UofI clout review: Trustees should resign

August 6, 2009 (CHICAGO) Two of the trustees already stepped down a few days ago, and, after the Admissions Review Commission released its report and recommendations on Thursday afternoon, another trustee quit.

Edward McMillian, who was just appointed by Governor Quinn in May, says he would like to comply with the commissions recommendations.

The University of Illinois admissions process is now clout-free, according to a state panel created to investigate the admissions process. After eight weeks of hearings, the panel issued a 45-page report that calls for a variety of changes.

"I think the clout issue is dead. I don't think any parent or any student has to worry of being denied admission to the school because somebody clouted their way in," said Bernard Judge, Admissions Review Commission.

The panel was created by Governor Pat Quinn following a Chicago Tribune investigation that revealed students who were qualified to get into the U. of I. and its graduate schools were passed over for lesser qualified kids with political connections. In its report the panel is recommending all trustees, who have not already done so, to submit their letters of resignation.

"We do believe that this new trustee board will be watching very closely, very carefully and setting boundaries and parameters," said Doris Lowry, Admissions Review Commission.

And while the panel is not recommending the resignations of the university's president, chancellor and dean of the business school, it is asking those three people tough questions about their involvement in the scandal. In addition, the report calls for a changed admission policy.

"The admission policy at the University of Illinois has to be redone and reconstituted to guarantee that there will be no more outside influences from legislators, trustees and other folks of power," said Judge.

Commissioners with the admissions review panel say what surprised them the most during their eight week investigation was the amount of students with clout admitted to the University of Illinois law school. The panel says it was as high as 4 percent in four years. The law school now has a new dean.

The 45-page report released on Thursday now goes to Governor Quinn.

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