Illini Cheating Scandal Up To Quinn

Too many others implicated

By Steve Rhodes
|  Monday, Jun 8, 2009  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Illini Cheating Scandal Up To Quinn

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And what's that spell? Clout!

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In many states where residents aren't so familiar with the term "clout list," a public university president in the position of the University of Illinois B. Joseph White might already have been forced out of office.

So far, though, it appears that calls for White to resign amidst an admissions scandal that demonstrably screwed clout-less students out of entrance to the taxpayer-funded school are falling into the dark ethical void of Illinois's political culture.

Take state Rep. Mike Boland, for example, a Democrat from East Moline and, more importantly, the chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

"I am outraged trustees and individuals within the upper levels of the university administration are apparently actively helping under-qualified and unqualified students get admitted," Boland told the Tribune. "Admissions to a public university, one of the best schools in the country, should be based on merit, not knowing a trustee or elected official."

Boland is calling on White - and others - to resign.

He's also sent a letter to Speaker Mike Madigan requesting hearings on the clout list scandal.

Problem: Madigan used the list the most among state legislators, according to the Tribune.

And other lawmakers won't want to hold hearings or make any sort of public display about a system in which they participated.

Get it? 

So don't expect action there.

The university's board of trustees was also complicit; how could they call on White to resign when they used the system even more than he did?

It looks like this one is going to be up to Gov. Pat Quinn, the Fumigator-In-Chief.

"[Boland] says he would like Quinn to initiate a public inquiry and subpoena documents, including the names of Category I applicants, to determine whether trustees or lawmakers had financial or political incentives for helping students," the Tribune reports. "The governor's spokesman said Quinn will make an announcement about the U. of I. admissions controversy this week."

The question for Quinn is simple: Is he going to tolerate cheating at the state's largest public university? And if not, what will the penalty be?

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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