Letter From Some Chattanooga State Faculty Questions Actions Of Catanzaro

  • Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A letter from some Chattanooga State Community College faculty member questions the actions of longtime president Jim Catanzaro on his hiring of a chief innovations officer after meeting her in Barbados and on other issues.

Some 75 Chattanooga State faculty met last week and most supported a no-confidence statement concerning the community college leader.

The letter is to the audit committee of the Tennessee Board of Regents, which is carrying out its own investigation of President Catanzaro.

The letter says:

Dear Members of the Tennessee Board of Regents Audit Committee:

We, the faculty council at Chattanooga State have been monitoring the unprofessional and unethical events that have occurred at our college over the last year.

These events have been chronicled in several newspaper articles and opinion pieces. We are also aware that an audit team was on campus investigating ethical charges against the President. While we commend the work by the Times Free Press and the TBR audit team we feel it is our duty to add our voice to these embarrassing and harmful series of actions taken by the President. These actions have diminished college resources, lowered our morale and hurt our ability to provide educational and career opportunities to the citizens of Tennessee.

Here are the questions we have for the audit committee about the creation and staffing of the CIO position. While we do feel that there are other ethical issues and concerns that you should be investigating we wanted to focus on this particular hiring and related ethical concerns first.

1.     In creating the CIO position, what was the published job description and who wrote this description?

2.     How and when was the CIO position advertised?

3.     In hiring for the CIO position, who was on the selection committee?

4.     How many applicants applied for the CIO position and what were their job qualifications?

5.     Who vetted the application of the person hired for the CIO position?

6.     Who signed and submitted the paperwork to TBR to initially hire and then promote Ms. Haynes?

7.     Who signed and submitted the paperwork to the federal government to obtain a work visa for Ms. Haynes?

8.     When was it determined that Ms. Haynes did not have (nor could she document that she had) the required academic qualifications for the position of CIO?  

9.     When did you learn that Ms. Haynes did not have the academic qualifications for the position of CIO or the work visa required for her to hold the CIO position?

10.                        When you read at executive staff Ms. Haynes resignation letter, why did you subsequently say she never resigned?

11.                        When you said at executive staff that Ms. Haynes was issued a degree from Duquesne University what degree was issued? Who authorized the issuance of whatever degree was issued?

12.                        When Ms. Haynes explained at a Wednesday special executive staff meeting that her degree was withheld for having a balance due on her account, was she lying to you and your executive staff?

13.                        When Ms. Haynes explained at a Wednesday special executive staff meeting that her degree was not conferred by Duquesne University after the University conducted a degree audit and that she had no knowledge of this fact even after she submitted an unofficial transcript with her application for the CIO position that stated no degree was conferred, was she lying to you and your executive staff?

14.                        When you say that Ms. Haynes was instrumental in obtaining agreements with Gallup and Yeshiva University as proof that she doing her job, what documentation exists that we have signed agreements with these two entities?

15.                        How does executing agreements with Gallup and Yeshiva University, which you have framed as for-profit ventures, fit within the mission of the college?

16.                        How does executing a MOU with University of the West Indies, fit within the mission of the college? What positives outcomes have resulted from this agreement for the college and for the faculty?

17.                        Will you release your travel records and Ms. Haynes travel records over the last 12 months to assure us that your trips to New York City (Yeshiva University and Gallup) and Barbados (University of the West Indies) were only for the time frame necessary to accomplish college business?

18.                        If Ms. Haynes was as you are quoted in the Time Free Press, a most excellent CIO and one of your best hires in your career, why did you feel it was necessary to send her to Stanford University for training at the cost of $11,000 to the taxpayers of the state of Tennessee?

19.                        Several CIO support positions were created and staffed over the last two months. Did the resources for these positions come from money previously committed to academic affairs to fund teaching positions?

20.                        When Ms. Haynes addressed the Wednesday special executive staff meeting in bare feet did you not feel that this most excellent hire was less than professional than you originally thought?What professional and career qualifications did Ms. Haynes have that lead you to believe she was the most qualified applicant for the CIO position, a position that manages a $1.1 million dollar budget"

We, the faculty at Chattanooga State, formally demand that the Tennessee Board of Regents take appropriate and immediate action to restore Chattanooga State to the model of professionalism and ethical decision making that the citizens of Tennessee deserve."
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