University of Illinois

A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate student and lecturer has filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, alleging the university withheld public documents regarding faculty sexual misconduct that should have been released through public records requests.

Tanya Koonce/Illinois Public Media

Opening statements begin Wednesday morning in Peoria in the federal capital murder trial of Brent Christensen, charged in connection with the disappearance of Yingying Zhang.

The former graduate student is accused of kidnapping and killing  Zhang, a visiting scholar from China at the University of Illinois Urbana campus in 2017. Prosecutors believe the 26-year-old Zhang was kidnapped, tortured and killed, but her body has not been found. They say Christensen, 29, told the FBI that he let Zhang out a few blocks away.

Pixabay

Cyber Monday has grown in popularity as companies offer online deals the Monday after Black Friday. As people use different platforms to make these purchases, their personal information may become vulnerable. On this week's Friday Forum, WNIJ's Jenna Dooley talks with an expert who teaches cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois.
 

John Bambenek says people who try to steal your information mimic brands you're familiar with. He suggests going directly to the websites where you want to make a purchase.

Women and Gender In Global Perspectives website

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, more victims are coming forward to report sexual harassment and assault.

 

But when the victim is a student and the abuser is a professor, the power differential can be a barrier to students speaking out, according to the organizers of an upcoming “#MeToo and Academia” panel discussion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chase Cavanaugh

Northern Illinois University will be the fourth research hub for the Illinois Innovation Network.

This hub will be part of a research network that spans three University of Illinois campuses, each focused on different subjects.  Gov Bruce Rauner says the state’s already budgeted $15 million for NIU’s center, and NIU President Lisa Freeman says the center will focus on issues of sustainability.  

"Environmental sustainability, water and food policy, water and food shortages," she said. 

Gov. Rauner said this could lead to significant innovation.

L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois

A new review finds that lower rates of survival for African-American women with breast cancer are linked to segregation, poverty and lack of access to healthcare facilities.  

Thousands of studies on breast cancer have looked at how a person’s race can affect both when they get diagnosed and their chance of survival. But only a few have explored how racial disparities are connected to other factors, like where women live.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

The question may sound simple, but the answer, like most things in state government, is complicated.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The University of Illinois president told a panel of lawmakers Thursday that he'd like to maintain a freeze on tuition rates.

Tim Killeen, president of the U. of I. system, spoke directly to state Sen. Dan McConchie, whose daughter received financial aid offers from other Big Ten universities, but not the U. of I.

Consequently, she’s joining thousands of other traditional college students moving out of state.

Linda Holmes' Facebook

For more than 30 years, kids with a certain streak of genius have found a home at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in suburban Chicago. It’s the rarest of gems in the educational landscape: a public, affordable, boarding school.

Don Hamerman / University of Illinois

If you create a million new chemicals, chances are one or two of them could be a life-saving drug. A new research study finds that this shotgun approach to drug discovery can be accelerated with the help of bacteria.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Southampton in England found a way to engineer bacteria cells to create millions of unique chemical compounds.

U Of I Provost Apologizes After GEO Strike

Mar 13, 2018
L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Andreas Cangellaris apologized Monday after he said he received criticism of his actions during the recent strike by graduate student workers.

The apology came during a meeting of the Urbana campus Senate -- which is made up of faculty, students and some staff members -- and several days after the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) called off a nearly two-week long strike. Cangellaris said he was criticized by faculty and students over his handling of the negotiations.

Tentative Agreement Reached On Contract For Grad Workers At U Of I Urbana Campus

Mar 9, 2018
Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Public Media

A tentative contract agreement has been reached between the University of Illinois and striking graduate workers at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The Graduate Employees Organization - or GEO - reported the tentative agreement Thursday morning on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Public Media

Graduate student workers at the University of Illinois have gone on strike after 11 months of unsuccessful talks with administrators on a new contract.

Picket lines started Monday morning on the Urbana-Champaign campus, with a few hundred people gathering for a midday rally. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports some undergraduate classes were canceled or moved to buildings away from picketing.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

A panel of state senators heard budget requests from agencies representing colleges and universities, and lawmakers took the opportunity to ask why neighboring states are able to lure so many Illinois students away.

The answer is pretty simple: Other Big 10 schools offer financial considerations that the Illinois flagship campus can't match.

Conservation Officials Want You To Eat Asian Carp

Jan 25, 2018
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Eat Asian carp. That’s the message from Illinois and Louisiana as conservation officials try to find a way to stop the invasive fresh water species.

Several varieties of Asian carp are choking Illinois rivers and threatening the Great Lakes. Lieutenant governor Evelyn Sanguinetti hosted a luncheon Monday on the University of Illinois campus, where Asian carp producers, consumers and wildlife officials sampled carp dishes.

The menu included seared Asian carp cakes with a Cajun sauce and potato-wrapped Asian carp with a fire-roasted tomato emulsion. 

Flickr User Brent Hoard/ "ECU School of Education Class Room" (cc by 2.0)

For the past several years, Illinois has been losing more college students than any state except New Jersey. Last year, as higher education was starved by the state budget impasse, that trend continued.

Overall, undergraduate enrollment decreased by 2 percent, with even steeper drops at public universities and community colleges. 

Schools defying this trend include those focused on medical professions, such as City Colleges of Chicago's Malcolm X campus. Mark Potter, the provost, said its home in the medical district makes it more attractive.

University of Illinois Police

An October 11 arraignment date has been set for Brendt Christensen, after a federal grand jury returned a new indictment accusing the alleged kidnapper of Yingying Zhang of murdering her as well.

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case challenging partisan legislative maps.

Wendy Tam Cho, a University of Illinois political science professor, says this case is particularly important because it could determine the court’s role in future cases on gerrymandering. 

NCAA

Federal prosecutors indicted four NCAA men’s basketball assistant coaches on charges of fraud and corruption. 

One of them, Lamont Evans, worked under current University of Illinois head coach Brad Underwood when Underwood was the head coach at Oklahoma State University.

The other three assistant coaches charged are Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, and Tony Bland of the University of Southern California.

Prosecutors also indicted James Gatto, the Director of Global Marketing for Adidas.

"Foellinger Auditorium, University of Illinois" by Flickr user Vince Smith / (CC x 2.0)

Now that Illinois has a budget, the University of Illinois officially can launch an initiative aimed at recruiting top faculty, U of I President Tim Killeen says.

The three-year $60 million program was announced in May. The university system said Thursday that the campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield now can make proposals for money to recruit professors. The objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

Photo Provided by University of Illinois Police

Lawyers for Brendt Christensen, the 27-year-old man accused of kidnapping Yingying Zhang, are asking a judge’s permission to withdraw from the case.

Attorneys Thomas, Evan and Anthony Bruno have been representing Christensen, who’s accused of kidnapping University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.

U Of I Could Host New Bioenergy Research Center

Jul 18, 2017
Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

If Congress approves, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will host a $104 million center for research into new biofuels and bioproducts.

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding the money over the next five years to help create the university’s new Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation --- CABBI for short.

Plant Biology Professor Evan DeLucia, who will be CABBI’s director, says the Energy Department was attracted to U of I because of the bioenergy work it’s already doing.

University of Illinois Police

Investigators say surveillance cameras at the University of Illinois helped find a suspect in the disappearance of a Chinese scholar.

The News-Gazette reports the footage showed Yingying Zhang getting into a black Saturn Astra before she disappeared on June 9 in Urbana. The video was made public after Zhang was reported missing.

The defense attorney for a man accused of kidnapping a University of Illinois scholar from China says his client deserves the "presumption of innocence."

Tom Bruno represents 28-year-old Brendt Christensen, who is accused of kidnapping 26-year-old Yingying Zhang and is jailed pending trial. Authorities believe she's dead, although her body hasn't been found. Christensen was arrested Friday.

Bruno said Thursday that he doesn't think "a negative inference" can be made from prosecutors' statements that Christensen marched in a vigil for Zhang a day before he was arrested.

Dusty Rhodes/NPR Illinois

Commencement ceremonies took place on many college campuses this past weekend, including the University of Illinois, where a popular TV star spoke to graduates.

But the Black Congratulatory ceremony at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was particularly unique. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The University of Illinois System has launched a three-year, $60 million initiative to recruit top faculty to its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

University President Tim Killeen announced the effort Thursday, the News-Gazette reports. Killeen says the objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

The plan is dubbed the President's Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ News

New bylaws from the University of Illinois fraternities' governing board will require all chapters to train their members on how to intervene to prevent sexual assault.

The change from the university's student-run Interfraternity Council requires all 42 campus fraternities to teach every second-year member about “bystander intervention" in addition to the two sexual-assault-prevention programs already mandated for all students on campus, the News-Gazette reports.

The University of Illinois is proposing a financial aid package to keep students in-state. 

“Invest in Illinoisans” would spend $850 million over 5 years. Chicago-area State Representative Mike Zalewski says it’s needed to avoid a brain-drain.  

"We are losing an unsustainable amount of young Illinoisans to other universities, and that is the state's real out-migration problem," he said.  "We cannot afford to have our best and our brightest talent going to other universities to learn to grow and to start their families.  It has to stay in Illinois."  

University of Illinois officials unveiled an enrollment plan Thursday at a Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago, with protestors calling for protection of undocumented students.  

Trustees want to boost system-wide enrollment to more than 90,000 students by 2021.  President Tim Killeen told them that, as of 2014, nearly half of high school graduates attended college outside the state.  He says they’re less likely to return home to start a career and family.

http://www.bot.uillinois.edu/koritz

A Rockford anesthesiologist has been elected to a one-year term as chairman of the University of Illinois system's Board of Trustees.

Dr. Timothy Koritz of Roscoe was chosen for the position Thursday at a trustees meeting in Chicago. He's been on the board since 2009. He works at Rockford Memorial Hospital and is a former professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Urbana-Champaign campus.

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