Controversies of past UI presidents

By Faraz Mirza

Recent University presidents such as B. Joseph White and Michael Hogan, predecessors to President Robert Easter, dealt with controversies during their respective terms.

White, who succeeded James J. Stukel as 16th president of the University in 2004, oversaw the three campuses in the University of Illinois system — just as any other president would. However, in May 2009 the Chicago Tribune released a story revealing that the Urbana campus had been giving applicants placed on the “Category I” list preferential treatment.

This list consisted of people recommended by University trustees, lawmakers and other public figures who influenced University officials to apply more lenient standards in admission.

Due to this scandal, White and Richard Herman, chancellor of the Urbana campus, resigned subsequently, despite the fact that White had not been implicated as a responsible party in internal investigations.

Hogan, on the other hand, was selected to succeed White as 18th president of the University in May 2010, after 14th University president Stanley O. Ikenberry served as a temporary replacement following White’s resignation.

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Despite serving for under a year, Ikenberry is still considered the 17th president of the University.

In December 2011, later in Hogan’s tenure at Illinois, his chief-of-staff Lisa Troyer allegedly pretended to be a University senator in an email, hoping to influence discussion in Hogan’s favor.

After denying the accusations and claiming that her email account was hacked, Troyer resigned. As a result of the scandal, a group of 130 distinguished professors from the Urbana campus wrote and signed a letter of “no confidence” in Hogan to present to the Board of Trustees.

Two weeks after the Board of Trustees told Hogan to repair his relationship with faculty or risk losing his job, Hogan resigned before the letter could be presented.

Despite these events, both White and Hogan stayed at the University in faculty positions and are still on the University payroll today.

Faraz can be reached at [email protected].