U of I's Clout List Killed

Prez discovers moral compass

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Aug 14, 2009  |  Updated 9:37 AM CDT
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U of I's Clout List Killed

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No more easy rides at U of I.

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Category I is kaput.

Now students trying to get into the University of Illinois will have to do it the old-fashioned way: they'll have to earn it.

Illini President B. Joseph White announced he was doing away with the special category of politically favored (and often subpar) applicants) as one reform measure in the wake of the admissions scandal which has engulfed the institution.

This one's a no-brainer.

"If I were to write a one-sentence code, it would be this: Everyone above the dean level and everyone whose jobs does not involve direct responsibility for admissions will stay out of admissions," White said.

Ya think?

Let's count this as the opening maneuver in White's political survival plan.

After all, a review of the scandal found that White dipped his own hand into the admissions process on several occasions, but it wasn't until the Chicago Tribune exposed the practice, a state panel reviewed the process and issued a scathing report, and his job fell into jeopardy that White found his moral compass.

What's next?

Keep your eye on embattled Urbana campus chancellor RIchard Herman, the central figure in the saga.

Herman finally apologized this week for his bad behavior after uttering a series of half-baked explanations and testifying before the state panel in entirely unconvincing fashion. He's in survival mode, too.

White hasn't said yet whether any university officials will lose their jobs as a result of the scandal, but if he has to sacrifice anyone to maintain his own credibility, Herman will be at the top of his list.

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

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