Sunday, September 06, 2009

Fixing Education by making Geeks cool?

Interesting article in Wired Magazine this month. I like the idea that as soon as learning/being smart is cool, everyone does better. Lots of applications, when you think about it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chairman of the BOT corruption? What a surprise.

Received from hyperspace, written by Laraine Wright. I think we all know in our gut that SIU's BOT positions are purchased for campaign contributions (or political support in the case of Glen Poshard). Difficult to prove without a wiretap, but here is a pretty compelling example of how BOT members have their fingers in the SIU pie.

If there is any justice, Tedrick with step down today. I'm not holding my breath.

Question - how can you give SIU money, if this is what you are supporting?

Roger Tedrick, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, has in at least 34 cases violated the SIU Management Act (110 ILCS 520/4) that states, " ... nor shall any member of the Board be directly or indirectly interested in any contract made by the Board ... "

Through documents I recently obtained through a Freedom of Information request, I discovered that Tedrick Insurance in Mt. Vernon sold expensive liability insurance to construction firms and service providers doing business with SIU through contracts that Tedrick voted to approve as a member of the board. The firms include many who recently were approved as contractors and sub-contractors for Saluki Way , such as Holland Construction Services of Swansea, which last year the board tacked onto Saluki Way as a "partner" of the original contractor, JE Dunn of Kansas. Holland Construction Services built Rent One Park in Marion for John Simmons, another Blagojevich appointee on the SIU Board of Trustees.

Tedrick was appointed to the Board in February 2004, two months after he made a $5,000 donation to Blagojevich. Eight days after Tedrick was "elected" chairman of the board on June 20, 2005, he made another $5,000 donation to Blagojevich. In total, Tedrick gave Blagojevich $26,000.

You may recall that Chairman Tedrick immediately and vigorously defended Glenn Poshard when the examples of plagiarism in his Ph.D. were revealed. No sitting back to wait while an investigation could be done, just immediate public defense. You may also recall that Tedrick was supposedly the one who asked SIU Legal Counsel Jerry Blakemore to conduct a "thorough review," an "internal audit" of the Board following Blagojevich's arrest December 9. "Are any of us corrupt?" Heck, no, said Jerry Blakemore to "The Southern" in mid-January, which also said, "SIU President Glenn Poshard ... praised Tedrick for moving quickly to investigate any improprieties and stood by the finds of Blakemore's investigation."

On March 10, I spent more than two hours at the Southern Illinoisan offices talking to reporters Caleb Hale and Adam Testa. They had the same documents that I later obtained through my own FOIA, and many more regarding other corruption allegations. They had already conducted other interviews about this information and they assured me they would be running an article about Tedrick. But nothing has happened. I don't fault Hale or Testa. The problem lies above their heads at "The Southern."

Instead, there have been two articles about how Jerry Blakemore has now written a new policy for the board, which it may approve at its May 7 meeting in Carbondale, that calls for board members to "recuse" themselves from voting on contracts that might be a conflict of interest. Even ahead of adopting this laughable policy, Tedrick apparently recused himself from voting at the April 2 board meeting.

Tedrick may continue to recuse himself for the next 50 years, but he STILL is in violation of the SIU Management Act merely by SERVING on the board WHILE SELLING INSURANCE to university contractors. He has known this all along and so, I submit, have Glenn Poshard, staff members in the SIU President's Office and Budget Office, and possibly other members of the SIU Board of Trustees. Also, every year the board members and all state employees must fill out a Statement of Economic Interests that discloses any business ties one may have that conflict with one's role as a board member or state employee. These statements are collected by SIU Ethics Officer Corey Bradford and forwarded to the Secretary of State's Office in Springfield. Hmmm.

I am again asking the SIUC community, internal and external, to share this information with others; to write to Gov. Quinn demanding that he remove the three people who were appointed to the Board after making large donations to Blagojevich (Tedrick, John Simmons, and the now-bodyguarded Bill Bonan II); and to once again discuss together and question where Glenn Poshard is taking SIU. I am on the speaker's list for May 7. If you want to make your own speech, please call Misty Whittington at 536-3344.

Finally, you may have seen an article in the April 14 or 15 "Southern" titled, "Quinn looks to restock boards, commissions." It was written by Kurt Erickson, Springfield Bureau reporter for Lee Enterprises, owner of the "Southern." Erickson says, "Joliet oilman Jay Bergman ... contributed $53,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund between 2002 and 2008. He now serves as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State University Board of Trustees." Another example of the same Blagojevich pattern. Big donations equaled appointments to public boards. How interesting that Erickson was free to write about an Illinois State board member but reporters at "The Southern" apparently can't do the same regarding Southern Illinois University.

Laraine Wright

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The casual corruption of SIU

I give money to a number of universities and each sends me marketing collateral. A recent trend is to hire a company that makes magazines about research and sends it out. I have received one of these lately from SIU, Stanford, OSU and UW (Oregon and Washington). Interestingly enough, only one has a special piece of cardboard proclaiming that the marketing piece is "Compliments of" someone.

I started to wonder, why does John Koropchak need to claim responsibility for SIU's marketing spam? Is he running for office? Does this benefit SIU in some way? Did he pay for this "thing" out of his own pocket? We know the answer to each of these questions is no.

Are things so bad at SIU that no one points out how it looks when senior management, uses the public's money, to push some hidden PR/Ego agenda?

You have to wonder, who is minding the store, even when you know the answer is no one. I keep hoping for better, but keep getting disappointed.