Quinn Expected to Announce Decision on U of I Holdouts

Quinn keeps pushing the deadline

By Andrew Greiner
|  Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009  |  Updated 7:30 AM CDT
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D-Day For Holdout Trustees

Getty Images / Scott Olson

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has said he'll law down the law on remaining U of I holdouts today.

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The remaining U of I trustees face the axe today as Governor Pat Quinn's self imposed deadline for dealing with the issue has arrived. 

James Montgomery and Frances Carroll are the only two trustees who have refused to resign in the wake of an admissions scandal that rocked the college, because they consider resisigning to be an admission of guilt.

Quinn said he would announce Wednesday what he plans to with them, though he has set other deadlines before and failed to keep them.

The governor had first said he'd move last week to resolve the conflict with Carroll and Montgomery. He later said he'd act Monday. But Quinn told reporters Sunday that he planned to attend a military funeral in Romeoville on Monday and would instead act later in the week.

Quinn's spokeswoman Marlena Jentz characterized those as "soft deadlines."

"He hasn't backed down from that," she said Monday. "He expects to take action this week."

The governor has the power to fire and hire board members to the state school and has hinted that he may rehire some of the trustees who resigned this month. But he has faced increasing pressure not to touch the two remaining holdouts, who happen to be minorities.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Democrat, asked Quinn in a letter on Friday to allow Montgomery and Carroll to stay. Rush argued in particular for Montgomery, whom he said he has known for years.

"He is a man of high honor and high moral character," Rush wrote. "I agree with him in his assertion that should he step down this would be an act tantamount to an admission of guilt."

Similarly, Democratic gubernatorial candidate William "Doc" Walls called on Quinn to change course on Montgomery and Carroll.

Quinn's chief Democratic primary opponent, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, blasted the governor for inaction and said he should have had the situation resolved before school started this week.

Jentz referred questions about potential political fallout to Quinn's campaign office, which did not immediately return calls.

Bernard Judge, a member of the commission that examined university admissions, said Monday that he assumed when Quinn asked for resignations that he wouldn't get all of them.

"The trustees are his responsibility and I think he's lived up extremely well to his responsibility."

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