Chicago Bar-tender

UPDATE: U. of I. sued for admitting unqualified VIPs

UPDATE:  Chancellor Richard Herman resigns.  Read more here.

The entry below was originally posted by the Bar-tender on 10/20/09.

The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (as it is named in the lawsuit) and its trustees are being sued for admitting students of VIPs who are otherwise unqualified.

According to the class action complaint filed by Jonathan Yard on behalf of himself and anyone denied admission to the school between 1999 and 2009 after paying the admission application fee, the school's trustees have a "clout list" that essentially works to ensure that those with "clout" but otherwise lower credentials are still admitted to the school, despite protests of admissions officers.

The complaint details an investigation published by the Chicago Tribune on May 29, 2009 that uncovered a "shadow admissions system," where

politically appointed trustees and lawmakers routinely behave as armchair

admissions officers advocating on behalf of relatives and neighbors -- even

housekeepers' kids and families with whom they share Hawaiian vacations.

They declare their candidates "no brainers" for admission and suggest that if

they are not accepted, the admissions system may need revamping.

The complaint asserts, among other things, a count of fraud since the admissions catalog stated that the school places the heaviest weight on objective academic criteria and "omits any reference to political clout and/or connections being relevant to the admissions process."

Read the complaint after the jump.

For Tweets of recent legal filings and legal news, follow me on Twitter at jenfernicola.

10 20 09 Yard v UIC Urbana - class action admissions -



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jchris59 said:

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I would guess that the attorneys were UofI grads, as the school is officially known as 'The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign'.
Nothing like getting the name of the defendant correct.

jchris59 said:

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Edit - weren't

Jennifer Fernicola Ronay said:


Seriously! That's why I felt compelled to write 'as it is named in the lawsuit.'

rich said:

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Not to be pedantic, but I'd like to offer the following: as a recent graduate of the University of Illinois, I have been advised that there is no longer a "University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign". Rather, there is now the "University of Illinois", the "University of Illinois Chicago" and the "University of Illinois Springfield." The contiguous cities of Champaign and Urbana have traditionally been combined as Champaign-Urbana. So I think the phrase "the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana" is ok inasmuch as it encapsulates the full and correct name, "University of Illinois" and adds a geographic reference which really is no longer necessary.

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