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Future leadership of Chicago State University still up in the air

Rev.Jesse Jackspresents CSU President Wayne Watswith PUSH For Excellence Educator award 23rd Annual PUSH-MartLuther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast. Tuesday January

Rev.Jesse Jackson presents CSU President Wayne Watson with a PUSH For Excellence Educator award at the 23rd Annual PUSH-Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

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Updated: April 3, 2013 6:14AM

Tasked with sorting out who will be president of Chicago State University, the board of trustees took no action Friday during a lengthy special meeting, and plans to regroup on March 8.

Board counsel Langdon D. Neal said all seven trustees went into executive session at about 8 a.m. Friday and didn’t emerge until 1:30 p.m. They had made no decision on the employment status of Wayne Watson, whom Neal said is still university president.

The board announced Monday it had granted Watson a year’s sabbatical, at his request, saying it expected him to retire at its conclusion. The board also named the provost as acting president.

Several university board members wanted a new leader at the school and reportedly accused Watson, a former chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, of violating school policy by being less than candid about a relationship he had with another employee of the school.

Watson, reached by cell phone Friday, said he couldn’t comment. Watson believes he’s being pushed out for refusing to make specific hires at the request of certain board members, said his attorney, Victor P. Henderson. And he was at work all week, Henderson said: “He loves the university and he’s passionate about the students and the mission.”

No deal has been finalized, Henderson said.

Watson was hired in 2009 to revamp management at the fiscally shaky school, which has suffered money and leadership woes for years. His contract runs out in 2014.

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