Emanuel keeps on top leaders at city colleges, while replacing most of the board

Some students surprised, upset at being out of loop

April 26, 2011

Download Story

The two top leaders of Chicago's city college system are keeping their positions, but Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is replacing much of the board, and sending it a message.

Emanuel is keeping on the board chair, investment banker Martin Cabrera, Jr., and the chancellor, Cheryl Hyman. Hyman has led what they're calling a "reinvention" at the colleges, trying to improve a dismal graduation rate.

"I fully - not 100 - but 200 percent support this plan," Emanuel told reporters at a press conference Monday at Olive-Harvey College.

But Emanuel does not support a recently-floated idea: closing the open door policy for college admissions, to keep out low-performing students.

"I want that type of open enrollment," Emanuel said, noting that he is not going to "nit-pick" the board's decisions.

"That's my preference, but that doesn't mean that's what [the board is] going to have. And I want kids - like I just saw - and other kids, to have the opportunity to come to the schools."

Emanuel's appointments caught at least some students by surprise. A critic of the current leadership, Vivana Moreno of Wilbur Wright College, said she is upset the mayor-elect didn't seek out more student input before making his decision.