CHICAGO — The chairman of the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees resigned Monday amid an investigation into the use of political clout to get underqualified students into the school.
Niranjan Shah said in a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn that he decided to step down after members of a state commission investigating the admissions practices said they believed the trustees should resign.
Shah is the second trustee to do so, after former chairman Lawrence Eppley quit last week.
"I am not in public service for self-aggrandizement and therefore have no interest in a protracted process regarding my role," Shah wrote. "My interest is solely in the vitality of the University of Illinois."
The school's flagship campus at Champaign-Urbana has been at the center of a storm since the Chicago Tribune reported in May that the school maintained a list of politically connected students, known as Category I. The newspaper said some underqualified members of the list were admitted under pressure from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, university trustees and others.
Quinn said Monday he accepted Shah's resignation, which is effective in 90 days, or sooner if a successor is in place. He said the search for a successor would begin immediately.
Shah had been accused of pushing to admit certain applicants and arranging for his future son-in-law to work for the school. Shah has denied trying to admit relatives to the school or being pressured by public officials to support certain applicants.
Chancellor Richard Herman and university President B. Joseph White did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Quinn appointed the Illinois Admissions Review Commission after the Category I list became public. Commission member Bernard Judge of Chicago said he was glad Shah resigned.
"I think he did the university a favor by resigning now," Judge said. "It will end any further need to seek his resignation."
The panel's final report is due this week.
On the Net:
Illinois Admissions Review Commission: http://admissionsreview.illinois.gov/