Professors urge UI trustees to fire Hogan quickly

Professors urge UI trustees to fire Hogan quickly

UPDATED 5:15 p.m. Thursday

URBANA — President Michael Hogan should be terminated as quickly as possible, or the board of trustees risks losing its ability to govern the University of Illinois, top faculty said Thursday.

In a letter delivered to trustees, more than 100 distinguished professors from the Urbana campus urged the board to fire the university president, following recent reports about former chief of staff Lisa Troyer’s claims that she continued working after resigning from her position.

All university stakeholders would be served by “rapid and decisive termination,” the letter said.

“A board that does not act when there is a president who is so ethically and reputationally compromised as to be unable to function is one that is, in truth, itself unable to effectively govern the institution it stewards,” the letter stated.

Faculty delivered the letter to trustees at a regularly scheduled board meeting on campus. Trustees spent over an hour behind closed doors in the morning and again during the lunch hour to discuss personnel-related matters.

"I haven't seen the letter," Hogan said after the meeting and declined to comment on it.

UI board chairman Christopher Kennedy said trustees, while visiting the Urbana campus over the last two days, have had a chance to meet with senior administration, faculty leaders, letter writers and signers.

"During our afternoon executive session we had an opportunity to share the comments that we heard from the university with each other and with the president. We had a private session during which we distilled what we heard from all of the faculty. The university trustees have asked me to enter into a dialogue with the president to provide him a distillation of those thoughts and over the next few days I intend to do that," Kennedy said.

"He and I will have a dialogue about we have heard down here to bring clarity to the way forward," Kennedy said.

The letter follows a similar one sent Feb. 27 by the group of chaired professors to the board calling for Hogan’s departure.

Chairman Chris Kennedy called an emergency meeting in Chicago March 5 to review Hogan’s performance.

Trustees directed Hogan to rebuild trust with faculty and said they would hear an update from the president at Thursday’s meeting.

In the new letter, faculty thanked the board for the expeditious response but criticized Hogan’s recent attempts to mend fences with faculty.

The letter said the breakdown in shared governance did not stem from a communication problem as Hogan described it last week.

“‘Shared governance’ for Hogan apparently means explaining to faculty, senators, deans, and chancellors why his way is the right way. It is still a one-way learning experience, a top-down imposition of policy,” the letter said.

“This focus on form over substance reveals a truly cynical approach to governance, one which was at the root of Hogan’s political and ethical problems,” the letter said.

The letter also raised concerns about Troyer’s efforts to be paid from the time she resigned, Jan. 3, to when she accepted a faculty offer on Feb. 6.

Emails recently released to The News-Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act show that Troyer claimed she continued to work in that period by developing a transition plan for the president’s office, helping Hogan respond to FOIA requests and cooperating with an ethics investigation.

“It is difficult to exaggerate the impact that this finding ... is already having on the university community,” the letter said.

In a cover memo to the board, two of the endowed professors, Nigel Goldenfeld and Michael Moore, said the letter was circulated starting Wednesday afternoon. By the time the letter was delivered to trustees around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 118 professors had signed it.

“This rate of response of the chaired faculty far surpasses that of our earlier letters to you from this group. It indicates a level of support for the views expressed in our letter, but also the urgency which the chaired faculty attaches to the rapidly unfolding situation, and the need for firm leadership at this point,” the professors said.

“Hogan is not up to the job of running the University of Illinois — a position that requires consensus-building so that the university can adapt without dysfunction to the difficult environment for the state and for the nation’s higher education system in general.

“Given the challenges that the university faces in an uncertain period for the State of Illinois, we view it as essential that Hogan’s failed Presidency be seen for what it is, and that a path be forged which can rapidly restore a healthy governance structure.”

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Joe American wrote on March 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

"President Michael Hogan should be terminated as quickly as possible, or the board of trustees risks losing its ability to govern the University of Illinois, top faculty said Thursday."

I'm trying to think of a more idle and meaningless threat that I've ever heard but I'm having trouble doing so.  I'd be shaking in my shoes if I were the Board of Trustees. <smh>

GoingtoHeck wrote on March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

They SHOULD be shaking in their shoes!  The top faculty members at UI are ALWAYS being recruited by other universities.  UI is losing more and more of their best faculty every year.  With Hogan at the helm, that trend will only accelerate.  Not to mention the difficulty UI will have recruiting new faculty members because of the apparently non-stop ethics scandals here.

catharsisnow wrote on March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Very valid point "GoingtoHeck." Additionally, I want to share that many alumni friends of mine are planning to send their own letters to the BoT. I cannot describe to you the amount of anger that a lot of them feel at the current President for all the headlines that his leadership shortcomings have been producing non-stop since early January. Beyond faculty retention and recruitment, the negative publicity affects philanthropy, too. As we rely increasingly on donors to fund programs, scholarships and buildings... we need ethically spotless leadership helping with the advancement work.

UofIReform wrote on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

When will we be able to fire faculty? They are the ones that lead search committees, decide and recommend  those to be confirmed by the BOT. Now suddenly Hogan is no good? We the people and tax payers of IL have no say in the running nor the leadership at the University. We must foot the bill, but have no representation.

We should not tolerate these kinds of administrative failures. But we must hear constant whining about "shared governance" -an AAUP invention and myth that serves no purpose other than to ensure faculty control via rogue groups such as the CFA  may prevent taxpayer and citizen reresentation, when our goal is to ensure accountability and excellence at the institution we are forced to subsidize.

Pay no attention to this pious prattle-these hypocrites are wolves hiding behind ill-gotten sheepskins. 

C. Alcyon wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Lisa Troyer, is that you at it again?

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

It obiviously was a mistake to hire Dr. Hogan.  However, continuing to employ him is a worse mistake.  The overwhelming number of professors did not hire him.  They had nothing to do with his being hired; or his unethical behavior following his hiring.  The faculty who signed the letter put their jobs on the line by telling the Board of Trustees to fire Hogan.  They exhibited more bravery, and ethics than most including myself expected.  The only way to keep whatever educational integrity that is left is to fire Hogan, and Troyer immediately.  We, the public, have come to expect corruption, and unethical behavior in Illinois.  It does not have to continue that way.  The faculty stood up to the same old - same old way of doing things.  They should be commended; not condemmed.  Do you want your children, or grandchildren who earn a degree at the U. of I. to be passed over in job applications because their degree was from a university with the unsavory reputation of the U. of I.?   

newen78 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

While professors are part of the search committees and definitely do make recommendations, they do not have the ultimate say in whom the BOT picks.

Also only 18% of the UI Budget comes from taxpayer dollars. So by comparison, taxpayers (the State) should have 18% say in what happens. However the State has much more say in how the UI operates than 18%.

Also brought to light - that most likely no one on the search committee or BOT knew about prior to hiring Hogan was his last minute efforts at his old job to get people raises, do special favors, etc. In light of everything he and Troyer have done, anyone who had confidence before have more than likely lost

catharsisnow wrote on March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

The pattern of unethical and not-leaderful behavior keeps getting longer with every FOIA request. Those who said that we are past the "tipping-point" are right. It seems that there is only one way to stop this neverending downward spiral.

Now, more than ever we need a good Interim President to get the situation stabilized and lay the path of finding a high-caliber leader. We have good Chancellors in place, lot's of VPs... we simply need a good President.

Prayer alone doesn't seem to be helping... BoT must ACT, N-O-W!

Local Yocal wrote on March 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm
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Never thought I would see the day the staff and faculty standing up to a U of I administration. U of Conn warned us, and we should have listened to the editorial in Connecticut's media that assessed Hogan's tenure there with, "good riddance." He was a reputed "player" who lived like a king and uses universities for his personal pleasure. Arriving here amidst a budget crisis, he defended his $600,000 salary as "adequate compensation", while threatening lay-offs and reduced services for everybody else. Even though the U of I doesn't endorse the UnOfficial St. Pat's Binge Drinking Festival, King Hogan treated it like a photo-op and appeared in a front page photo in The Daily Illini. Imagine Ikenberry hobknobbing with the kiddies at a campus bar. Get rid of this unprofessional, greedy aristocrat. Speaking of aristocrats, Chris Kennedy's judgment throughout this mess seems to indicate he may also be misplaced...can't something else be found for this idle prince to do?  AD Mike Thomas' ax is still warm,....perhaps he has time to lop off a few more heads....

syzlack wrote on March 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm




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First of all, from what’s been reported, Hogan has done absolutely nothing unethical.  What he has done is been impolitic and ticked off some of the prima donna faculty, who are afraid they will have to sit with the hoi polloi from UIC or the untouchables from UIS, and that their aura of excellence will be tarnished and that may mean not being able to leverage higher salaries.

As for faculty leaving, forget about it.  Some do, going to places like Stanford or Michigan, but not many.  Many of the signers of the letter are “distinguished” faculty who are at the tail end of their careers and are not going anywhere.  This is particularly true for the ringleader of this malcontent group, Michael Moore, and his wife Heidi Hurd, law school dean during the category 1 scandal.  They are known throughout the legal and world and no offers will be forthcoming.

In fact, it’s worth looking into why Moore is being so aggressive about this, sending yet another demanding letter that verges on the threatening.  There is a great deal of information about this whole situation, reaching back to when Richard Hermann was made provost, that apparently has been forgotten, or has not been made public, but probably should be.  The BOT knows all about it, and about Moore and Hurd, and is not going to be persuaded by this small bunch of faculty to dismiss Hogan.  The administration and BOT have been very temperate in their responses to this faculty bullying so far, but eventually there’s going to be pushback, and those faculty who want to sign on to these letters and shenanigans should beware.  Something else is going on here.

Alexander wrote on March 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Plenty of people leave. For example, just last week the music school lost a Grammy award winning group to Indiana. Last year, Harris Lewin, a Wolf prize winner left  to UC Davis. There are many examples I know of award winning, huge grant winning faculty taking their show elsewhere. I don't want to bother naming more names. Admittedly, I cannot be sure in each case what the reasons are, but you can be sure the current climate on campus isn't helping. So, what you miss in your "analysis" is that quality not quantity of loss is the most important thing. One faculty member can be a cornerstone of a department's (and school's) reputation (see: Leggett). 

Finally, since you've been so polite in characterizing these hard working people, let me end with the trite but apt rhetorical question: what have you done of importance in your life? 

syzlack wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Sure people leave, but they also arrive.  They leave for more money or to more prestigious departments.  Both applied to the Indiana Music School situation.   And yes grant winning faculty do go elsewhere, often for better terms, or for instance to Stanford, a better quality of life.  And sometimes its a spouse who can't stand Champaign and/or is treated somewhat shabbily by the University and wants to go to a more urban area.  This is UIUC's biggest handicap in recruiting faculty.  I've heard of one faculty member who left for a looser envirnoment because he felt constrained by the ethical limitations the U of I imposed. Some get better offers from industry and go to be relieved of all the teaching and onerous committeework, while still being able to do their research.  But I seriously doubt the "current climate" is all that important a consideration, although there are certainly forces who are doing everything they can to gin it up and foment discontent.  This smacks a little of those always bemoaning the business climate, and then blackmailing the state into giving them tax breaks to stay.  The issues here are not ethics, its about maintaining poliltical power and elite status, and not wanting to be associated with UIC and UIS, who work just as hard as UIUC people, and as hard as all the staff, mechanics,  etc.

Alexander wrote on March 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Re: "people come, people go" argument: this again concerns the quality vs quantity argument. Most people who come are assistant professors who may very well become distinguished etc. Most people who leave are exactly those that can: either assistant professors who have done very well or older distinguished faculty. I don't think losing a Lewin to UC Davis is easily compensated by an assistant professor hire. 

Re: reasons people leave: I agree with all your points but not the conclusion! It's because of all the stated "deficits" of the town that one has to be especially careful to provide other attractions. The main attraction of UIUC to most faculty is the high quality of the school and the students. Anything to erode that quality is exactly the central issue to retention and/or recruitment. Indeed, ethics (or lack thereof) definitely has an effect. I'm not going to go as far as saying that to a legal certainty that Hogan is guilty of any violation. However he's done/said/not done enough to merit the close scrutiny he's receiving.

Re: "political power and elite status" argument: I don't regard this as a real argument. It's essentially an ad hominem attack using the standard Republican perversion of "elite". However I will say this in response: yes, it is a political power and status fight, as it should be. Do you think people invested in UIUC should roll over and give up either without compensation? Your argument could be equally applied to a game of basketball: how dare team X argue about a foul! They're just "elites" who want to win the game! Why don't you apply the same argument to UIC and UIS faculty who want to gain advantages at the expense of UIUC? Is UIC full of "elites" who think that they're better people because they live in Chicago and that more attention should be paid to them? No, there are no "elites", it just basic survival instinct for all parties involved. In the case at hand, the "foul" is the whole Troyer situation.

syzlack wrote on March 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

I don't have much quarrel about with your statement, except for a couple of things.  One is that losing a big name and replacing with a new assistant prof is a little overstated.  Many new hires are laterals from other prestigious universities, or are particularly promising new people. Losing big names is not generally a good thing, although occassionally it's like a baseball club letting a big slugger go at the end of his career to dump the salary, and get several  fresh young talents to replace him.  Not often, but sometimes, Illinois refuses to match salaries offered by other universities, and is happy to do so.  And there are and have been plenty of times when the UI would love to get rid of some of the long-term faculty but are unable to. 

My comments about elite status have nothing to do with the petty resentments of the Republicans.  The faculty who are causing this commotion have been quite explicit about protecting their elite status and higher rankings, (which allows better pay and higher tuition in some cases, and better less-troublesome students), not to mention the all-important prestige factor that is the gold standard in academe.  They are certainly justified in protecting their interests, and their belief systems about what makes a great university.  However, their interests may not be the same as the interests of the people of Illinois, and UIUC is still, however much people grumble about declining relative state support (which is a whole other issue full of red herrings), a PUBLIC university.  We should also be wary of the zero sum-game arguments that are floating around that UIS and UIC are attempting to raise themselves by tearing UIUC down.  Not really true.

Alexander wrote on March 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Re: "people coming vs people going": Your argument that we lose some "big names" but gain some back sounds reasonable, except that I am unaware of much (or actually, any) recent experience of the latter. I'm happy to be corrected. For example, off the top of my head, we've lost the musicians last week, Lewin, a top person in the library school as well as a top faculty in the law school. By the way, these are not always losses to "more prestigious" universities in a clear cut sense: e.g., Brandeis and UC Davis. Can you name four top notch people during the same period that we've gained? How about if we restrict specifically to the departments that have encountered those losses? (BTW, I like Wise, but since she's an administrator, her presence doesn't do much for science here.)

I agree young hires are important, but just like your baseball example, they still need development and are very unlikely in almost every example to have the same impact _at the moment_ as a top mid-career professor. Also, unlike baseball, a university doesn't have them under contract in the sense that we can't "trade" a great young hire with other schools. If that hire leaves, the school gets nothing. 

Re: "zero sum" argument: Yes, UIUC is a public university and benefitting Illinois is an important concern, so it's not _exactly_ a zero sum game between UIUC, UIC and UIS. That said, a very strong public university (campus) is better for Illinois' R&D future than three so-so campuses. That's an opinion of mine, but a plausible one. Therefore, the situation reasonably justifies UIUC faculty strongly advocating UIUC's interests, with the argument that UIUC's interest are Illinois' interests as well. (At the same time, I acknowledge UIS and UIC people have the same reasonable justification for advocating for their interests.) As I summarized in my previous reply, I see nothing "elitist" about this. 

syzlack wrote on March 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I am not personally affiliated with university and I don't know of any recent current "big names" hired, but I am aware of at least a few highly regarded early and mid-career hires.  As to Lewin, he was recruited in 2010 to become vice chancellor of research at Davis by Chancellor Linda Katehi, former UI provost.  Lewin's alma mater is Davis, and for both Katehi and Lewin, the move there was a career advancement.  In terms of prestige of ag schools, which is Lewin's field, Davis is every bit as prestigious as the U of I, and in some areas no doubt more so (although I seriously doubt this had anything to do with his move).  Plus Davis is an easy hour drive into the SF Bay area and all the amenities that offers--if I was a native city boy I'd certainly take that into consideration.  I don't know who went to Brandeis, which although smaller than UI is excellent in many areas.  I presume the lost law prof you mention is the one who went to Georgetown, ranked 13, compared to Illinois current 35, in a far more interesting city than CU and with much better air connections, which mattered.  The point is, we really have to look at the details of each move, in and out.  I've seen no evidence that great faculty are packing up and leaving, or others are turning down coming here because Hogan is a big meanie.  The claims that this sort of stuff is happening strikes me as hyperbole and the proverbial smoke being blown...

On the other hand there is some indication that in some corners Illinois is failing to attract who they want because of dissaray and problems in some sectors that have nothing to do with the current central administration. 

In fact, I know of several high-quality and prestigious faculty who left Illinois in large measure because of the activities of the previous administration.  And I've seen highly-recruited faculty leave, or very nearly leave, because some of the old guard "distinguished" faculty completely dropped the ball, to put it mildly.  And to repeat what you note, when we lose people like that we indeed get nothing in trade, except bad press in the back corridor discussions.

Two final points and then I suggest we find a more suitable place to discuss this than the commentary board of an old article in a not particularly well-read newspaper.  Where that might be, I don't know.

One is that I think we need to strip the word elite of its perjorative context and consider it simple descriptive.  I have no problem with the elite faculty defending their interests, and advancing the notion that their interests are in the best interests of the people of Illinois.  I am, however, not convinced of that, and think simple vanity is involved in a number of cases.  More broadly, it's time to start having a serious discussion about how to restructure higher education in Illinois.  The current system is a mess in more ways than one with unacceptable costs in an evironment of scarcer resources.  That is what needs to be addressed much more than the current euphamistic and red herring debates about ethics, and fouls and "bullying" kings. 

That is all a tempest in a pisspot compared to the real issues, and it appears that the new BOT is intent on pursuing just these real issues, a great improvement over the last disasterous BOT and the terrible decisions and hires they were involved in.  (Thank you Gov. Quinn).  Right now, there is a small group of faculty, about 130 out of a FTE total of almost 3000, that is charging that the university now has failed governance, when it is only their agitation that is causing the problem.  The various reasons for this agitation need to be examined more closely in public, but the board knows what they are, and it seems clear that they are going to back Hogan, let public opinion turn, as it appears to be doing statewide if not in CU, against this faculty group, and let them hang themselves. Those wanting to get on that bandwagon out of some vauge sense of grievance should be cautious.


Alexander wrote on March 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I acknowledge that your arguments form a plausible interpretation of the situation, while I maintain my own arguments form a reasonable hypothesis as well. Some minor points of clarification:

1. I didn't mean to suggest UC Davis or Brandeis is obviously worse; they're just not obviously more prestigious. It's not as clear cut as losing someone to Stanford, for example.

2. The Brandeis case refers to a professor in the  library school, as reported in this newspaper.


syzlack wrote on March 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Fair enough.  Over and out.

zeke99 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

This was copied and pasted from Word. Lisa, is that you?

catharsisnow wrote on March 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

The University of Illinois dealt with the Category I scandal and resolved it before Hogan arrived.

You should be praising Professor Moore for writing an excellent set of letters to the BoT articulating very well all that is wrong with the leadership of the current President.

syzlack wrote on March 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

While the Category 1 scandal has been technically resolved, it still hangs over the campus in several ways.  One is that culture that was created that allowed such things, still exists in many quarters of campus.  For instance, the recent admissions scandal at the law school, which accounts for much of its drop in rankings from 23 to 35, is not entirely unrelated to the Category 1 atmosphere.  And Hogan's aggressive investigation into that latter scandal is likely not unrelated to law professor Michael Moore's attacks, which are taking on the odor of a vendetta. 

Moore's recent letters have hardly been excellent.  They are shrill, hysterical and as Hardy noted, full of inaccuracies and innuendos.  It's also worth noting that Moore was the author of the letter to the Tribune when they first broke the Category 1 scandal that said the Trib was making a mountain out of a molehill, and that everybody else was massaging admissions for political points anyway, so what's the big deal.  In other words, it's hard to believe that this latest outburst has much to do with "ethics," beyond being a euphamistic bat with which to beat Hogan with.

catharsisnow wrote on March 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Nothing unethical?

Under Hogan's watch, his Chief of Staff - according to the Anonymous E-mails investigative report findings - sent anonymously e-mails to the USC pretending to be a Senator...

The Office of the President put together an external review team to report on the University's enrollment management practices... and then the Office of the President edited a draft of that report... before sharing it with the BoT as the product of an external review team (!)... 

Bullying the Chancellor with belittling language and treating the Chancellor like his personal administrative assistant...

Continuing to employ Troyer after she resigned...

Sending to his supervisor a draft of a document he received anonymously...

The pattern gets long, really long.

Sure, the President is ethically spic and span!

zeke99 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Don't forget writing recommendations for "independent" consultants to pass off as their own. It definitely happened with Enrollment Management and probably happened with IT consolidation.

syzlack wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

None of that is particularly unethical, at least not anywhere near the unethical behavior of previous administrators at UIUC.  The pattern is long if you look at the institution as a whole, but not long at all for this President. It's about the prestige thing, and something approaching vengence or cya.  The battle is with the BOT, for whom Hogan was carrying out his charge, and that's the target of all this political pressure. 

zeke99 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Particularly unethical? We really are in Illinois when there's levels of unethical behavior that are apparently acceptable.

basset wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

What if Troyer is telling the truth?   Perhaps not likely, but not as far-fetched as it seems.  If she didn't send the emails, then ........

zeke99 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

If you read the report, the only way she didn't send them is if someone else was in the room with her and using her computer while she was logged into it with her full knowledge. Any other explanation would require wizards and faeries.

If there is a cover up, Hardy doesn't know about it because he'd be silly to say that Troyer was not covered by any confidentiality agreement.

Denny wrote on March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

It wouldn't be the first time somebody at U of I wrote fake emails and forged someone's signature to dodge responsibility.  Wait, one of them is working for Hogan right now and the other is earning $300,000 per year at the College of Business.  Maybe the whole story will come out at some point despite everybody hiring lawyers and hiding behind attorney-client privilege.

lcoil79 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm

While I agree that Hogan needs to go, can we really afford to have yet another high level administrator not doing anything, yet getting paid for it?  Just how long does he have on his contract?  Even if he has a 5 year contract, with 3.5 years left, firing him will cost us $2.17 Million.  Pretty cushy to be fired and still make a ton of money. 

Put it this way, make him a lame duck President.  Restrict his perks and any applicable raises to nothing more than what is in the letter of his contract.  Unless he is granted re-imbursement for everything from fuel costs to his University paid cell phone, cut any rubber-stamp re-imbursing.  Make him prove every phone call, text, and mile he drives is University related, if not, then he pays for it out-of-pocket.  Does he get meals out with visitors paid for?  If so limit the amount covered.  Does he hold any "power" not specifically declared to the President?  If so, take it away.  Turn him into a figure-head and nothing more.  Then, he will either resign to get away (which we won't have to pay him for unless agreed), or he can be fired for gross-negligence/incompetence of his post if he doesn't live up to his contractual duties (also for which we might not have to pay depending on the contract). 

Would we have a deadbeat President for the next 3.5 years?  Sure, but it's better than rewarding him for it.  We won't get anywhere by hiring corrupt crooks if all we do is throw money at them a few years later, it'll just encourage it to happen more.  We need to take a hard-line stance on this kind of thing and show without a shadow of doubt that it will not be tolerated in our flagship university system, otherwise what's the point of have a system of higher learning in the state that we should be proud in.  God knows we can't be proud of our criminal athletes, so we should at least have a criminal-free administration doing what the University is supposed to be doing, educating.

asparagus wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm

If he gets fired that will be far worse punishment for him.  We cannot tolerate someone like him in office any more than we did Blago. The key is to not make the mistake of a bad hire again!

catharsisnow wrote on March 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

The BoT entrapped itself. They started giving this President power, a lot of it. It has now become crystally apparent that he "got drunk on it" and went too far. Well, he arrived tipsy from UConn (ever heard of the cardboard cutouts of Him placed around the UConn campus?) and then started binge-drinking from the fountain of power provided generously by Kennedy and the rest of the BoT. Bullying the Chancellor. Commissioning external reports that proved to be not external afterall. Meeting with the Deans without the Provost/Chancellor. As I've discussed elsewhere in these threads the pattern is way too long. But we should not forget that it is the BoT that provided the wind under his wings all this time up until last week's emergency meeting which might have not occurred if it were not for the damning-for-Kennedy Chicago Tribune editorial and cartoon.

There is only one solution to the problem. A change in leadership. It should have happened in January - yes two months ago - but it is never too late! I am afraid at this point however that perhaps it should not be just Hogan that goes. The BoT needs to look itself in the mirror to identify more bad apples who failed to provide top notch oversight of the Office of the President. The serious delay in dismissing the President has resulted in so much negative publicity that it is not possible to quantify the damage. A new Chair for the BoT, too. Yes, why not? Their failure to see the warning signs early enough is threatening to have this situation degenerate into a full fledged crisis for our University.

Imagine that we would still be in the dark about all the unethical behavior if it weren't for one ingenius faculty member from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Add to it a $200,000 investigation... innumerable FOIA requests...

It's anyone's guess what else is going to be revealed before the downward spiral ends.

SwirlingVortexOfDoom wrote on March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

'Hogan eateth not his words when he hath through a Hardy-Troyer spoken"

buylocalurbana wrote on March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

This really is a Hogan problem at root, not just a Troyer problem. Troyer says in an email to HR, on 2/13:

"The University cannot expect and ask for work from an individual and not pay her. Again, if you have any questions or need some higher authority or funding source on this, please
contact the president. He and others reporting to his office can verify the work I performed and can also confirm that the expectation that I would be smoothly transitioned to a faculty appointment." [ , p. 15]

But Hogan told the N-G just last week that this isn't true:

Hogan said he still talks to her and "she's still a friend."

"I do try to give her a call once in a while just to see how she's doing," he said. He's also touched base with her when he needed to find a document or other information. [...] Since Troyer's resignation, Hogan said, he's distributed her work to others in the office, including former Vice President Avijit Ghosh, a part-time special assistant to the president. []

Is she lying, or is he throwing her under the bus? Why did he not say that she only resigned her chief-of-staff role, not her overall administrative position? Why didn't he say that she was still working full time on all of the duties she described in the emails? Very strange -- get to the bottom of it, N-G! You're doing great so far! The Daily Illini has been worthless on this, and spring break starts tomorrow, so we'll not see anything there. The Tribune finds it amusing, but isn't really making an effort.


GoingtoHeck wrote on March 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

I agree.  There are certainly more questions at this point than answers and it all smacks of cover-up.  Also, kudos to the News-Gazette for great investigative reporting!!!  What I'd love to see is any/all communications regarding how Troyer managed to land the 0% faculty position in Psychology.  Why wasn't it in Sociology?  Was there some pushback there?  Either way, both Hogan and Troyer need to be gone from UI.  There will be no healing of this open sore until that happens.

syzlack wrote on March 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

I wouldn't presume the Tribune is not making an effort.  They know more than you think, and are not quite as gullible as some.

sgraham48 wrote on March 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

Based on my 25 years experience at the U of I, here is my understanding of what should probably occur when a person leaves one U of IL position and moves to another. 

First, when Ms. Troyer submitted her resignation, an effective date should have been recorded.  That date determines when the position is terminated.  When Troyer was hired to her new position, a start date was recorded.  That date determines when her new responsibilities begin.  Ms. Troyer was not obligated to do any work after her termination date.  If she did, then she did it outside the appointment and during the time of her new one.  So.....she was working not only on her own clock, but on the clock of her new hiring department when she did work for Hogan. 

Secondly, it is customary to disable access to computer systems used to perform work at the terminated department (i.e., security access is modified to reflect the new appointment).  There are occasions when old access is retained, but in instances that involve questions about ethics, I find it unusual for old access to be continued.  However, that call is usually up to the "authorizer."  In this case, Mr. Hogan is the likely approver.

So, if Ms. Troyer continued to work for Mr. Hogan beyond her termination date, it was on her dime.  If work was done on her time, it would need to be with approval of her new department.  If she accessed files to do work for Mr. Hogan after her new appointment, her computer access would need to be approved to do that.

jdmac44 wrote on March 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

Where's Donald Trump when you need him?

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

Any work that Troyer did during the time between her "resignation", and her new "appointment" on her computer access would be interesting either to deny, or prove her contention that she was "working".  She has proven up to now not to be computer literate in her actions.  Was the investigation soley on her anonymous e-mails?  What about the entire computer usage time from her start date as Chief of Staff up to the present time?  If an investigation is going to be done; why not do it completely including interviews with the threat of perjury for false statements?  She is a state employee.  Why not treat her as one?  It is an insult to all state employees, state university employees, and the taxpayers for the elite to be excused from what is standard for all other state employees.  When this scandal first came up; she should have been put on paid administrative leave.  She should have been denied access to her workplace, and computer usage.  She would either have availed herself to interviews with the threat of perjury if falsehoods were made; or she would have resigned from state university employment.  Following the complete investigation; she would have either retained her job as Chief of Staff, or have been terminated from employment with no pay offs for a contract.  For an institution of higher learning; the U. of I. has been either inept, or criminal in it's handling of this scandal.

catharsisnow wrote on March 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

Lisa Troyer claims that she was reading the President's e-mail and helping Him answer his FOIA requests after she resigned. If her claims are true, I am very surprised that none of Hogan's high-pay leadership team stepped up to disallow her access to the President's e-mail account. I cannot be sure of what happened perhaps they did try to intervene and the President ordered them to do what he wanted. Why would anyone allow a transition plan from a discredited employee or from an employee under investigation? Hogan's leadership team has a responsibility that extends beyond protecting the Office of the President. They have a responsibility to protect the institution!

I am afraid we need more FOIA requests to disentangle the ethical mess...

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

syzlack; People have been asking each other in the comments "Are you Lisa Troyer?"  It seemed far fetched that Lisa Troyer would use an alias to comment on media coverage of herself.  That would be unethical.  What do you think?       

syzlack wrote on March 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

That *is* farfetched.  I'm actually Moe Middlefork.

Alexander wrote on March 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Or Moe Syzlack, of Springfield fame.

wayward wrote on March 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Szylack's initial comments did seem sort of similar to Troyer's writing, but the subsequent comments really don't.  There's still a resemblance between the anonymous emails sent to the faculty senate and Troyer's known writing, but Szylack's starting to sound more like a guy who's followed UI goings-on for a long time.

wayward wrote on March 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm


Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

wayward; Are you Hercule Poriot? :)

wayward wrote on March 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Nah, just curious. :)

Alexander wrote on March 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

Having interacted some with syzlack I somewhat doubt (s)he is Troyer. What I can surmise is that syzlack is very intelligent, and is highly knowledgeable about the UI. If I were to take his/her assertion that (s)he is not "affiliated personally" with the UI at face value, then I would presume that (s)he is a close friend/or family member of someone who is. The other point I'd like to ask about is what happens when you run the software on the writings of other people and compare with Troyer's known writings. Would you get similar results? In any case, I don't really see the point of outing anonymous posters. (I am not Lisa Troyer.)

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

I agree with you about the intelligence, and knowledge about the U. of I.  Your right about not having a witch hunt outing anonymous posters.  The News Gazette would be put in an awkward situation.  One has to enter one's e-mail address, and other information in order to comment.  While it would be a great news story, it would violate the confidentiality of commenters.  Your comments, and mine could be run on the same software.  Although with my spelling, and my previous comments; it is pretty clear that I am not Lisa.  Just as you are not Lisa in your previous comments.  I do find myself being curious as to the motivation of syzlack.  It is a rarity for someone to defend the alleged offenders in this scandal.  syzlack has every right to do so though.  I suppose anonymous e-mails, and anonymous comments in this current U. of I scandal lead to speculation of more deception.  This scandal will not be news within the next couple of weeks.  It will only exist in the memories of previous U. of I. wrong doings.  It will be commented on again when the next U. of I scandal erupts.

syzlack wrote on March 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

OK, for the 4 or 5 people still following this thread, some final comments here.

I just saw the Halfway Interesting post about my language being suspiciously similar to Lisa Troyer's, as revealed by the use of some NCSA text analysis software.  All I can say is "oh, brother."  If this is the kind of work the distinguished professors at NCSA are doing, then I say can them, and use the salary money to invest in whatever company Marc Andreesen is now involved with.  Get back some of those lost Netscape earnings.......  haha.

If Lisa Troyer were to be commenting on NG boards, she would be a far bigger dope than her most ardent detractors think.  C'mon, get real. She has far bigger fish to deal with.

Yes I have a fair amount of knowledge about the UI, although far less than many if not most of the people who spend their day there.  I've just been around it for many decades, and know a lot of people in various positions in and around it.  I'm hardly unique in that regard.

I don't think of myself as defending Hogan, per se, although I think he has not done anything particularly egregious, compared to the past and ongoing doings of academic administrators everywhere.  That doesn't mean I approve of what he's done.  Maybe he is a big jerk, but so what?  What I object to is the witch hunt being fomented by a few faculty acting like spoiled children that is poisoning the campus atmosphere.  And let's emphasize it's only this campus, and only parts of it.  UIC and UIS are not in an uproar over Hogan.  And as an example, I spoke with a mid-career UIUC faculty member yesterday who is as offended by the insurgents as I am.  This perception of some sort of universal disgust with Hogan, beyond the usual griping of people here, is not true.  Message boards on newspapers often give a very misleading impression of public opinion, and journalists who are new to a beat are often not very sophisticated in picking up on what the real issues are, who's politicking whom and how, etc.

My point has been that this whole attempt to can Hogan is a stalking horse or shadow campaign.  The real issue is the power relationship of the UIUC faculty, as perceived by a few of the "distinguished" chaired faculty, etc., to the BOT and to the general public.  The insurgents want absolute autonomy. Others think maybe they're a little too big for their britches and are obstructing needed changes in the delivery of the public higher education to the citizens of Illinois.  Beyond that, there are some nasty little personal grievances that are driving this, as is usually the case in academe or the corporate world for that matter, which if revealed would outrage everyone all over yet again.

But the central issue is how to structure higher education in Illinois, and that includes issues of access, affordability, flexibility, equity, historical disparities, and many others.  And to finally answer Sid's question, my motivation is primarily as an Illinois citizen who cares very deeply about public education and particularly higher education, as it becomes ever more essential to improving social and individual lives.






Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

From one Illinois citizen to another, I understand your view.  I am a retired state employee who dealt with academia including the U. of I. for 40 plus years.  My comments at times have been negative toward academia.  In regard to this issue; my disgust is toward higher administration whether university, or state that continues to work under an evident exemption from the Ethics Rules that all other employees work under.  I have no disgust of the faculty.  They have been the only group that has had any impact.  Granted, the impact appears to not have achieved the desired result.  My disgust is not how the university changes.  I do share the same issues that you listed in my concern for higher education though.  My disgust goes toward unethical behavior that is covered up when higher administration gets caught.  It is repeats it's self over, and over again.

wayward wrote on March 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

After seeing another poster ask if Szylack was Lisa Troyer, I was curious whether that could be the case.  There were a few things about the earlier comments that did look a little similar.  But after seeing more of Szylack, I'd bet against it.  Troyer often seemed to be trying to persuade others to do or believe something.  Szylack comes across as far less concerned about what other people think.