Cutting Out the Hurd: Tribune Uncovers Letters on the Admission of Unworthy U of I Students Sponsored by Politicians

0718Hurd,Heidi_w{55E09542-B3D1-4E1B-9D64-1A8FCA37BC8B}There has been a long controversy over “legacy” admissions and the politically well connected applicants in law schools. The University of Illinois law school has been entangled in this controversy with the release of an embarrassing email exchange between former Dean Heidi Hurd, Chancellor Richard Herman, and Illinois State Sen. Chris Lauzen on a student Hurd believed was unworthy of admission — but then accepted.

Lauzen wanted a student admitted and, rather than a simple letter of recommendation, he called the school’s lobbyist.

Hurd wrote Chancellor Richard Herman saying “She won’t hurt us terribly, but she certainly won’t help us. She will almost certainly be denied admission if the process unfolds as we predict. But she can probably do the work. If you tell me we need to do this one, we will. We’ll remember it though!”

Herman was replied with “Please admit. I understand no harm.” That of course depends on the meaning of harm and whether you include fairness, academic excellence, or the avoiding of hypocrisy.

Admissions may fall into the category of legislation and sausage with things that you do not want to watch being made. However, the emails were discovered by the Tribune under a Freedom of Information Act which is exploring the admission of unworthy students to please powerful donors or politicians.

One such rejected student was a a relative of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a shady character connected in a land deal with the Obamas and later convicted on public corruption charges. The student was admitted after the intervention of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is now under indictment himself.

What is astonishing is the Lauzen insists that he not only acted appropriately but that Hurd should be fired for the tone of her emails” “If it were me, I’d fire her, maybe for insolence.”

The fact is that this is hardly unique to the University of Illinois. However, the intervention of the Chancellor is not so common and might have led some deans to push back on the control of the law school over its own affairs. Nevertheless, Hurd is obviously not subtle in telling Herman that this is not a fair selection or good choice for the school. I expect many deans would feel uncomfortable with such a review of emails and messages — part of the benefits of being private rather than public schools.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Cutting Out the Hurd: Tribune Uncovers Letters on the Admission of Unworthy U of I Students Sponsored by Politicians”

  1. Their value was measured by the amount of money they could magically retrieve from the
    ATO by minimizing the amount of tax I was required to pay.
    For one, you need little number of sales leads, which may vary depending on the
    size of your company. If you are busy, this does not mean that your business is doing well.

  2. Mike A.,
    Great story. We seldom realize the effect our parenting has on our kids in later life. My oldest daughter throughout high School had zero interest in politics although I was outspoken around the home. Today she is heavily involved with the Democratic Party.

    One of my earliest memories is at about age 4, when my mother had returned from a trip to South Carolina. She talked of outrage about the evils of segregation and the fact that black people had to ride in back of the bus. Her indignation set me on a path that led me to be a lifelong supporter of Civil Rights. I have no doubt that your thoughts will take root with your son.

  3. At least my daughter has a legacy at Northwestern Law although we contribute minimally.

  4. I worked in a law school admissions office at a more elite school and it’s ten times worse there. Literally saw top members of Congress walking into the dean of admissions office. They all want to get their top fundraiser’s children in. And it works most of the time. I saw kids with 142 LSAT’s get in. No one cares about this though. It’s all complaining about the unfairness of AA while ignoring legacies.

  5. Breaking: Soldier murdered in Arkansas by Muslim convert & opponent of military

    June 1, 2009

    A gunman with a rifle targeted a military recruitment office today in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one of the recruiters and wounded another.

    Police Lt. Terry Hastings said the recruiter was shot when a man in a black SUV opened fire on the office in west Little Rock at about 10:30 a.m.

    Update: More here from KATV:

    Authorities say the incident occurred around 10:00 a.m. at a U.S. Army Navy Career Center inside the Ashley Square Shopping Center at 9112 North Rodney Parham Road. According to Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department, two enlisted soldiers standing outside the office were hit when the suspect drove up and began shooting.

    Police have identified the shooter as Carlos Bledsoe. A Muslim convert who said he was opposed to the U.S. military.

  6. Mike A,
    That was an interesting story about your son. It is amazing what kids will think of at that age. His only thoughts were that the pool was nice and he wanted to have fun. At 6 years old, some lessons are too hard too learn. I am sure he learned from your example as he grew.

Comments are closed.