The 1951 novel “Catch-22” byJoseph Heller describes its own title as a situation from which you cannot escape because of contradictory rules, such as “How am I supposed to gain experience to get a job if I’m constantly turned down for not having any experience?” The troubles for public higher edu- cation in Illinois, which have attracted much national atten- tion, seem to be a clear example of a Catch-22 situation. And it seems that the last few weeks have been nothing but full of bad news for Illinois higher ed.
First, we have the case report- ed by “The Daily Egyptian,” the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University in Carbon- dale, that the daughter and son- in-law of Carlo D. Montemagno, the school’s chancellor since August of last year, had been hired into positions created for them. Melissa Germain, Montemagno’s daughter, was hired as an assistant director of uni- versity communications, earn-ing an annual salary of $52,000. Her husband, Je rey Germain, makes $45 an hour as a seniorresearch coordinator. And all this is happening at a universityin serious nancial distress, andin a state where higher education has been severely underfunded.