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Round-Up: Clout U; Clout comes to CPS

Thursday, Aug 13, 2009

[Posted by Mike Murray]

So I still think this story is way over blown, but no one else seems to. So here you go…


- U of I President Joseph White held a closed door meeting yesterday with the heads of the other two branches of the University.

* U. of Ill. leaders to meet over admissions scandal

Leaders from the three University of Illinois campuses will meet to end the school’s Category I clout list and discuss other recommendations for erasing the influence of political connections on admissions.

University President B. Joseph White and other campus leaders will meet behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon.


- The result, no more clout list, in 8 weeks from now anyway…

* University Of Illinois President Cuts The Clout

Months after state officials first brought to light fraudulent admissions practices at the University of Illinois, President Joseph White announced he has officially gotten rid of the school’s clout list.

Wednesday, White gave university trustees eight weeks to review admissions practices.

* U of I president sets deadline to reform admissions

University of Illinois President B. Joseph White has given leaders from the school’s three campuses eight weeks to build a wall around their admissions processes and wrap up other a number of other reforms intended to prevent future scandals.

White told leaders and admission officials from campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield in closed-door meeting Wednesday that the school will follow recommendations made last week by the Illinois Admissions Review Commission.


- So up to this point, President White has been very quite regarding what will become of Chancellor Herman. He will have to make a decision sooner or later. Chancellor Herman, on te other hand, has not been so quite…

* University of Illinois chancellor apologizes for scandal

University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman apologized Tuesday for his role in a far-reaching admissions scandal but said he has no plans to resign.

“I am sorry for my role in this without a doubt,” he said in a brief interview with the Tribune, among his first public remarks since a state commission concluded last week that he acted unethically in admitting subpar but well-connected students. “My intention is to work toward creating a new [admissions] process.”[…]

He said his desire to stay is not motivated by a $300,000 retention bonus he would get in June on his fifth anniversary as chancellor.

“The incentive is really the institution itself,” Herman said. “If I look at my entire record here, I believe I have helped bring about a lot of wonderful things over a course of a decade, and given continued support, my hope is that I can, in fact, continue to work toward making this institution better.”


- And Governor Quinn is still trying to use a light touch with remaining 6 trustees who have not heeded his previous call for their resignation…

* Gov. Pat Quinn calls again for trustees to resign

Gov. Pat Quinn renewed his call Tuesday for all University of Illinois trustees to submit resignation letters in the wake of an admissions scandal, but some board members continue to push back against the request.

No trustees have offered to step down since the governor asked them to last week. Meanwhile, Quinn has asked the school’s alumni association to forward the names of possible candidates for two vacancies.

The recommended candidates would most likely be considered to replace Chairman Niranjan Shah and trustee Lawrence Eppley, who stepped down before the governor asked trustees to resign. Quinn has accepted their resignations.

Trustee Edward McMillan, a Quinn appointee who joined the board in May with the alumni association’s endorsement and was not involved in the admissions scandal, stepped down but is expected to be reappointed.

* Governor Pat Quinn Renews University of Illinois Resignation Calls

Still, Quinn says he expects a new board to be in place by next month.

QUINN: I think it’s better for everyone for the trustees to understand that putting the university’s interests first is all of our concern, and individual interests should yield to the university’s interest.

* Quinn U of I trustees have ‘few more days’

Gov. Pat Quinn says University of Illinois trustees should have more time to reflect on his call for their resignations following a report on an admissions scandal at the school.

Quinn told reporters Tuesday the six remaining trustees should have “a few more days” to make their decisions. But he didn’t say what he would do if they didn’t quit.


-With some trustees, however, Quinn might need to use a jack-hammer. This is the worst defense I have heard so far. LOL…

* U of I Trustee Blames Chief Illiniwek for Admissions Controversy

A University of Illinois trustee is refusing to resign amid the school’s admissions scandal.

Frances Carroll says she’s not responsible for the admission of unqualified, politically-connected students to the school. Carroll says demands that she step down are being fueled by an earlier school controversy.

CARROLL: This call for all the trustees to resign, I feel, is pressure about Chief Illiniwek as the mascot, a symbol, for the University of Illinois.

U of I trustees retired the controversial school mascot in 2007. That caused a backlash among some alumni.


-The Pantagraph uncovers some new clouted areas at U of I: Legislative Scholarships

* Another reason to end legislative tuition waivers

State law says recipients “shall be admitted to the university on the same conditions as to educational qualifications” as other applicants.

However, the report of the Illinois Admissions Review Commission uncovered at least five instances where a student’s receipt of a General Assembly scholarship apparently influenced the admissions process.

In one example, Rep. Ron Wait, R-Belvidere, awarded a scholarship to a member of a family he knew even though the applicant “may not be as needy as some other students” who applied. According to the report, the university refused to reconsider the student’s application to the U of I unless he was awarded a scholarship by the lawmaker. After being awarded the scholarship, he was admitted.

In another example, Rep. Kevin Joyce, D-Worth, reportedly wanted a student admitted before awarding a scholarship because, according to an admissions counselor, he didn’t want it to seem the student was admitted because of the scholarship. However, after Abel Montoya, then associate director of undergraduate admissions, said, “she probably will not be admitted without the GA scholarship.” The student was later admitted and the university says the decision was based on merit.

- And here is why this is a clout issue and not just U of I trying to make a buck (from the above cited Pantagraph editorial)

In fact, Richard Herman, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, told the commission that the scholarships cost the U of I more than $8 million a year.

So why do it? “Clout” and the desire not to offend lawmakers who decide how much money to appropriate to the university.

- And speaking of clout in education…

* Alderman helps his kid get into top high school

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) acknowledged Wednesday that his daughter was admitted to Whitney Young Magnet High School for the upcoming school year after he called the principal to ask that his daughter be allowed to follow in her brother’s footsteps.

The self-styled reformer denied that his personal appeal placed undue pressure on Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner — and he made no apologies for it.

In fact, the alderman disclosed that he makes “at least 10 to 15″ calls every school year seeking similar treatment for the children of his constituents.

“I wanted my daughter to attend Whitney Young. The curriculum there is great. … Parents are gonna do whatever they can [for their children], but I do it for community kids also,” he said.

-To be fair though, Ald. Munoz does provide explanation that shows he followed legal and ethical procedure…

Munoz said his son “tested into” Whitney Young four years ago with no behind-the-scenes help from his father. But when the alderman’s daughter applied last spring, test results alone were not enough.

“We didn’t get an admissions letter,” Munoz said, acknowledging that he started “getting nervous” as the last school year drew to a close.

“I talked to people. I said, ‘Hey, look. Because she has a sibling at the school, could you reconsider?’ After that, we got the acceptance letter. It’s part of the process. If a student has a sibling at the school, you can appeal it.”[…]

One of five criteria to join a select group of students hand-picked by principals of the city’s nine elite public college prep high schools is to have a sibling at the school.

- I guess the next question would be, what are the other 4 criteria. Specifically, does a call from an elected official (i.e. alderman) make the list.

- Posted by Mike Murray        


11 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 9:42 am:

    My neighbor works at Whitney Young. Everybody wants in and clout has been employed quite openly for some time. How do you think Jordan’s kid, a high D-1 prospect, left Loyola, got in to Young and on the state championship basketball team so quickly?


  2. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 9:45 am:

    Mike, I agree that the U of I story was way overblown. I have commented to that effect on this blog and on blogs elsewhere.

    Re: Alderman Munoz

    Well, it should come as no surprise. None of the Alderman send their kids to CPS. Can anyone blame them? so I guess if there is a surprise after all, it is that Munoz did send his kid to a CPS, albeit a magnate school. What, he couldn’t catholic school tuition? What, he and his wife are not divorced with her living in the suburbs so their kid could go to a suburban school?


  3. - Capitol View - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 9:49 am:

    the U of I situation is far overblown - every major school acknowledges its major donors. State universities are more vulnerable, due to state government underfunding. Could the U of I as a state institution not offer special consideration to the four caucus leaders or the governor himself?

    But I must confess that I am annoyed that the timeframe brings us up to the start of the fall semester, before the practice stops at the Us of I. Promises made need to be kept??


  4. - Master Plan - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 10:04 am:

    I am sure Quinn will get to the UI trustees right after he gets to the Blago hold overs in state government. His term will be over with before then. Grow some Quinn.


  5. - fedup dem - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 10:26 am:

    The Ald. Munoz story falls under the catagory of “Dog Bites Man,” unless you are shocked by the fact that any Chicago Alderman would send their child to any Chicago Public School, even one as relatively uncrappy like Young.


  6. - james - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    Overblown–in comparison to it being a non-story in other jurisdictions. But if you think these school admission reforms are a good thing, then Illinois is being a national leader.


  7. - Hank - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    Sure the story is overblown if taken as an isolated instance. The media,however,correctly senses that folks are fed up with politicians in this state at the moment. The pol that uses clout to get his kid in school, the pol that “overlooked” the need for the $50 permit to expand his deck, the pol that “didn’t know” he needed a vehicle sticker on all his cars, the pol that has a million excuses on why he/she doesn’t need to follow the little requirements that our society imposes on us common folks.
    People are fed up


  8. - Fire Ron Guenther - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    Carroll is a joke. Please remove her, Governor Quinn.


  9. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    I don’t think it’s overblown at all — how do you tell a qualified kid or their parents that they didn’t get in because they didn’t ask (or, more likely, contribute) to their alderman. Munoz says he made the same call for 15 other constituents — did they ALL fall into an exception?


  10. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    Hank, I would agree with you were it not for the fact that the legislators involved in the U of I clout admissions will go unscathed. I think the public was and is probably more concerned about them than the actual trustees. but the story blew the cover on those participating in clout admission, which was a good thing, and that means that there won’t be anymore at U or I. We hope. but where there is a will there is a way?


  11. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Aug 13, 09 @ 6:28 pm:

    First of all 4M; why kinda learnin are they givin ya at that Una varsity anyway? Quite is not equal to quiet in less that is some new street lingo we old people are simply to dense to connect with.

    Second; and more importantly, you have not heard the last of the Admissions scandal just because Rip Van Mikva has put his night shirt and slippers on and is settling in for a long winter’s nap.

    There is still more to come; and old QTS has it on pretty good authority that one of those Cook County based pol’s is trying to smother the hand grenade, in the hopes that it will not explode and expose their soiled undergarments which have become stained due to the fact that they were notjust a facilitator, but that their own flesh and blood was a direct beneficiary of the back door plan at the U of I.

    Wait till that one hits the fan!


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