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Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicago Tribune sues for data on clout applicants

The Chicago Tribune has filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois after officials declined to disclose ACT test scores and GPAs for applicants who were given preferential treatment. The data was originally requested in April while the newspaper was conducting its investigation. The university president says FERPA prevents the release of those details even if student names would be redacted.
The Chicago Tribune filed a state lawsuit Tuesday against the University of Illinois demanding the immediate release of grade point averages and standardized test scores of the hundreds of college applicants placed on an internal list of well-connected students.

The Tribune originally sought the information in April for an ongoing series of stories about the clout list, in which it reported that students whose applications were pushed by public officials or university trustees received preferential treatment by the admissions office despite concerns about some applicants' qualifications.

In response to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request by the Tribune, the university released about 1,800 pages of documents -- including e-mail exchanges expressing worry about the "terrible" and "weak" academic records of some applicants -- that have been the foundation of the Tribune's "Clout Goes to College" series.
More here.

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