Tribune Sues Illini

Wants names of clout applicants

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The University of Illinois clout scandal isn't over yet.

    The Chicago Tribune wants the names of all the university's clout applicants and is suing to get them.

    The university says that would be a violation of student privacy.

    Perhaps student privacy goes out the door when you use public officials to seek admittance to a public university by means of a secret process, but that will be up to a judge to decide.

    The university has already denied a series of Freedom of Information Act requests asking for this - and other - information, though the university has also complied with some requests.

    In one of its appeals to a denied request, the Tribune wrote that "The identity of the applicants (relative of donor, relative of public official, etc.) supplies the crucial element of motive in explaining why public officials went to such great lengths to gain admittance for certain applicants."

    In other words, the paper wants to know just who various public officials tried to get into the school and why.

    Seems like a fair question.

    And while student privacy is important, Illinois students, taxpayers and applicants who were denied deserve to know who got clouted in and why. Privacy has its limits, and exposing shady backdoor deals would seem to be one of them.

    The paper also wants copies of any law enforcement subpoeanas that have been served upon the university, and the results of a poll the school took of alumni and others in June about how best to respond to the scandal.

    Apparently stifling media inquiries scored highly.

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