Jim Dey: Salaita case still rattling UI's rafters

The start of the 2014 fall semester at the University of Illinois featured considerable wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over the Steven Salaita controversy.

The start of the 2015 fall semester at the University of Illinois features considerable wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over the Steven Salaita controversy.

Jim Nowlan: Courts assume Legislature's role

The Illinois Constitution declares that, "The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State" — but who cares what a state constitution says?

Apparently not the federal and state courts, which have declared that most state spending shall go on as if there were an approved budget in place, which there is not.

Jim Dey: Drug conspiracy case takes new twist

If Eddi Ramirez had been familiar with the separate sovereignty exception to the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, he might have taken flight and be on a beach somewhere in Mexico.

Instead, he's cooling his heels in the Macon County Jail, where he faces a state version of the same cocaine conspiracy charges he beat just last month in federal court.

Esther Cepeda: End the school-to-prison pipeline

CHICAGO — A recent poll seems to imply that the general public does not understand, and maybe has never heard of, the school-to-prison pipeline.

It is a national trend in which children — more often than not, minorities — are caught up by "zero-tolerance" public school policies that criminalize minor infractions of school rules.

John Foreman: Fresh faces aside, doubt prevalent on UI campus

A sort of irrepressible optimism settles on the cities this time of year. Fifteen-odd thousand fresh faces — each new crop looking younger than the last — infuse new life, new dreams and new promise to the old college town's bricks and mortar. It somehow seeps into the air.

For most in these parts, it is now — not Jan. 1 — that marks the new year.

George Will: Honoring Ike with monstrosity

WASHINGTON — We could wearily shrug, say "Oh, well" and economize waste and annoyance by just building the proposed $142 million Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. But long after its perpetrators are gone, it would squat there, representing Washington at its worst and proving that we have forgotten how to nurture our national memory with intelligent memorials.

Jim Dey: No decision yet on pension appeal from Madigan

As that great legal theorist Yogi Berra once said, it ain't over 'til it's over.

That's why the final curtain has yet to fall on the controversial 2013 pension reform law, even though the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously rejected it.

Jim Nowlan: Whom can we trust today?

I was prompted to this topic of "Whom can we trust?" by two concerns. First, how does the public, which is expected by our system to be competent, absorb information and develop perspectives in a world where the complexities are seemingly beyond us?

Jim Dey: 'Plagued ... with a civility issue'

Describing himself as being "totally blindsided" by the news, University of Illinois Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy wanted to "share ... my thoughts" with President Robert Easter on the hiring of a former political terrorist.

Esther Cepeda: Don't expect less of minority students, teachers

CHICAGO — This month, a federal judge ruled that one of the four licensing exams that aspiring teachers in New York state must pass does not discriminate against minorities.