic about Chicago State University. Through seven million CSU presidents, fourteen million embezzlement scandals, twenty million expensive whistle blower lawsuits, and thirty-seven trillion misappropriations of taxpayer-provided funds, CSU has kept on keeping on. And now comes its most amazing accomplishment: The reduction of a university to a Samuel Beckett play.

Go to its campus and see the windy nothingness of Waiting for Godot. No one is there. Occasional buildings rot among the weeds.

Wait a few moments and onto the stage wander Vladimir and Estragon, two trustees who for the last decade have been sniping at each other about what’s best for the school. Listen in on their endless irritable exchange, an exercise in hilarious self-delusion about the Endgame their project has become.

Chicago State University poses the question: Can a university exist without students?

And the answer is: Actually, yes.

As long as the people of Illinois are willing to continue subsidizing a university run solely for the faculty and administration – ultimately of course run solely for the administration, because someone has to do the job of eliminating all of the faculty positions – there’s no reason why CSU can’t go on forever. Or at least for a very long time. The trick will be to eliminate faculty positions… very… slowly… In order to justify the continued existence of the administration. When you run out of faculty, simply hire more faculty – you need an administration to do that – and then gradually eliminate that faculty.

Rinse. Repeat.

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5 Responses to “‘Overall enrollment is down 25 percent, and undergraduate enrollment is down 32 percent in one year, the largest decline of any public university in the state. The 86 freshmen includes both full-time and part-time students — smaller than a kindergarten cohort at many Chicago Public Schools.’”

  1. Mr Punch Says:

    “As long as the people of Illinois are willing to continue subsidizing a university” – kind of open to question, actually.

  2. Polish Peter Says:

    Sounds a bit like The Producers of higher education.

  3. JackOH Says:

    ” . . . [U]ltimately of course run solely for the administration . . .”.

    “We can hire 20 adjuncts for the cost of one full-time professor,” replied our Podunk Tech provost to a prof who asked why more FT faculty weren’t being hired. Actual quote from the student paper.

  4. theprofessor Says:

    OK, but it makes some of us feel better about our own woefully mismanaged institutions. For some reasoning, it is comforting to know that there are sub-basements under the basement.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    tp: Chicago State is the standard.

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