Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Mess in Illinois

Some weeks ago, maybe months now, the Chicago Tribune began reporting about admissions standards at the University of Illinois, including its law school.  The paper alleged that the school had admitted subpar applicants, under pressure from legislatures and members of the board of trustees.  A letter written by a group of professors pointed out that the fingers should have pointed at those exerting the pressure and not at the school's admissions officers.  U of I is a public school after all, dependent on the legislature for at least some of its support.

The Illinois Admissions Review Commission, created in the wake of the Tribune articles, investigated the abuses and recommended that the entire Board of Trustees of U of I step down so that the Governor could decide which trustees to keep.

Today the Chicago Tribune reports that the Governor continues to pursue his goal of having the Board of Trustees step down.  The article suggests that if some of the trustees refuse to go quietly, the Guv may fire them.  And that may raise additional legal questions.  The Constitution allows the Governor to fire trustees for "incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance" and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that fired appointees could fight their dismissals in court.  As Ann Lousin, a John Marshall Law School professor says, "It's going to be an interesting case."


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