Four University of Illinois trustees offered their resignations Tuesday, bowing to the wishes of a governor who has vowed to overhaul the board following an admissions scandal that has jolted the state's most prestigious public campus.Whoever heard of firing the trustees for a great State University? What's going on in the land of Lincoln?
Board members Kenneth Schmidt, Robert Vickrey, Devon Bruce and David Dorris said they had notified Gov. Pat Quinn's office of their decisions and awaited his response. All four said they would prefer to finish their terms and help rebuild public confidence in the school.
The resignation offers come nearly two weeks after Quinn called for them and mere hours after he threatened to fire holdouts.
"It's not the hand I'd like to play, but it's the hand that was dealt," Schmidt said. "I wish it would have rolled out differently."
Seven of nine trustees now have volunteered to step down, setting up a showdown between the governor and the two remaining trustees: Frances Carroll and James Montgomery. Both have expressed reluctance to step down, with Montgomery going as far as to say he would challenge the decision in court.
Mr. Quinn, who accepted Mr. Shah’s resignation, had set up a commission in June to review admissions at the university after The Chicago Tribune reported that hundreds of applicants won acceptance at the intervention of well-placed family members or friends, including trustees like Mr. Shah.The people of Illinois should expect better of the trustees. Vision 1920 suggests that they look to Texas as a model for how to deal with the politically well-connected. Using Universities for mere admissions interventions shows a real lack of imagination.