You know the old joke about how half of all doctors graduated in the bottom 50 percent of their class?
Well, there's surely a new joke to be told now about the University of Illinois trustee who pushed an underqualified student for admittance into the University's College of Medicine.
The latest installment of the Tribune's investigation into clouted admissions at the U of I actually found that "medical school officials routinely refused to cave to pressure from lawmakers, school lobbyists and university trustees."
The Tribune notes, however, that "Some of the records [reviewed by the paper], however, were so heavily redacted that it was impossible to interpret them."
Still, the fact is that lawmakers, school lobbyists and, yes, university trustees whose job in part is to safeguard the integrity of the school tried to clout underqualified students into medical school.
"In one instance," the paper reports, "Trustee Kenneth Schmidt, the board's only medical doctor, forwarded a vitriolic e-mail from a friend who was enraged about an applicant's denial: 'When I can't understand things at our U. of I. you know I have always come running to YOU,' the friend wrote. 'This time, I'm not only running, I'm coming galloping to your doorstep in hopes that you can solve what to me is a more than egregious error on the part of the admissions committee'."
But it was another case involved Trustee Lawrence Eppley that really got the paper's attention.
"In the 2003 Eppley case, the student seeking to transfer to the Chicago-based medical school had 'very poor grades' in the beginning of his college career. The former University of Illinois at Chicago chancellor took the unusual step of agreeing to allow him to join the school if he could achieve, among other things, a better - but 'not a spectacular' - score on the standardized test for medical school."
That student ended up not transferring for reasons that aren't made clear.
But though the medical school gets credit for resisting pressure to tamper with admissions, Tribune commenter Kim, from Darien, makes a good point: they stayed silent nonetheless - as did the admissions department at the flagship campus.
"The U of IL Admissions Dept. staff should have reported the inappropriate and unethical actions of its university trustees (as well as the politicians) involved in the U of IL admissions tampering scandal," Kim writes.
I think the medical word for it is "enabling."