Illini's Firing Line

Faculty wants dynamic duo out

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Aug 28, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM CDT
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U of I Bigs on the Chopping Block

University of Illinois

Our school has more clout than your school.

When Gov. Pat Quinn finally gets around to seating a new board of trustees at the University of Illinois, their first order of business is likely to be deciding whether to fire President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman.

A faculty committee, however, has already spoken; they want White and Herman booted.

Nicely, but booted.

"An orderly transition to new leadership for both of these positions is in the best interests of this campus, and the university," the faculty Senate Executive Committee said in a statement.

"Everybody feels that this is a very important moment," education professor and committee member Nicholas Burbules told the Chicago Tribune.

White and Herman have resisted calls for their resignations, though it's hard to see how they can survive given their own roles in the tainted admissions process and their tone-deaf, defensive response as the saga unfolded.

Even to this day the duo seems to be in denial.

"Over the past few months, I had received several e-mails from the chancellor trying to explain and somehow justify the 'clout' system," one student leader wrote to the Tribune. "But my fellow student senators and I largely agree that the e-mail carried the tone of a criminal caught red-handed, trying to forge an alibi."

Herman issued his own statement after the faculty committee spoke on Thursday, saying he stay in his job "as long as my contribution is deemed valuable."

He didn't explain why he is still there, then.

Of course, White and Herman could always threaten to sue Quinn, which seems to be a winning hand these days.

But more likely we'll be forced to trudge through an interminable process that will leave the school adrift for the year to come.

All because Smith and Herman can't read the writing on the wall.

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

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