The Chicago State University board of trustees said this morning it supports President Wayne Watson, who earlier this year was on the verge of taking a yearlong sabbatical as the board started making plans for replacing him.
Instead, the current board, which has had significantly turnover since its last meeting in March, emerged from a closed-door session to say it supported Watson.
"The board unanimously affirms its support of the president going forward," said trustee James Joyce.
The board also elected a new chairman, attorney Anthony Young. Joyce, a former Chicago fire commissioner, will be the board's vice chairman. They take over after the prior board was in the midst of deciding Watson's future. Under the leadership of former board chair Gary Rozier, trustees had concluded at their March meeting that Watson had violated university policy and they would decide what action to take by June 30.
However, Rozier, whose board term had expired, was not reappointed by Gov. Pat Quinn, nor were two other board members. The governor appointed two new board members last month, pastor Horace Smith and funeral-home director Spencer Leak Sr., both Chicago State alumni. There are still two vacancies on the 8-member board, which currently includes no women.
Rozier had said that the board wanted a new president of the public South Side university.
Watson told the board that he is "humble and proud" to be president of Chicago State.
"It would not be an understatement to say the past few months have had their share of challenges," Watson said. But, he said, "the overwhelming majority of administration, staff and faculty were never distracted from our core mission of research, teaching and community service."