Seventh meeting of the University of Illinois Admissions Review Panel


I. Call to Order and Introductory Remarks

II. Public Testimony
A. Rep. Michael Boland
B. Niranjan Shah - Chair, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois
C. David Dorris - Trustee, University of Illinois
D. Richard Borsch - Fenwick High School
III. Discussion
IV. Concluding Remarks

The chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees testified Tuesday that he never pushed to admit any relatives as students to the school or was pressured by any public officials to support certain applicants.

Chairman Niranjan Shah told the Illinois Admissions Review Commission he had no knowledge of any list of politically connected applicants that was kept by the school's flagship Champaign-Urbana campus. He did receive requests from community members to inquire about certain students' applications.

I never wanted anyone to feel obliged to do anything special for any applicant about whom I sought review.”

— Niranjan Shah, Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees

University of Illinois Trustee David Dorris testified Tuesday before the Admissions Review Commission that he gave Rod Blagojevich $128,000 in campaign contributions.

And he said UI President B. Joseph White took advantage of Chancellor Richard Herman, whom Dorris described as "very protective of his people."

He said he wishes he had offered Herman more support. "I didn't have the courage" to tell other trustees to stop, he said.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Niranjan Shah pointed fingers at his assistant, Chancellor Richard Herman and former UI President James Stukel in denying he sought special treatment for his family members or any other applicant to the university.

Shah, who testified Tuesday before the Illinois Admissions Review Commission, said he made five to 10 inquiries a year on behalf of students applying for admission as undergraduates and law students, but never pushed for any applicant to be admitted.

The University of Illinois hired a trustee's future son-in-law, bypassing regular university hiring practices and awarding the relative a $115,000 salary.

Maarten de Jeu, now son-in-law of board Chairman Niranjan Shah, worked for the university from November 2007 to August 2008 as a business consultant after Shah urged UI Chancellor Richard Herman to consider a job for de Jeu.

President B. Joseph White should resign or be replaced, a University of Illinois trustee said, after lengthy testimony about an admissions scandal on the Urbana campus.

Trustee David Dorris of LeRoy also praised the work of Chancellor Richard Herman.

Dorris testified Tuesday before the governor's Admissions Review Commission, where he came short of calling for the president's ouster.