U of I Board of Trustees chairman resigns
From online reports
Niranjan Shah, chairman of the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees, has resigned in the midst of an investigation into allegations of political clout being used to help get underqualified students into the state’s flagship university.
According to an Associated Press report, in a letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Shah said he made the decision to step down after members of a state commission investigating the admissions practices said they believed the trustees should resign. Trustee Lawrence Eppley resigned July 28, effective in 90 days. Shah’s resignation is also effective in 90 days.
In his letter to Quinn, the Associated Press reported Shah wrote: “I am not in public service for self-aggrandizement and therefore have no interest in a protracted process regarding my role. My interest is solely in the vitality of the University of Illinois.”
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been at the center of the investigation since the Chicago Tribune launched a series of investigative articles in May. The series showed how the university maintained a list of politically connected students known as “Category I.” The newspaper also reported how some underqualified members of the list were admitted under pressure from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), among other prominent individuals and public servants.
According to the Associated Press: “Shah had been accused of pushing to admit certain applicants and arranging for his future son-in-law to work for the school. Shah has denied trying to admit relatives to the school or being pressured by public officials to support certain applicants.”
The Illinois Admissions Review Commission was enacted by Quinn following the public acknowledgment of the Category I list. The commission’s final report is due this week.
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