From AP - News Headlines -

Trustee Eppley Denies Forcing UI to Admit Politically Connected Students

University of Illinois trustee Lawrence Eppley says he never forced politically connected students to be admitted to the Champaign-Urbana campus.

Eppley told a special commission he passed along between 5 and 10 names per year for special consideration. He says about half those came from staffers in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office.

Eppley says he thought passing the names on was "benign." University employees have testified that they considered inquiries from the trustees to be "directives."

Eppley says he now understands there were problems with the unofficial inquiries that he says functioned as an "underground recommendation system.''

Eppley says the state commission is needed to "fix'' the clout list. Gov. Pat Quinn formed the commission to investigate whether special treatment was given to politically connected applicants, known as "Category I.''

After the Chicago Tribune reported on the "Category I'' list in May, the university suspended it.

(Additional reporting by The Associated Press)

Categories: Education, Politics