The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Furlough Follies: Cheng Stumbles

with 3 comments

SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng held a town hall style meeting in the Student Center ballrooms Tuesday to discuss the upcoming furlough days. Unfortunately, Cheng blew it.

When a questioner asked if she would follow President Glenn Poshard’s lead and take six furlough days, she replied that she wouldn’t. Cheng said it wouldn’t make any difference, so she’d just take four days like everyone else. She complimented Poshard’s generosity.

She totally missed the point. Poshard isn’t taking six furlough days because he’s generous. He’s taking six days because, as a politician, he understands that public perception matters.

It is unwise for an administrator making $350,000 per year to demand that employees making $25,000 per year take four furlough days and refuse to take a larger number  herself. Cheng had an opportunity to show that she was willing to take a larger cut to her much larger salary in order to put SIUC’s fiscal house in order. She passed.

Public perception counts. If Cheng doesn’t believe that, she should go over to the School of Architecture and ask Walter Wendler. The perception that Wendler was an out of touch tyrant undoubtedly aided his undoing. Cheng should avoid his mistakes if she wants to avoid his fate.

Comments are welcome.

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3 Responses

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  1. […] mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but I was disappointed with Chancellor Cheng’s decision not to take six furlough days […]

  2. […] a comment » Last week I wrote two posts (one, two) criticizing SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng for refusing to follow President Poshard’s lead […]

  3. […] cannot be run like one. A dictatorial management style is certain to fail at SIUC. As I’ve said before, the perception that former chancellor Walter Wendler was a tyrant contributed to his downfall. […]


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