U. of Illinois Traded a Spot in Law School for Jobs
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Newly released e-mail messages may mark a new low in the admissions scandal that just keeps growing at the University of Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reported that the e-mails show that the chancellor of the university's Urbana-Champaign campus, Richard Herman, pressured the law school to let in an applicant favored by the then-governor, Rod Blagojevich, in return for having the governor get jobs for five law graduates with less than stellar academic records. An e-mail from Herman to the then-dean of the law school, Heidi Hurd, who was apparently balking at admitting the applicant, said that the request came "straight from the G. My apologies. Larry has promised to work on jobs (5). What counts?" Hurd's response, which suggested why the university might need to take special steps to get these students jobs: "Only very high-paying jobs in law firms that are absolutely indifferent to whether the five have passed their law school classes or the Bar." The Tribune noted that law school rankings are based in part on job placement success, so a law school would have reason to worry if even poor academic performers couldn't get jobs. University officials declined to respond to the e-mails, telling the Tribune that their first response should be to a special state panel investigating admissions at the university.