- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois Board of Trustees finds itself at a potential turning point as Election Day approaches.

The school’s main campus in Champaign-Urbana is set to choose a new president by late November and the next governor of Illinois - whether incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn or the GOP’s Bruce Rauner - will decide if three members who have been on the board since 2009 will continue, The (Champaign) News-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1wrbjBN ) reported.

That includes Chairman Chris Kennedy, whose term expires in January along with the terms of Pamela Strobel and Ed McMillan. The school’s Chicago campus also is searching for a chancellor.

Kennedy said he’s hopeful all three members don’t go at once.

“I think now the board is stable,” he said.

But even if he leaves, Kennedy said “one way or other I’d try and figure out a way to be of service to the university.”

Kennedy, Strobel and McMillan all became members of the board as part of Quinn’s plan to clean house and restore stability following a 2009 admissions scandal. News reports revealed that between 2005 and 2009 the university maintained a list of politically connected potential students whose applications for admission to the Urbana-Champaign campus were given special attention. Some were admitted despite subpar qualifications. Seven of the nine members of the board at the time resigned at Quinn’s request. Two, including current trustee James Montgomery, refused.

University of Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines said so many possible changes haven’t presented themselves since the state started an appointed instead of elected board in the mid-1990s.

A recent controversy about the decision not to hire professor Steven Salaita over Twitter messages that some considered anti-Israel has “made the board more salient, certainly with faculty, and probably with the general public,” Gaines said.

“Whoever the governor is going to be, people are going to pay a little bit more attention to what they do than if this had happened last spring or summer,” Gaines said.

A Quinn spokesman said the governor is carefully reviewing each position.

A Rauner campaign spokeswoman said he would “work with the university community and the alumni association to ensure the best candidates to advance the university are appointed.”


Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide