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

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.

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