Niranjan Shah was a newly elected chairman of the University of Illinois in 2009. After an unfortunate event involving a U of I professor being arrested at his own home during a misunderstanding when someone called the police thinking he was attempting to burglarize the home that same year, President Obama invited both the professor and the arresting officer to the White House in an effort to reconcile the situation.
The controversial arrest of the professor sparked interest in the leadership at the university, particularly regarding favoritism. Niranjan Shah was not exempt from the scrutiny. His firm has had millions of dollars in government contracts and he has been a very generous contributor to campaigns. However, there is no evidence that Niranjan Shah has ever used his contributions to secure more contracts.
Niranjan Shah did not try to cover up his contributions or use them to get an upper hand. His contributions were spread out over a period of 20 years. Furthermore, there was never any correlation between the size of his contributions and the size of his government contracts. Rather, he made contributions because he wanted to make sure that he had a chance to have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Although Niranjan Shah used his contributions with the pure intentions of promoting excellence at the University of Illinois, he said that he had used poor judgment on a few occasions. For public relations reasons along with his own personal health, it may be necessary for Niranjan Shah to resign from his chair.
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