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Monday, June 22, 2009

U. of I. trustees used clout system for their benefit

FOI at Work!
The Chicago Tribune obtained new records that show almost 100 instances in which University of Illinois trustees "backed" applicants -- including their relatives, colleagues' children and "key employees" -- in the past three years. Between 2003 and 2008, more than 800 applicants were "flagged for special treatment" at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Every member of the Board of Trustees took part in the process, except for new trustee Edward McMillan. "All (trustees) are political contributors, with some having close political ties or a record of generous contributions to the impeached governor." The trustees maintain that they weren't meddling in the admissions process but were serving as intermediaries between applicants and the university.
In September 2006, the dean of the University of Illinois' law school e-mailed a colleague in admissions to say that a U. of I. trustee had "just called me about getting his [relative] into law school here next year."

Dean Heidi Hurd asked the administrator to walk the board member, Dr. Kenneth Schmidt, through "all the variables and considerations to the admissions process."

"Needless to say, this one takes velvet gloves," Hurd wrote, public records show. Schmidt's relative was admitted.
More here.

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