To promote change, Board needs overhaul

Last week, state Sen. Kirk Dillard introduced Senate Bill 2461, which would require all members of the University Board of Trustees to resign immediately due to their role in the admissions scandal.

We encourage the state legislature to pass this bill as soon as possible. We also urge Gov. Quinn to carefully examine the members of the Board and reappoint those who were not complicit in the scandal.

We can’t expect the Board of Trustees to reform the admissions process as long as members of the Board were involved in putting applicants on the “clout” list.

Board chairman Niranjan Shah intervened on behalf of nine applicants over the last three years, in some cases lobbying the University to reconsider the applications of students who had been denied. Member Lawrence Eppley acknowledges that he “forwarded” about four names of applicants recommended by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich a year. All current members of the Board, except Edward McMillan, appointed in May by Gov. Quinn, submitted “inquiries” on behalf of candidates they knew. The full degree of each trustee’s involvement is not known, but Eppley, Shah and any other trustee who lobbied the University to reverse an admissions decision certainly should not be reappointed by Quinn.

Involvement of trustees and other influential people in the admissions process often resulted in the admission of unqualified candidates.

Admissions decisions should be made by the University, not politicians. Any outside influence of the process automatically introduces unfairness.

If this behavior continues, no one will take any efforts made by the current board to change the admissions process seriously when so many of them contributed to its problems.

A new Board of Trustees is necessary in order to restore integrity to the admissions process.