The Chicago Tribune has uncovered a “jobs-for-entry” scandal at the University of Illinois College of Law, in which the law school admitted politically-connected applicants, some unqualified, in exchange for guarantees of jobs for law graduates.
In one example, recorded in emails obtained by the paper, University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman coerced the law school in accepting an unqualified applicant backed by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich. The governor’s representative promised Herman that in exchange, five law school graduates would get jobs.
In other emails, Law School Dean Heidi Hurd insisted that the law firms hire the graduates regardless of academic performance.
Governor Pat Quinn has called for a state commission to investigate the University of Illinois admissions process, after the Chicago Tribune reported that more than 800 undergraduate applicants in the last five years received special consideration because they were backed by University trustees and legislators.
The University of Illinois College of Law is the law school of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the flagship campus of the public University of Illinois university system. The College is located in Champaign, Illinois. It is ranked 23rd in the nation for 2009 by US News & World Report.
Law School Dean Heidi Hurd issued this statement:
Contrary to recent headlines, the [University of Illinois] College of Law did not seek or receive any jobs from anyone in exchange for the admission of students. It did not enter into a “jobs-for-entry scheme” or engage in quid-pro-quo exchanges of admissions favors for employment favors. Indeed, it takes very little to make clear that the employment challenges of students who are not academically successful could never be overcome by anyone’s promises to furnish the College with job opportunities, as the recently published exchanges should have made clear. While my sarcasm was clearly lost on the tin ears of some, my e-mail exchanges in response to queries about this were on their face facetious.
Also, a group of UI law professors has published a nine page letter disputing the charges.