Champaign Senate voted to recommend that UI President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman be replaced, and UI Board of Trustees chair Christopher Kennedy announced that an ad hoc committee of the board would review the performance of university personnel in relation to the Category I admissions controversy.
During a special meeting at Levis Center, the senate voted 98-55 in favor of the senate's amended resolution of Aug. 31, which called upon the trustees to make "an orderly transition to new leadership" to begin undoing the damage to the university's reputation caused by allegations that some students gained admission to the UI because of their connections to influential people.
In an extended meeting that lasted until 6 p.m., and that included an executive session of more than an hour, the senate rejected a revised resolution, SC.10.01B, which was distributed the day of the senate meeting. The revised resolution called only for a personnel review - and stopped short of asking that White and Herman be removed from office, but said that the senate would revisit the issue and reserved the right to recommend additional actions in the future.
In presenting the revised resolution to the senate, SEC chair Joyce Tolliver said that the SEC decided to reconsider its recommendation for new leadership after Tolliver, outgoing SEC chair Nicholas Burbules and SEC vice chair Matt Wheeler met with trustees Christopher Kennedy and Pamela Strobel last week.
Kennedy and Strobel "emphasized the need for prompt and definitive resolution of this crisis" and discussed initiating a personnel review process and how the university could best move forward, Tolliver said. Additionally, Kennedy and Strobel offered assurances that the board would consider faculty members' trust and confidence in university and campus leaders when making any decisions, and they committed to meeting with the senate to forge a more collegial relationship than existed in the past.
The revised resolution "reflects our conviction that we have now been presented with the opportunity for a radically different relationship with the board of trustees, one that is truly in the best spirit of shared governance, and that we cannot afford to squander that opportunity," Tolliver said.
The resolution endorsed by the senate said that the Admissions Review Commission's investigation had "already resulted in a drain on the university's economic and human resources, with no end in sight" and that White and Herman's undermined leadership "will likely result in further questions and controversies that would embroil the university in additional distractions and damage-control."
"For 4 1/2 years, I have worked to insulate this university from external pressures in an extremely difficult and intensely political environment," White said. "I stood behind every admissions denial, no matter who the advocates or how persistent they were. ... I came to Illinois in 2005 a fiercely independent person and a leader of high integrity. I still am."
Herman said: "The best we all can hope for is to be judged by the fullness of our lives and our accomplishments and that is what I ask you to do today. ... America has a long history of leaders who have stumbled, made mistakes, learned from their regrets and gone on to do great deeds."
Several speakers, including Mike Ross, director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, voiced support for White and Herman and spoke in favor of retaining them, citing how they had bettered the university and the campus.
Other faculty members, including Paul Diehl, political science, supported their removal from office, saying that "there are certain kinds of transgressions that are just so egregious that they don't merely tip the scale, they make it come crashing down," and called into question the judgment of leaders who will have to make some very painful budget decisions, including possible employee furloughs.
Also on Sept. 14, Kennedy announced that an ad hoc committee - comprising trustees Karen Hasara, Edward McMillan and Lawrence Oliver - had been formed to conduct personnel reviews as recommended by the ARC report. The committee, to be chaired by Oliver, would meet periodically during the next 60 days and report to the board of trustees.
"Our committee will conduct a thorough, intensive review and analysis, and as part of that process, will receive valued input from various university constituents, including the campus governing bodies," Kennedy said in the announcement. "The committee will then make recommendations to the full board regarding the university's leadership. The committee consists of trustees with extensive experience in both legal and employment issues. And it includes proven business and community leaders who well understand the critical importance of leadership to the university at this time."