Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Records reveal special consideration given to University of Ill. applicants

FOI at Work!
The Chicago Tribune reviewed about 1800 pages of documents (obtained via FOIA), which revealed that about 800 undergraduate students since 2005 have received special admission consideration at the University of Illinois. The newspaper terms it the "clout list." Last school year about 77 percent of those on this list were admitted when only 69 percent of all applicants were accepted. Documents show "politically appointed trustees and lawmakers routinely behave as armchair admissions officers advocating on behalf of relatives and neighbors."
At a time when it's more competitive than ever to get into the University of Illinois, some students with subpar academic records are being admitted after interference from state lawmakers and university trustees, a Tribune investigation has revealed.

Hundreds of applicants received special consideration in the last five years, according to documents obtained by the Tribune under the state's Freedom of Information Act. The records chronicle a shadow admissions system in which some students won spots at the state's most prestigious public university over the protests of admissions officers, while others had their rejections reversed during an unadvertised appeal process.

In one case, a relative of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, the now-convicted influence peddler for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, got admitted after U. of I. President B. Joseph White wrote an e-mail stating that the governor "has expressed his support, and would like to see admitted" Rezko's relative and another applicant.
More here.

No comments: