Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Tribune’

Back to the Future in Illinois Child Welfare

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Recent Chicago press accounts of unreported deaths among children managed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had a familiar ring for me. Some of the same cast of characters in the ACLU and Chicago Sun-Times campaign of 2002-2003 against Maryville Academy, a longstanding Catholic childcare institution, over one suicide were now attacking their own creation, the DCFS of today, over many unreported deaths.

Over ten years ago, I issued a challenge in a number of letters to the editors of Chicago papers to revisit the “reforms” of 2002-3 ten years hence to see it they actually made any difference. Today, the same ACLU court appointee is still monitoring DCFS, and some of the same Chicago Sun-Times reporters are ten years later writing about DCFS. At this point, to what good purpose?

Below are several letters I sent to various Chicago newspapers in 2002-3 during the Maryville Academy controversy, which forced out the long-time director of Maryville, Fr. John P. Smyth, in 2003. The core of my 2002-3 argument is drawn from two of these letters:

The enduring naive faith of Chicago child welfare reformers in, of all things, Illinois politics to provide stability for poor children is the core dumb idea to which crusading reformers return decade after decade, like the Biblical dog returning to its vomit. . . .

Both the civil libertarian and psychiatric elites are just as naive about the institutional sustainability of their ideas today as they were in the 1970s. They are banking on the state to fund and run child welfare, but they forget that every few years, the state’s budget collapses as it is doing now, and the rug gets pulled from under the indigent. With drastic cuts expected due to the Illinois fiscal crisis in state DCFS services, stable and prudently endowed independent institutions like Maryville continue to play a critical stop-gap role in serving children, and thus also the public interest. With the state’s resources melting down, the elite now turn to take control of Maryville. But Maryville’s service to children is an essential expression of Catholic religious freedom. We should fight very hard to prevent the takeover of Maryville Academy.

Here is the rest of my 2002-3 time-capsule below–

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September 6, 2002

Chicago Sun-Times

Dear Editor:

The 9/6/02 front page Sun-Times story, “Maryville is Losing Control,” had all of the familiar elements of the child welfare dilemma in Illinois going back over a century: the crusading attorneys, ever wise with infallible hindsight; the under-funded state agency, which passes its problems to the under-staffed religious institution; the psychiatric experts, who now know considerably more about drugs than about many other things; and the legislature, which would rather fund roads and casinos than kids.

One hundred years of ill-advised Illinois policy, misappropriation, and progressive humbug on child welfare all wound up in the last available place it could go, Maryville Academy, because by our century of child neglect in Illinois we have closed most of the rest.

So file the story away, noting the quotes of all the wise people who knew better than Fr. John P. Smyth. Then read this same story in ten years, and judge the effectiveness of the institutions, if there are any left in Illinois, which were organized by the same very wise people. Who of them would dare to so associate the success or failure of such a high-risk charitable effort with their own good name as had Fr. Smyth? Would the ACLU–present but somehow exempt from being quoted directly in the 9/6/02 story?

The real scandal remains that Illinois, from all sources public and private, funds less than one-third of the child welfare services that are necessary. If Fr. Smyth really had all the clout that the Sun-Times implied he did, he would have changed that. He has only spent a lifetime trying.

Sincerely,

Albert Schorsch, III

===

[unpublished]

December 11, 2002

Catholic New World

Dear Editor:

Recent media stories about Maryville Academy tell us more about the state of child welfare in Illinois than give us any clues for helping poor or disturbed children. We need to know more about Maryville’s place in child welfare history to understand just how unfair the campaign against Maryville is.

In her book, The Juvenile Court and the Progressives, author Victoria Getis described the gradual transition and transfer of child welfare resources in Chicago from idealistic social service at the turn of the 20th century to a growing child welfare apparatus linked with university-based research in following generations. My own summary is that more and more was spent maintaining over time the bureaucracy of judges, attorneys, psychiatrists, social workers, probation officers, guards, professor-evaluators, and support personnel than was spent caring for children. Catholic child-care facilities of this early era, then with independent financial resources from stable funds like religious cemeteries and cottage industries, were shielded from the ups and downs of government, and could provide children relative stability.

In the late 1960s, Illinois’ child welfare system reached a crisis point due to the explosion of urban poverty. Like other states, Illinois, at the behest of legislators for fiscal reasons and civil libertarians for idealistic ones, embraced the de-institionalization movement in child welfare, led in the 1970s by then Illinois DCFS head Jerome Miller. Many child-care institutions were closed, and many dependent teens and pre-teens found themselves on the streets. As a young graduate student in the early 1970s, I followed the fates of children sent away from the closed Angel Guardian Orphanage and other institutions into the alleys of Chicago’s Uptown, Juneway Terrace, West Town, and South and West Sides. Several of these kids wound up dead, and many more faced abuse. It was not Illinois progressivism’s finest hour. The full history of teen de-institutionalization was never told–too embarrassing for the press, the crusading attorneys, and the professors. Maryville director Rev. John Smyth learned the lesson of these years, and prudently built Maryville’s endowment.

If we fast-forward to today, we find the post de-institutionalization generation of civil libertarians now anointed as guardians of child welfare by the press and to a certain extent the courts, with few psychiatric facilities available to children thanks to previous “reforms.”

The civil libertarians now want to change the mission of Maryville Academy to match the latest in their long series of unproved psychiatric experiments. They who have never themselves successfully run a child welfare effort eye the $100 million Maryville endowment built by good Catholic stewardship– proper as it is for an almost 300-bed group of facilities–and want to take over Maryville. Until it stopped doing so on 12/9/02, the state continued to send disturbed kids to Maryville who didn’t belong there, problems developed, the press stepped in, and blamed Maryville. It is an old strategy, brought to perfection during the state’s institutional takeovers and shutdowns of the 1970s. So the press milks the Maryville story, rehashing headlines and adding roughly one new substantive quote a day.

When one thinks of the thousands of young lives sent hither and yon by court-appointed psychiatrists in the 20th century based upon now-discredited Freudian theories, we should be rightfully cautious when today’s child psychiatrists tell us that this time they really, really, have the answer for the development of children and their institutional care. A more sober assessment is that the present science of child psychiatry begins and ends with knowledge of the effects of drugs, and to a lesser extent the relationship between genetics, disease, and mental illness. Almost everything else psychiatric is educated guesswork clothed in mostly unproved scientific-sounding jargon, but Illinois child welfare pundits and the courts, who have failed children for generations, never have and might never ever admit it.

Maryville’s independence is good for the vast majority of children it serves, and is an essential expression of Catholic religious freedom to perform works of charity. We Catholics should fight very hard to prevent the takeover of Maryville Academy, and challenge the child welfare elite to try to do a better job–and to start by raising their own money to do so.

Peace of Christ,

Albert Schorsch, III

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REVISED [published] letter

December 22, 2002

Editor
Catholic New World

Dear Editor:

The recent unrelenting media campaign against Maryville Academy tells only part of the story of Maryville in Illinois child welfare past and present. In op-ed essays and puff-pieces in the daily papers, leading actors in child welfare now argue what they each want Maryville to be. Two years ago, the press had Maryville walking on water. What is going on?

Here’s what: a determined child welfare elite wants the state to take over Maryville and its multi- million dollar endowment, prudently built over a lifetime by Maryville director Rev. John Smyth for poor and dependent children. Standing in the elite’s way is the reputation of Rev. Smyth.

On the one hand of the elite are the civil libertarians. The press forgets that the civil libertarians cheered for de-institutionalization of youth and mental health institutions in the 1970s, a poorly planned and unfunded transition which led to the deaths and homelessness of uncounted poor persons. Almost thirty years ago I followed a number of the kids put out into the streets when homes like Angel Guardian Orphanage were closed: some wound up dead, some abused. Maryville director Rev. John Smyth learned the lesson of these years, and carefully built Maryville’s endowment.

Ironically, today a gullible press and the courts are persuaded that, having presided over one debacle, the civil libertarians need another crack at child welfare. It was ever thus. See The Juvenile Court and the Progressives, by Victoria Getis, which described how idealistic child welfare innovations became a bureaucracy of the elite.

On the other hand is the child psychiatric elite in Chicago, key actors among which have been publicly cited in recent years by the federal government for not obtaining legally effective informed consent from research subjects. The Chicago press has not done its homework, and has placed some big bets on the wrong horses.

Both the civil libertarian and psychiatric elites are just as naive about the institutional sustainability of their ideas today as they were in the 1970s. They are banking on the state to fund and run child welfare, but they forget that every few years, the state’s budget collapses as it is doing now, and the rug gets pulled from under the indigent. With drastic cuts expected due to the Illinois fiscal crisis in state DCFS services, stable and prudently endowed independent institutions like Maryville continue to play a critical stop-gap role in serving children, and thus also the public interest. With the state’s resources melting down, the elite now turn to take control of Maryville. But Maryville’s service to children is an essential expression of Catholic religious freedom. We should fight very hard to prevent the takeover of Maryville Academy.

Peace of Christ,

Albert Schorsch, III

===

[edited versions of this letter were published]

July 11, 2003

Catholic New World

Dear Editors:

Before journalists at both of Chicago’s dailies begin accepting awards from each other over the Rev. John P. Smyth’s 7/10/03 decision to step down from day to day directon of Maryville Academy, let us ask, What has been accomplished to improve child welfare in Illinois during the newspapers’ two year anti-Maryville crusade?

Not much. According to one of the papers this week, hundreds of DCFS wards still cannot be found in the state’s revolving-door foster care system. And what of the unrelenting source in Illinois of abused and neglected children–the unabated epidemic of physical and sexual abuse of children in poor and minority communities–which Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson has called America’s dirty secret? It is much easier for a newspaper to pick the low-hanging fruit of Maryville or any child-care institution for stories, transcribing from the ever-willing Cook County Public Guardian Patrick Murphy and ACLU’s Ben Wolf, instead of confronting in full detail the rampant beating and molestation of children in poor and minority communities which puts children by the thousands into DCFS’s care in the first place, and risking significant loss of readership. The latter would indeed merit a journalism award.

The Maryville stories are really about the money, the $100 million endowment raised by Fr. Smyth over forty years, which is mentioned in each story as if Smyth committed a crime. The newspapers, the Public Guardian, the ACLU, and the professors are in this story in order to direct how that money is used. But some us still remember why that money was raised: Thirty-five years ago, the newspapers and civil libertarians were riding another hobbyhorse, the move to de-institutionalize child care, which sent hundreds of DCFS wards out into the streets, and managed to kill a number of them. Smyth, a visionary, realized that the state’s child welfare system would always be under-funded and unstable, and that an institution like Maryville could provide uninterrupted service to children despite the foster care turnstyle.

The enduring naive faith of Chicago child welfare reformers in, of all things, Illinois politics to provide stability for poor children is the core dumb idea to which crusading reformers return decade after decade, like the Biblical dog returning to its vomit Face it, the state will never by itself solve the problem, and the jury is still out on whether the psychiatric model of child care favored by the reformers will even work on a large scale. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the psychiatric model turns out after a generation to be an unsustainable idea, too? That is why well-endowed and independent Catholic charities like Maryville will continue to make a significant contribution, despite everything.

There is a final delicious irony here. Usually, celibate priests are criticized for giving advice about sex. In Maryville’s case, the high priests calling for Fr. Smyth’s resignation are child care virgins, those who, unlike Smyth, have never run a large care institution. If Murphy’s or Wolf’s offices or ideas were submitted to the same evaluative scrutiny as was Maryville, would their bully pulpits long endure?

Sincerely,

Albert Schorsch, III

===

[published]

July 22, 2003

Editors, Chicago Sun-Times

Dear Editors:

Before journalists begin accepting awards from each other over the Rev. John P. Smyth ‘s decision to step down from day-to-day direction of Maryville Academy, let us ask: What has been accomplished to improve child welfare in Illinois during both daily newspapers’ two-year anti-Maryville crusade?

Not much. According to one of the papers, hundreds of DCFS wards still cannot be found in the state’s revolving-door foster care system. And what of the unrelenting source in Illinois of abused and neglected children–the physical and sexual abuse of children in poor and minority communities–which Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson has called America’s dirty secret?

It is much easier for a newspaper to pick the low-hanging fruit of Maryville or any child-care institution for stories, instead of confronting the rampant beating and molestation of children in poor and minority communities that puts children by the thousands into DCFS’ care in the first place.

The Maryville stories are really about the money–the $100 million endowment raised by Smyth over 40 years, which is mentioned in each story as if Smyth committed a crime. The newspapers, the public guardian, the ACLU and the professors are in this story in order to direct how that money is used. But some of us still remember why that money was raised: Thirty-five years ago, the newspapers and civil libertarians were riding another hobbyhorse: the move to deinstitutionalize child care, which sent hundreds of DCFS wards out into the streets, and managed to kill a number of them. Smyth , a visionary, realized that the state’s child welfare system would always be underfunded and unstable, and that an institution like Maryville could provide uninterrupted service to children despite the foster care turnstile.

Face it: The state will never by itself solve the problem, and the jury is still out on whether the psychiatric model of child care favored by the reformers will even work on a large scale. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the psychiatric model turns out after a generation to be an unsustainable idea, too? That is why well-endowed and independent Catholic charities like Maryville will continue to make a significant contribution, despite everything.

Sincerely,

Albert Schorsch, III

===

September 21, 2003

Catholic New World

Dear Editors:

The Illinois Governor’s 9/19/03 decision to pull state wards out of Maryville Academy’s main campus brought to light the media and political forces working against Maryville and other Catholic institutions, in manifold ways violating fair play:

* Media accounts on Maryville have repeated the mantra of “suicide, sexual assaults, beatings, drugs, runaways, etc.” often without numbering or dating these incidents, or publishing their number within the entire DCFS system to provide proper context.

* News accounts now devote significant space to editorializing on Maryville and rehashing old charges. When in late August, 2003 the Catholic New World contained an insert on behalf of Maryville, the Sun-Times and Tribune countered by devoting an entire weekend to repetitive stories about a non-event, the decision of the Maryville board not to attack Maryville critics via a media consultant.

* Numerous press accounts on Maryville gave the final paragraph to the ACLU’s Ben Wolf, and clearly reflected his point of view throughout.

* The media and DCFS have blamed Maryville for runaways in several articles for months, but only recently did the press reveal that the DCFS director maintained a statewide policy of allowing children the freedom to run away from institutions by mandating doors be unlocked.

* Headlines blared about the federal investigation into Maryville on Medicaid reporting, but there is not a major university or hospital in Chicago that has not been so investigated and disciplined. Because of the sheer complexity of tax and Medicaid regulation, few could withstand an audit. The Tribune Co. should know this very well, since it has itself been audited and hauled into federal tax court, as reported by the Sun-Times on 11/28/02, to face a $551 million tax liability on the acquisition of Times-Mirror Corp.

* Editorialists on Maryville have naively misunderstood their own role in the social service institution life-cycle. Charitable institutions, whether for the mentally ill, dependent children, or the homeless, serve a social control function–to take the poor off the streets and thereby make them invisible. Then the poor become so numerous in institutions that these become expensive and visible. Then the poor are scattered, in order to make them invisible and cheap to “assist” again. Then the cycle repeats, with help from editorialists who follow the Dilbert principle: “Decentralize what is centralized, and centralize what is decentralized, and you’ll look like an organizational genius.”

Unless he has clearly broken the law, Fr. John Smyth has earned the right after 42 years to remain at Maryville. The public debate about Maryville has revealed many hidden agendas, and forced actors in the drama out into the open, muting their power. Some good will surely come from this.

Peace of Christ,

Albert Schorsch, III

====

© Copyright 2002, 2003, 2013, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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Seventy-Five Years Since Cardinal Mundelein’s “Paperhanger” Speech

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

May 18, 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most memorable addresses by a clergyman in American history, the so-called “Paperhanger” speech of Cardinal George Mundelein (1872-1939), Archbishop of Chicago, during which Mundelein on May 18, 1937 in Quigley Seminary chapel called Hitler “an Austrian paperhanger, and a poor one at that.” Many American GIs and citizens referred to Hitler as a “paperhanger” during World War II as a result.

Several years ago, I composed an entry on the Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary Wikipedia page describing the significance of this speech, and the virulent reaction that followed from the Nazis in Germany, in which hundreds of German Catholic newspapers were closed.

Mundelein spoke out against the persecution of Catholics in Germany, and against the show trials of Catholic religious on trumped-up sexual immorality charges (sound familiar?), that Mundelein stated were designed to seize control of German Catholic schools, which at the time educated two million children. Mundelein said:

The fight is to take the children away from us. If we show no interest in this matter now, if we shrug our shoulders and mutter, ‘Maybe there is some truth in it, or maybe it is not our fight;’ if we don’t back up our Holy Father (Pope Pius XI) when we have a chance, well when our turn comes we, too, will be fighting alone. . . . Perhaps you will ask how it is that a nation of sixty million people, intelligent people, will submit in fear to an alien, an Austrian paperhanger, and a poor one at that I am told, and a few associates like Goebbels and Göring who dictate every move of the people’s lives.. (“Mundelein rips into Hitler for Church attacks,” Chicago Tribune, 5/19/1937, pg. 7)

Please refer to the Quigley Seminary Wikipedia Page for more details on the aftermath in Germany and America to Mundelein’s address.

While Mundelein’s speech put German Catholics at risk in Germany, it helped German Americans to break away from Hitler and to develop a distinct identity as Americans putting the public cloud for German national acts during World War I behind them.

Mundelein was unsparing in his remarks, and noted that the Nazis held power by “making every second person a spy,” “destroying civil liberties,” and by “forcing candidates for the religious life into work and military camps.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mundelein said:

“During and after the World War [I] the German government complained bitterly of the propaganda aimed at it by the Allies concerning atrocities perpetuated by German troops . . . Now the present German government is making use of this same kind of propaganda against the Catholic Church and is giving out through its crooked minister of propaganda [Joseph Goebbels] stories of wholesale immorality in religious institutions in comparison to which the wartime propaganda is almost like bedtime stories for children.”

Mundelein’s 5/18/37 speech followed by a few weeks the 3/14/37 encyclical of Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge, which attacked the racist Nazi ideology, and which was being rabidly suppressed at the time of Mundelein’s address. According to the Chicago Tribune on 5/22/37, the Nazi secret police were then on high alert in response to the distribution of 20 million copies of the encyclical, leading to seizure of eighteen German Catholic printing plants and to daily Nazi accusations of sexual scandal against the Church. Catholic priests were being attacked in the streets by even children, according to the Tribune, if they appeared in some quarters in clerical garb.

Mundelein’s “Paperhanger” speech was part of a concerted effort by the Catholic Church to defend religious freedom and human rights at the height of an anti-Catholic propaganda war by the Nazis, more than a year in advance of the Kristallnacht attack on German Jews.

I wonder if today’s Commonweal Magazine and America Magazine editors were around in 1937 whether they wouldn’t criticize Mundelein for meddling in politics or for being too “partisan.”

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Cardinal George’s apology about the Chicago Pride Parade and the Klan

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, offered on 1/6/12 via a Chicago Tribune interview a model first person, humble, concrete, non-metaphorical apology for his remarks about the Chicago Pride Parade 2012 and the Klan of 12/23/12, which he explained in an official statement on 12/27/12.

Particularly striking is the Cardinal’s owning not only his own fear for the religious freedom of the Catholic Church as well as his own love of his gay and lesbian family members and friends, but his willingness to share his regret for hurting others.

The quickest way to get into trouble is to speak an iconic metaphor in the middle of a controversy. Cardinal George’s 12/27/11 statement would have stood on its own merits without the following words: “One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan.”

The quickest way to apologize is to withdraw the metaphor and to state one’s regrets in the first person, taking ownership of and sharing one’s own feelings, while acknowledging the human rights and sensibilities of those who have been hurt.

Cardinal George has been blessed with the grace of apology. Cardinal George has not only apologized well, but set a tone for civil discourse on this issue.

In his book, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm described one common trait of oppressive societies: the lack of forgiveness. Cardinal George has shown humility, which opens the way for forgiveness.

I am thankful for Cardinal George’s apology, and I hope it is accepted with the same sincerity with which it was offered.

How refreshing to hear an apology from a public figure in Chicago that was not issued before a criminal courts judge: a rare event indeed!

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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To Build and to Heal: A Response to 9/11/01

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Late in the day on 9/11/01, I began to compose a short letter, which was published in the Chicago Tribune on 9/15/01:

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago, with the help of New York and of international financiers, boldly committed itself to rebuild bigger, and better.

With New York’s and God’s help, and with its own hands, Chicago did.

Other great cities of the world have known disaster:

London burned down several times in 2,000 years.

Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing and other capitals had been leveled during World War II.

Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans and, previously, by other Near Eastern kingdoms.

Rome was sacked several times.

Warsaw was turned into a ghetto by the Nazis.

Each recovered, and grew beyond previous limits to maintain world stature.

New York, as America’s Empire City and one of our symbols of hope and freedom, must rebuild and heal beyond what it lost.

In five to 10 years, the world must see on the New York skyline a new center of world enterprise and leadership.

Building and healing, not war-making, make the strongest statement against terror, because building and healing are what terrorists can never hope to do.

About a year later, on 9/5/02, I jotted some further reflections:

While the [rebuilding] will some day come to pass, the scope of the human healing and enterprise necessary to rebuild humbles the dreamer in us. According to press estimates, an amount of office space equal to all that in the city of Atlanta was obliterated on 9/11. Eighty-five thousand jobs and a major portion of the tax base of New York City have been lost. From a cold fiscal standpoint, New York has no choice but to rebuild.

Such a prospect offers little comfort for the human suffering and loss, which no brilliant scale model of the architects can ever heal.

So something greater than a mere set of buildings must be rebuilt to surpass the hurt and anguish. That something is the city itself, in all its mundane and transcendent meaning, in all its grit and humanity, in all that we love about each other.

© Copyright 2001, 2002, 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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UIC out of the CIC — Good for the State of Illinois? Good for the other States?

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

(An edited version of what I shared with university colleagues on 1/10/11. The University of Illinois at Chicago has been notified that its guest membership in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation will be terminated at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year.)

Colleague,

Some important points about CIC–

CIC guest membership for UIC functions to allow the University of Illinois as a whole to be on a par with other CIC members with medical center campuses, in that the medical center and health sciences of the University of Illinois are thereby included in CIC consortium activities and resources.

Without CIC membership for UIC, the medical center and health sciences of the University of Illinois may not have full access to CIC resources, and the University of Illinois would be in that major sense only a partial member of CIC. Whether the UIC Library of the Health Sciences would have the same panoply of resources without CIC is an important question. It is also questionable whether such a “no CIC for UIC” arrangement would be good for the State of Illinois.

In a given year, UIC’s total grants and contracts expenditures exceed or are on a par with U. Iowa, or U. Chicago, or all campuses of U. Nebraska combined. UIC qualifies as a RU/VH (Research University, Very High Activity; formerly “Research I”) under the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classification system.

The CIC arose during the period 1956-1958 at a time of several football scandals, during which many universities were accused of being “football factories.” CIC’s founding in 1958 can also be viewed as a response to the 1957 R&D challenge of Sputnik. The CIC collaboration positioned the Big 10 schools to better compete with the U. California system, with the Ivy League, and with the surging Texas universities for the funding coming for Big Science after Sputnik. The CIC also provided the Big 10 schools with the ability, like California already had, to develop a leadership pool from among the faculty, not to mention the advantages for libraries, student off-campus scholar studies, etc.

The CIC therefore had at least a dual function, as an academic “fig leaf” to protect against domination by the sports enterprise (a major portion of the economy of a college town), and as a competitive consortium to seek federal and other funding while building intellectual and organizational capacity.

But today it is unclear from the CIC website what the CIC’s mission actually is, other than being the Big 10’s “academic counterpart.”

One might observe that there is a lot of unrealized potential in the CIC. It does appear to need a better defined sense of mission. If this mission were specifically established to advance higher education, research, and thereby economic development in the participating states, then clearly, all RU/VH universities within the participating states would have to be included in order to build the maximum capacity.

In 1984, the CIC actually attempted to take the lead in establishing a regional industrial policy for the Midwest, per an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on 6/10/84 by Allen Batteau, then acting assistant director of CIC. Shouldn’t the CIC return to an economic development function for its states, especially in this time of economic trial? Don’t we need the _maximum_ research capacity of each state to work collaboratively to do that?

One might propose that CIC membership include those universities in the state systems which have reached status of RU/VH, Research University/Very High Activity, as UIC has. This would rule out U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but might include Wayne State University, which is an RU/VH as well. Wouldn’t that also be good for the _state_ of Michigan?

If the CIC is a club that is really, deep down, a sports club, then, by “club” logic, out UIC goes, and out stays Wayne State. It is tempting to use other sports analogies, in which the big kids don’t want all their little kid brothers and sisters to play either.

But if research, higher education, extension services, and especially R&D-based economic development within the participating states really do matter to the CIC, then with a better-defined sense of mission, the CIC might give the participating states and universities something of the advantage that the University of California system has (or used to have).

In the present economic development and R&D context, removing UIC from the CIC takes roughly 5% of the research capacity of the CIC off the top, and that doesn’t make any sense from the standpoint of building public goods. Adding Nebraska, Lincoln in doesn’t make up the difference–unless one includes all the Nebraska campuses in the CIC, which did not happen.

If the CIC is about research, academic collaboration, and R&D-based economic development to benefit the participating states, as one might think it should be, then UIC’s CIC membership allows the University of Illinois to fully participate in membership along with other CIC members with medical center campuses, and also benefits the CIC, in that it helps the CIC build maximum capacity. Although this might be temporarily inconvenient perhaps for the _universities_ of Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and Wisconsin, this would be good for the State of Illinois. And in the long run, wouldn’t it be good for all participating _states_ as well?

So my question is, how is the removal of UIC from the CIC _good_ for the State of Illinois, and in the end for the other participating states? And aren’t these the most important questions we should be asking about CIC?

===

From my earlier internal campus post on the CIC from 12/24/10–

I can give one example of the benefits of CIC membership for UIC. Several years ago, UIC participated with Northwestern and the University of Chicago in the federal NSF grant to get the Chicago Census Research Data Center set up at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago.

This center gives researchers access to confidential census data under controlled conditions, and has allowed UIC researchers to combine other data sets with confidential census data to embark on significant studies. Due to the complexity of urban and regional problems, access to such data is critical for addressing fundamental questions about public policy and quality of life.

The CIC cooperative networks helped pave the way for the inter-university cooperation leading up to the Chicago RDC, if I’m not mistaken. I recall that Profs. Dick Campbell and Barry Chiswick were among participants in the discussions leading up to the foundation of the Chicago RDC, and that I represented CUPPA. My apologies for not remembering the names of all the many colleagues from several UIC colleges who participated in the discussions back in 2002-3 on this project. (Interesting that the University of Illinois is credited on the Chicago RDC website, since the Chicago campus, UIC, took the initiative on the foundation of the Chicago RDC.)

Here is more background on UIC’s involvement in the foundation of the Chicago RDC.

BTW, not enough of our colleagues at the University know about the resources available at the Chicago RDC, despite UIC’s role in its foundation!

So yes, CIC membership matters big time.

===

Some background on CIC.

On why Nebraska president thinks CIC matters.

On CIC in general.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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A comment on the remarks of two Catholic Chicago judges

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Much has been said and written about the recent comments of two prominent Catholic women, each a judge from Chicago, on their disappointment with Pope Benedict XVI and the Church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, a former member of the National Review Board established by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to address the sex-abuse scandal, recently suggested that the Pope switch to a black cassock and don other than red shoes as an act of penance over the Church’s handling of the scandal.

Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien wrote in the 8/4/10 Chicago Tribune a plea to “Excommunicate me, please,” out of her frustration with the Catholic Church over the abuse scandal.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Justice Burke on several occasions, a few being events of the former Reynold Hillenbrand Institute in Chicago. Chicagoans know that Justice Burke played an integral role years ago in the establishment of the Special Olympics, and that she is a very committed, talented, and special person. I do not recall meeting Judge O’Brien.

But as a Chicagoan, I must observe that it is rather contradictory for Chicago judges to be so very shocked at the Catholic Church, and to be generally silent on the long and jaded history of corruption in the very political party that benefited and advanced them almost every step of the way to their positions of prominence. I do not recall that these judges have called for the ward committeemen who slated them for election in exclusive sessions over the years to change their apparel, or to do penance for anything. Nor have these judges asked their political party to expel them out of embarrassment over their political party’s actions, or for that matter over their political party’s anti-life positions.

Indeed, political corruption is enabled, and government-reform factions appeased and kept within a winning voting coalition, when a few qualified judges like Justice Burke and Judge O’Brien are slated for judicial election along with former precinct captains and assorted other political hacks. For this corrupted judicial appointment arrangement to work, it is essential that qualified judicial candidates keep substantial silence about political corruption, and in some cases, the very means of their own selection to the bench.

I do agree that all of us Catholics should do penance, pray over, and work to end the sex-abuse scandal. But I also think that we Catholics have an obligation, if we work within one of the most corrupt political environments in the United States, to speak out about it on occasion.

The more silent one might feel constrained from speaking out about one’s job or one’s government, the more perfect one wants the Church to be.

Please see a classic article by journalist Abdon Pallasch on how Illinois and Chicago judges are slated for election. The slating of Justice Burke is described in the article.

Update:

On 8/11/10, I received a very cordial note from a person identifying herself as Judge O’Brien, who stated: “Just one note: I was not endorsed/slated by the Democratic party or any party in my run for public office. I ran against the Democratic party’s endorsed candidate.”

I thank the Judge for her kind note, and wish her well in her government reform efforts.

© Copyright 2010, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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