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CSU board: President Wayne Watson’s actions may violate policy

Chicago State University’s Board of Trustees said Friday it has concluded after an investigation that President Wayne Watson engaged in actions violating university policy.

After a daylong series of meetings Friday by the board and its committees — which drew a slew of public comment for and against the embattled president — the board said it will now give Watson time to respond to the charge before deciding what action to take.

Officials would not specify the violation.

It expects to make that decision no later than June 30, the board said.

The board on Feb. 25 had announced that Watson would take a year sabbatical, then retire, and it named Sandra Westbrooks, CSU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, as interim president of the South Side institution.

Watson, however, has maintained he is still president, and charged he is being forced out by trustees angry with him that he would not make hires they requested.

In a statement read after exiting from a more than three-hour executive session, board members said: “The Board has received information that Dr. Watson’s actions may have not been in compliance with University policy. The Board has concluded that there is merit to the claim that the University’s policy was not complied with.”

“The Board is considering appropriate action, if any, as it relates to the claim of violation of University policy,” they continued. “Dr. Watson has the right to review and refute this claim. Until such time that Dr. Watson is afforded the opportunity to respond, no determination will be made by the Board relating to this claim.”

Watson’s attorney, Victor Henderson, maintained afterward that his client is not guilty of any wrongdoing, saying he expects to resolve the matter and continue on as president.

“At this point and time, there’s been no determination of wrongdoing per se, just that they have some concerns that needed to be addressed. We expect to do that promptly and fully,” Henderson said.

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