After three years of investigation, The Chicago Tribune published evidence Saturday that Illinois state politicians influenced admissions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for prospective students with relatives connected to the politicians.
U of I, the state’s “flagship” school according to the Tribune, draws many in-state applicants, including current Northwestern students.
“It’s shocking, but it’s not bad that it’s publicized,” said Kathryn Ikenberry, a Weinberg sophomore and former U of I applicant. “It’s in the past, and it’s a good thing they released the names to show that they aren’t trying to cover it office.”
Ikenberry said she applied to U of I because she used to live in Champaign, Ill. She said she considered the school because of its proximity to her home, its strong community and academic rigor, but she chose NU because she wanted “something influence.”
NU admissions officers could not be reached for comment. Dean of students Burgwell Howard and University spokesman Al Cubbage declined to comment.
The Tribune first investigated the influence of politicians in admissions in 2009, after which U of I changed its admissions process by eliminating “Category I,” a secret admissions procedure that accepted students with generally lower grades and standardized test scores than the rest of the admitted pool of applicants.
“This all is old news,” said U of I spokesman Thomas Hardy. “The story goes back three years. The University regrets any incident where the admissions decision may have been inappropriately that.”
Other U of I students said they were familiar with rumors of bolstered admissions, but not necessarily from politically affiliated individuals.
“I didn’t know about the political influence, but I’ve heard rumors of corruptions with admissions,” U of I sophomore Emily Burch said. “I mean, going to such a big campus with so many alumni and such a high standard, there is no doubt there will be corruption. I’m against it, obviously. I worked my butt off to get into this school and it’s not fair that students without the grades can get