U of I Officials Pass the Buck, to Each Other

U of I leaders act like children

By Steve Rhodes
|  Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009  |  Updated 10:28 AM CDT
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Schoolyard Fight

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The U of I clout scandal is playing out like a playground game.

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College administrators should act more mature than their students. But that's not the case at U. of I.

Like schoolchildren on a playground, university President B. Joseph White and his Urbana Chancellor Richard Herman are blaming each other for the admissions scandal that engulfed their institution.

The spectacle follows the saga of two trustees who refused to resign their seats at the request of the governor - and an independent review board - for purely selfish reasons.

Apparently the scandal is nobody's fault.

Paging Family Circus!

"I assure you that had I known about the practices, I would have challenged them," White told a faculty and student group on Monday.

Herman separately told the group that White had forwarded admissions requests to him.

Each has resisted calls to resign.

Last week, White gave the Daily Illini editorial board an it wasn't me statement.

"I'm a very attentive president, but it never came to light," White said.  "I was not briefed on those matters."

Pleading ignorance is never attractive. Especially after prolonged bouts of denial and defensiveness.

As for Herman, well, he gets a $300,000 retention bonus if he makes it to June, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Of course, he has nothing but the university's best interests in mind. Maybe he should waive that bonus as part of any agreement that allows him to retain his job.

The irony is that the failure of White and Herman to take responsibility for their actions only add to the case in favor of their removal.

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

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