Governor Pat Quinn names 2 new University of Illinois Trustees, will not fire 2 holdout Trustees

Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday that he won’t fire the two University of Illinois trustees who refused to resign amid an admissions scandal, and he started to rebuild the board with new appointees.

Quinn said trying to remove the holdout trustees would drag the school into a protracted legal battle and he didn’t want a “cloud of litigation” hanging over the university. One trustee had vowed to fight Quinn in court.

“That will distract from the important job of the moment, which is reforming everything at the university,” the governor said.

As part of that process, Quinn named two new trustees to the university board: businessman Christopher Kennedy, a nephew of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, and former federal prosecutor Lawrence Oliver II. He said he would appoint five more trustees to fill the nine-member board and left open the possibility they could include other trustees who had voluntarily resigned.

After threatening for weeks to fire two University of Illinois trustees who refused to resign, Gov. Pat Quinn reversed course Wednesday and said he would keep them on the troubled board.

Quinn defended his decision not to oust James Montgomery and Frances Carroll by saying he didn't want to expose the state to a protracted legal battle the two had vowed to pursue. But he faced immediate criticism for backing down, while other trustees who reluctantly resigned wondered whether they had played their cards correctly.