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Paging Tom Hardy: Still awaiting your response

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009

* I called the U of I’s public relations office the other day and left a message. They sent me a form letter e-mail response. So I responded to that with my question…

Has anyone from the Chicago Tribune or Tribune Co. contacted any U of I press office regarding admissions issues with a potential student in the past 7 years?

No response yet.

I figured I’d ask since the Tribune describes itself as a “landmark” Illinois institution. If they’re a landmark, then they apparently gots lots o’ power. So, I thought the question was reasonable.

* Meanwhile

The U.S. attorney’s office wants to know if former Gov. Rod Blagojevich or his power brokers sought a leg-up for applicants to at least two state universities.

Campus spokespeople confirmed today that Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University have received subpoenas seeking records of communications between campus officials and Blagojevich, William Cellini, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, Chris Kelly and Alonzo “Lon” Monk between 2002 and 2008. […]

“It sounds like sort of a sweep across the state to look at all the universities,” said NIU spokeswoman Melanie Magara.

The DeKalb campus received its subpoena Tuesday, and has until July 2 to comply. SIU received its subpoena Monday, said spokesman Dave Gross.


“We’ve got no reason to believe any such records exist, but the general counsel is going to have to conduct this search through both campuses. We’ll wait and see what information is derived from that process,” Gross said.

Requests for such information weren’t unexpected in the wake of the U of I controversy, which is also under investigation by a commission appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn, [SIU spokesman and government relations officer David Gross] said.

Illinois State University spokesman Jay Groves said the Normal-based school had not received a subpoena as of Tuesday but that it was possible it might in the near future.

Neither Eastern Illinois University nor Western Illinois University had received a similar request either, officials on the campuses reported.

* Related…

* Illinois lawmakers can’t investigate admission scandal: So Quinn awarded legislative oversight of this commission to a guy with a track record of giving taxpayer-funded scholarships to one of his top campaign contributors.

* 3 yards and a clout of dust: Then my utter disbelief turned to bemusement when I learned that this reported pressure was being applied by government officials and other well-connected individuals in the state. I had assumed all along that it was coming from coaches, the athletic director or ardent boosters of the institution’s intercollegiate sports teams.

* Lights … cameras … Blago

* Rod Blagojevich poses with, signs satirical sculpture of himself at Lillstreet Art Center in Ravenswood

* Burris’ Shock Discovery: the Pentagon Has Research Labs!

* U. of I., still hiding

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    I like the question Rich!

  2. - You Go Boy - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:06 am:

    Blago - can it ever stop? His traveling
    “Watch Me Eat My Own Head” carnival seems to have no end. And here I am contributing to it yet again….(and yes I know here I am prolonging it)

  3. - Bill - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    Why would SIU need a clout list. They let anybody in.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:16 am:

    I’m a proud graduate of Northern — you can get your learn on there. But I never heard of anybody that needed clout to get in.

    For Southern, I thought the only requirement was a willingness to live in the woods amongst a 3-1 male/female population.

  5. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    This university admissions clout story sure has diverted attention from the budget. No real news on the budget front (i.e. progress on restoring certain spending lines), so let’s make some elsewhere. Kind of the way a certain former Governor tried to control the issues.

  6. - LN - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    As a Saluki, I can’t decide what’s worse: the fact that SIU allowed Blago to help someone get in or the fact that someone NEEDED Blago’s help to get into SIU.

  7. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    wordslinger back in the early 90’s they were turning a decent number of folks away at NIU….

    As an NIU (no not in English obviously) I figure the most helpful thing clout could have gotten you was a permit to get into a hard to get into class.

  8. - Touchdown Rejus - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:28 am:

    The U of I should release the info at the same time the Trib and Sam Zell give a full accounting of all dealings of Sam’s associates regarding the Cubs/ Wrigley Field and Blago. You cant have it both ways, guys

  9. - siriusly - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    Great question Rich! I applaud you for asking it. The bottom line is the answer is yet. I’d like to see you FOIA documents related to any zoning changes or building improvements the Tribune made at its facility on Halsted & Chicago. Did the Tribune use any “clout” when that was involved?

    Pulleeze. When you move into a glass house, I’ll listen to your hysterical screaming again. Until then, Chicago Tribune, stick to not describing yourself as a landmark in the lede of your stories.

  10. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    I went to ISU. You didn’t need clout to get in, you simply needed to walk in the front door with your tuition check. I suspect the admission standards have gone up since my time, but c’mon, if you need clout to get into ISU or the directionals, then you probably shouldn’t be going to college in the first place.

  11. - Thunderlips - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Finally somebody asking these newspaper jackals to account for themselves!

  12. - pmels - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 12:37 pm:

    Shouldn’t more information be encouraged? Why are we attacking the messenger and journalist on this story. It wasn’t journalists who abused their power to thwart objective admissions policies.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===It wasn’t journalists who abused their power to thwart objective admissions policies.===

    Well, that’s what I’m trying to find out. What’s wrong with, as you say, “more information”? It’s about context.

  14. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 1:30 pm:

    isnt William (Bill) Quinlan a U of I allumn? Wonder why they have left him out of the clout inquiry.

  15. - you never know.... - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 11:08 pm:

    I wonder if Fitzgerald or anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI or any Federal Justices have contacted U of I for assistance with a potential student.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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