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Chicago State President Who Weathered Many Controversies Will Retire

[Updated (2/6/2015, 3:31 p.m.) with comment from the university.]

The president of Chicago State University announced on Friday that he would step down after a highly controversial tenure, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Wayne D. Watson, who became president in 2009, will leave the post next year.

Among the controversies that played out under Mr. Watson’s leadership:

  • A state audit found in 2012 that the university had lost track of $3.8-million in equipment.
  • Mr. Watson beat a bid to oust him in 2013.
  • The university’s former legal counsel sued the institution in 2010, alleging he had been fired for reporting misconduct about top administrators. A judge last year awarded him $3-million.
  • Last year Chicago State’s interim provost was accused, then cleared, of plagiarizing her dissertation.
  • Mr. Watson and the Chicago State faculty sparred constantly and intensely.

“There are many reasons why now is the right time,” Mr. Watson said in a written statement to the newspaper. “The university has made significant progress in its academic, athletic, and administrative capacities, and we’ve accomplished much of what we set out to achieve in terms of right-sizing the ship and putting the university in a position to succeed moving forward.”

A news release from the university credited Mr. Watson with renewing its accreditation, strengthening its athletic department, and forging “a renewed engagement with surrounding communities.”

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