Many of you are no doubt following the recent admissions “scandal” at University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, and my sense is that mostly the press coverage of this has been on par with the press coverage of the events at CSU this past semester. However, it appears the Gov. Quinn is much more concerned about the alleged unethical practices of the Urbana-Champaign’s Board of Trustees and President than the unethical practices of CSU’s Board of Trustees. As reported in the Tribune today, Quinn has created a panel to review the admissions process at U of I, and reading this article I found myself get increasingly angry with his response in comparison to Quinn’s complete and total inaction in response to the unanimous request by the Faculty Senate to deal with the myriad of problems with CSU’s presidential search and its Board of Trustees.
I know, I know, there are specific reasons why Quinn would be much more concerned (or appear to be) with U of I than with CSU, starting with class and race. And I know that we should be focusing on the leadership that the faculty, students, and staff are taking in our efforts to reclaim our university, and not be looking for help from a single person in Springfield. But knowing those things doesn’t make me any less angry about the gross inequalities demonstrated by Quinn’s vastly different responses to the two universities.
These inequalities are magnified by the nature of the supposed unethical practices in the cases of these two universities. If one looks at what’s been alleged in the U of I case, is it really so surprising that elected officials might try to make use of their influence to get various friends into the university? Why does this “admissions scandal” merit the creation of, as the Tribune puts it, a “task force aimed at changing entrenched practices in the state,” whereas the manipulation of a presidential search at CSU does not? Not to mention that the manipulation of the presidential search followed years of other problematic actions by the CSU Board of Trustees. Which is a bigger concern, altering the admissions of a small group of students (in comparison to the total student body) or altering the way that the entire university is run?
Again, I know that I should be focusing on the real leadership shown by faculty, students, and staff at CSU. And, I know that we are the ones who really matter for the future of CSU. Still, these recent actions by Gov. Quinn further demonstrate that our actions at CSU are not isolated from the larger society of which we are a part, a society riddled with inequality that places CSU firmly on the receiving end of much of that inequality. And that just makes me angry, which I suppose it should.