Bill for Elected U of I Trustees Defeated in Illinois House


University of Illinois trustees will continue to be appointed by the governor, rather than elected. The Illinois House voted down an effort to change how U of I board members are chosen.

The calls to return to an elected U of I board of trustees grew louder following a scandal last year over the role clout played in admissions at the Urbana Champaign campus. Seven members resigned under pressure and Governor Pat Quinn chose replacements.

The bill before the Illinois House on Wednesday would have seven U of I trustees elected by the voters --- three of the seats would be reserved for residents of Illinois' First Judicial District, which covers Cook County. In addition, six other trustee seats would be appointed by the U of I Alumni Association. And faculty trustees would be added to the student trustees who already serve on the board. The governor would continue to have a tie-breaking seat on the U of I Board, but would no longer appoint any of its members.

State Representative Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)... a U of I alum... was among those who say electing trustees would guarantee accountability.

"If the body wants to condone what took place at the University of Illinois, by all means vote no", Rose told his fellow lawmakers.

The plan was defeated, with 44 yeas, 69 yays and one member voting present. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) voted against the measure, while Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) voted for it..

Skokie Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie)...who also graduated from the U of I ... says he voted against it because it leaves out other universities. He adds it's too soon to tell how the current board is doing....

"Because it singles out one single university", says Lang, "a university where it has new trustees and we don't know how well they'll perform, I think the bill is ill advised."

Other lawmakers argued the public would wind up voting for trustees with little knowledge of the candidates.

The measure was sponsored by Olney Republican --- and U of I alum --- David Reis. Its co-sponsors were all Republicans from the east-central Illinois region where the university is based --- Rose, Bill Black, Shane Cultra and Bill Mitchell. Area Democrats Naomi Jakobsson and Robert Flider also voted for the bill.

Story source: AP