Clout? In Illinois? SHOCKED!!!

<p>Chicago</a> Tribune argues in federal court that Clout Goes to College documents are not education records - chicagotribune.com</p>

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The Chicago Tribune is arguing in federal court that the University of Illinois should be forced to release information about hundreds of well-connected college applicants because the documents are not considered education records under a federal privacy law.</p>

<p>...</p>

<p>Among other arguments, the Tribune's brief makes the case that the privacy law's protections only apply to records kept as part of the university's formal admissions process, and that the clout list does not qualify.

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<p>Back story: the 2009 "Clout Goes to College" Tribune series revealed that a number of politically well-connected applicants were admitted to the University of Illinois after having been initially rejected when inquiries were made on their behalfs by people of influence. The scandal caused a number of heads to roll, including that of the president of the university and a number of members of the board.</p>

<p>This was through the Graduate College, was it not?</p>

<p>Undergraduate admissions and law school admissions.</p>

<p>From an October 2009 article:</p>

<p>
[quote]
The Tribune in May first exposed the U. of I.'s system for tracking undergraduate applicants backed by trustees, lawmakers, donors and other powerful people. Clouted students were added to an internal list known as "Category I." In some cases, admissions officials were overruled and forced to admit subpar students.</p>

<p>The law school also tracked what it called "special interest" applicants, and the former dean said she was ordered by then-Chancellor Richard Herman to admit some of them. In exchange, Herman offered scholarship money to attract better students.</p>

<p>....</p>

<p>In addition to the admissions policy changes, there has been a near-wholesale turnover of top university officials. Most of the trustees have been replaced, and the president and chancellor have resigned.</p>

<p>Joyce Smith, chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said the U. of I.'s now-defunct admissions process for well-connected applicants was unusual in its "level and scope." The new board of trustees declared the end to Category I last month.

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<p>No-clout</a> rules get 1st test at U. of I. - chicagotribune.com</p>

<p>Total aside, putting on my journalist's hat: This is a good example why Internet blogging can never replace good boots-on-the-ground investigative reporting.</p>