Details on Clout Emerge from U of I Admissions Hearing

June 30, 2009

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A former associate admissions director at the University of Illinois says dozens of students have been admitted over the past eight years because of clout.

Abel Montoya told a special commission yesterday how clouted applicants' files were marked with a red stripe to make them stand out.

University trustees, the Chancellor's office, and deans—all made special requests to admit students, Montoya says. But most requests came from the U of I office that interacts with elected officials. Montoya says he saw between 12 and 20 completely unqualified candidates per year admitted due to pressure from higher-ups or the politically connected.

Montoya says the practice made him uncomfortable.

MONTOYA: Well, I'd complain. I would complain to my superiors and say this isn't right. This sucks.

Montoya says around 160 applicants were on the clout list when he left his job last year.