U of I ‘clout commission’ recommends trustees resign
From press release
A panel commissioned to review the admissions policies at the University of Illinois issued its final report Aug. 6, which calls for the resignation of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
Members of the Illinois Admissions Review Commission believe trustee members should resign, allowing Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to decide what members to reappoint to the board and who should fill any vacancies.
The Commission also called on the new board to conduct a thorough review of the role played by U of I President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman in the “shadow admissions process.”
The Commission report said that while the process may have initially begun “as a seemingly innocuous way to ‘track’ inquiries from prominent individuals” it eventually “evolved (or devolved) into a ‘well-oiled’ machine that was perhaps unparalleled among universities in its level of formality and structure.”
In addition to asking for trustee resignations, the report also recommends the university eliminate the Category I admissions process, make public both the appeals process and any third-party inquiries, allow only students and family members to make official inquiries regarding an admissions application, and establish a state higher education inspector to conduct investigations of future violations.
The Commission was organized after a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered a culture of condoned corruption that tainted the admissions process at Illinois’ flagship university. The Tribune found that more than 800 undergraduate applicants, as well as law and business school candidates, received preferential treatment through the process, which was called “Category I.” These students were admitted to the state’s flagship university because of their ties to prestigious individuals, such as elected officials, wealthy donors, and university trustees.
As reported in the Aug. 5-11, 2009, edition of The Rock River Times, U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) was among the names mentioned during hearings to investigate the alleged preferential treatment.
As The Rock River Times article by reporter Stuart R. Wahlin read: “It is alleged legislators, contributors and alumni have exercised outside influence in the admissions process. Meantime, university lobbyists are also accused of meddling with admissions in exchange for funding consideration from legislators.
“During July 27 testimony, B. Joseph White, university president, was asked to address a 2006 e-mail in which he stated: ‘Congressman Don Manzullo from Rockford called me to tell me [redacted] has applied to our law school. Could I get a read on the application and let’s handle carefully. I’ll need to ensure no surprises to Don,’ stated the e-mail to Heidi Hurd, then-dean of the university’s law school, and Rick Schoell, who recently retired as executive director of governmental relations and director of federal relations. ‘Rick, Don was on his way out the door to catch a plane to D.C., said he has ideas for me about the medical college building at Rockford, need to talk again. Thanks. Joe.’
“Manzullo spokesman Rich Carter argued the White e-mail regarding the congressman was out of place at the hearing.”
Click here to read the complete article about Manzullo.
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