Hogan aide gets a parting gift

Hogan aide gets a parting gift

The top aide to a former University of Illinois president will follow him out the door.

Lisa Troyer, the former chief of staff to ousted University of Illinois President Michael Hogan and the suspected author of the anonymous emails that helped seal her boss's doom, is leaving the UI.

It's good that she's going. It's good that all the wrangling that would have been associated with her staying has been avoided. Nonetheless, it's disappointing to see another top-ranking official who fouled her own nest walk away with so much taxpayer money.

Troyer will receive $175,000, nearly a year's pay under her original university contract, in exchange for dropping whatever legal claims she had against the UI.

It raises, once again, the question: what is the price of failure for esteemed and powerful people who let everyone down?

The obvious answer is that there is no price for failure beyond some personal embarrassment. Troyer can't be happy with her UI experience, but a check for $175,000 will go a long way to smooth her ruffled feathers.

Under the terms of her UI severance agreement, negotiated by Chicago lawyers who will, no doubt, submit an outrageous bill, Troyer will remain on the UI faculty at a salary in excess of $100,000 a year until Aug. 15. So she'll actually profit even more than the $175,000.

Professional misconduct apparently can be a gift that just keeps on giving.

Most people had never heard of Troyer until January when she, in a decision so futile and so foolish as to defy understanding, apparently concocted a scheme to influence a university committee studying admissions issues by sending anonymous emails to committee members.

It took about five minutes for UI officials to figure out the emails came from Troyer's computer. But it set off a weeks-long investigation by pricey law and forensic accounting firms that concluded Troyer's computer, which was in Troyer's possession, was the source of the emails. The controversy spread from there into faculty complaints about Hogan's relationship with the UI faculty members, a conflagration that raged until Hogan announced that he would step down.

Troyer denied all knowledge of the emails then and denies all now.

"I have always stated that I never sent any anonymous emails, and the investigation report never concluded that I did," Troyer recently stated.

That statement is a classic half-truth that will do Troyer's already flagging reputation for veracity no good at all.

Her role in the anonymous emails issue, however, cost Troyer her job as Hogan's chief of staff, although the former UI president deceitfully allowed her to continue to carry on some duties on his behalf after he stated she had been removed.

People around here, of course, know all the gory details and are pretty much sick of hearing about them. They prefer to move forward under the leadership of new UI President Robert Easter, a UI lifer who already has done much to restore a sense of calm and confidence on campus.

But putting the controversy to bed required settling the Troyer issue, a move that pre-empted a faculty inquiry into her ethical fitness to hold a faculty position. There really was nothing to be gained by mucking around in that mess, but cleaning out the Augean stable comes at a high price.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 09, 2012 at 8:07 am

What led up to the most recent U. of I. scandal remains.  The Board of Trustees, and the faculty remain.  Dr. Hogan was following the Board of Trustees directives.  The faculty were opposed to those directives.  The concept of "shared governance" was invoked before Dr. Troyer's alleged e-mails.   Given the problems that universities are facing across the nation; a coordinated response to those problems between the Board of Trustees, and the faculty remains to be seen.  Dr. Troyer's settlement was approved by the Board of Trustees; and it allowed the faculty to avoid the messy process of disciplining one of their own.  The problems did not go away.  Only Dr. Troyer went away. 

cruieo wrote on July 09, 2012 at 2:07 pm

The Problems Do Remain

In a backhanded way & I am sure unintended, this article introduces yet another reason to believe this investigation was at the very least seriously flawed.  Why would Troyer attempt to torpedo the Enrollment Management initiative that was supported by her boss, the Chancellor, and the board with such a "foolish" & "futile" exercise?  It defies logic & raises even more questions about this investigations. Until we find out what was said by the other individuals interviewed in the investigation, until we find out who was not interviewed by the Ethics office,until we find out what happened to the computer during the 14 days it was in the universities hands prior to turning it over to the forensic company and until we find out what the board & it's leadership knew about this flawed investigation then I am afraid Sid is correct. THE PROBLEMS DID NOT GO AWAY,

Foster wrote on July 09, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Ms./Mr. News-Gazette Editors:  This is quite a one-sided back-tracking editorial in light of your earlier editorial to "stop the vendetta" regarding Dr. Troyer.  As comments on other stories you have published reveal, there is striking evidence that the ethics office made many errors in this investigation and that her computer was indeed the target of an attack. Dr. Troyer seems to have become the scapegoat for those errors and then Dr. Hogan. I would like to see the News-Gazette pursue and publish Ms. McNeely's records since she has declared them a matter of public access. Dr. Troyer's records too should be published and I expect could be accessed under Ms. McNeely's declaration of accessibility and her published claim that this situation is not confidential.  If the ethics office was so certain of Dr. Troyer's guilt and had irrefutable evidence thereof, dismissing her would not be messy or difficult. If it took "about five minutes" to ascertain her guilt, then it begs the question of why the U of I invested over $300,000 in outside consultants, not to mention the costs of the legal fees, salary and benefits over eight months and a settlement of $175,000.  To me this seems a pricey cover up for the ethics office and its staff who may have jumped to wrong conclusions without evidence. 

wayward wrote on July 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Oh, like the comments under this story?


There were a few attempts to smear the people who handled the investigation and some UI administrators, but I'd hardly call that "striking evidence that the ethics office made many errors in this investigation and that her computer was indeed the target of an attack."