Gov orders U of I admissions review

U of I won't release 'clout' students' scores
June 10, 2009 (CHICAGO) The governor wants an independent panel to examine that admission process.

The panel setup comes following reports that less qualified candidates were admitted to the school because of their political connections.

The governor says he wants to see how bad that problem is and then figure out a way to get rid of it. He calls the alleged University of Illinois admission practice "troubling." Quinn was talking about alleged cases where less-than-qualified students were accepted based on who they know rather than what they know.

A recent Tribune report described the so-called admissions clout at the Champaign-Urbana campus. On Wednesday, the governor announced the formation of an admission review commission to look into that practice. It will be headed by the well-respected retired federal judge Abner Mikvah, along with several other business and legal authorities.

"We want to make sure that our universities - universities of Illinois and all the public universities of our state - have a process for admissions, an application that's fair, that's open. And I think the best way to do that is to have sunlight on this whole process," said Quinn. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant. That's what we're going to do here. We want to make sure the taxpayers and parents and students of Illinois know that this is on the square, that there is no kind of special process where individuals who have less qualifications are admitted because of their political influence or clout."

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn signed an executive order creating the commission. That panel will report back to the governor in 60 days. Their recommendation will then be applied to all U of I. campuses.

Meanwhile, U of I says it won't release test scores and grade-point averages for applicants who appeared on the so-called "clout list."

The Chicago Tribune says it will legally challenge the university's denial of the newspaper's Freedom of Information Act request for the documents.

U of I President Joseph White says releasing the test scores would violate students' privacy, even though they wouldn't be identified.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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