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Clout Trustees

Clout Trustees


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Published by chicagotribune

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Published by: chicagotribune on Jun 21, 2009
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Trustees directed, chided admissions staff

E-mails, letters and admissions records reveal the involvement of some University of Illinois trustees as they sought to intervene in admissions to the state’s premier public university and the pressure they are sometimes under to do so. The Tribune obtained the documents through the Freedom of Information Act.
Trustee Kenneth Schmidt, the longest serving board member, calls Law School Dean Heidi Hurd about a relative who plans to apply. Though the document is redacted, Schmidt confirms during an interview that he called on behalf of a relative. Hurd advises Paul Pless, assistant dean of law school admissions, that Pless informs Hurd that he will meet with Schmidt.

“this one takes velvet gloves.”

Feb. 3, 2006: E-mail to then-Board Chairman Lawrence Eppley Eppley, still a trustee, receives an e-mail from a colleague asking that he arrange a tour and meeting for his associate’s daughter so she can learn more about U. of I. When Eppley does not reply for three weeks, the colleague asks:

Jan. 14, 2006: E-mail from Trustee Niranjan Shah to university officials Shah, now board chairman, turns to Chancellor Richard Herman when

“Are you still the chairman of the University BofT or have you forgotten [about] me? Pick one.”
SOURCES: The University of Illinois, Tribune reporting

“… the son of a key employee of mine …”
applies to the state’s flagship campus. Herman, in turn, asks if it might be possible to admit the student to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, even though

“I have no idea what the data are.”


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