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Author Topic: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?  (Read 2562 times)

ElizaB

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Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« on: March 13, 2005, 09:44:37 AM »
I have posted sooo much personal information on this website over the past couple of months!  Not only could a school easily identify my application, but they could probably learn way more about my personal life then I would ever want them to know.  I don't thing I have ever said anything untrue or that could even be held against me (that I can think of)...but just the fact that adcomms could find out my business & my thought processs on different schools as I go through the app process really kind of creeps me out.  Everything I have said is stuff that I would not mind my future classmates knowing (I realize that it isn't too difficult to figure out who I am) because I assumed that they were the ones frequenting these boards...but I have said alot of things I wouldn't want adcomms, deans and future profs reading. 

Prior to BigTex's situation I always assumed that all of the gossip about adcomms reading the board was nothing but rumors and foolishness.  It never occured to me that adcomms (or profs) would have the time or inclination to actually bother with searching these boards, matching up files to user names and trying to find out information on us.  And what really freaks me out is that I have made posts on just about every Texas thread on this board.....

I now feel as if I should go back and either delete or edit all of my previous posts to make sure that they could not be aken as offensive.  Plus, it make me a little worried that some of my posts have already been read and might be used against me.

Just wanting to know if other posters on this board feel the same way......
Attending: Texas

texas1

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2005, 10:13:34 AM »
I have posted sooo much personal information on this website over the past couple of months!  Not only could a school easily identify my application, but they could probably learn way more about my personal life then I would ever want them to know.  I don't thing I have ever said anything untrue or that could even be held against me (that I can think of)...but just the fact that adcomms could find out my business & my thought processs on different schools as I go through the app process really kind of creeps me out.  Everything I have said is stuff that I would not mind my future classmates knowing (I realize that it isn't too difficult to figure out who I am) because I assumed that they were the ones frequenting these boards...but I have said alot of things I wouldn't want adcomms, deans and future profs reading. 

Prior to BigTex's situation I always assumed that all of the gossip about adcomms reading the board was nothing but rumors and foolishness.  It never occured to me that adcomms (or profs) would have the time or inclination to actually bother with searching these boards, matching up files to user names and trying to find out information on us.  And what really freaks me out is that I have made posts on just about every Texas thread on this board.....

I now feel as if I should go back and either delete or edit all of my previous posts to make sure that they could not be aken as offensive.  Plus, it make me a little worried that some of my posts have already been read and might be used against me.

Just wanting to know if other posters on this board feel the same way......

I don't know if scared is the right term, but I've cut off the link to LSN in my profile, and I've changed all my info at LSN to not represent me. I will change everything back when I hear back from the last four schools.

I don't think I ever said anything bad, but who knows, I've ranked the TX schools in order of preference, and maybe some of the schools that I placed as lower initially might hold that against me - who knows...

Again, I'm not overly concerned but I'm sure that some have/will get burned and never know why...

twarga

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2005, 10:18:01 AM »
Nope.  I don't scare that easily... HARVARD, I LOVE YOU!!!
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IndyEntrepreneur

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2005, 10:58:59 AM »
Frankly, it seems to me that this could be a GREAT opportunity for all of us to (re)learn a couple of things:

1.  When you post to a public message board, you should have no expectation of privacy.  None.

2.  Lawyers, much like people in other positions of great responsibility and authority, are often held to higher standards than the rest of the population.

I think that most people understand, or at least intuitively feel, #1.  I believe that #2 is where the majority of people are getting hung up with this recent situation.  You want the prestige, you want the money?  There's more that comes along with that package, folks, and one of those elements is having people (e.g. defense attorneys, disgruntled clients, etc.) look over your lives with a fine-toothed comb, trying to find dirt.  If, for example, you and Joe Schmoe both cheat on your taxes, Joe gets a fine and goes back to work.  You get a fine and risk losing your career.  "But all I did was...that's not fair...what right did you have to look at my PERSONAL TAX RETURNS" probably isn't considered a valid defense in matters like this.

Simply put, BigTex just got a leg up on the rest of us by taking a practice run at a process that will likely continue throughout his career and ours.  It appears to me that he got through it unscathed, but if he or the rest of us simply chalk it up to "evil, invasive adcomms not playing fair" or some such, a reasonably valuable lesson will, in my mind, be lost.

[What in the world did I eat/drink last night?  My recent posts would indicate that I'm in a bit of an odd mood.  Oh well... rolling with it!]   ;D
Accepted:  Boalt, Duke, IU Bloomington (in-state, 19.5k/3 yr), Miami, U Illinois (full tuition), U Texas(in-state, 5k/yr)
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burghblast

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2005, 11:48:19 AM »
Simply put, BigTex just got a leg up on the rest of us by taking a practice run at a process that will likely continue throughout his career and ours.  It appears to me that he got through it unscathed, but if he or the rest of us simply chalk it up to "evil, invasive adcomms not playing fair" or some such, a reasonably valuable lesson will, in my mind, be lost.

I think the vast majority of LSD posters realize that you have no right to privacy on Internet message boards, and that it's entirely reasonable for ad comms to spend some time reading these boards out of curiosity.  Almost all of us are also smart enough to realize how unique of a fingerprint LSAT/GPA combos are, and that it would take very little work for an ad comm to match online personas to real applicants. 

The thing that upset me about the whole situation was the prospect of law schools collaborating together to "pool" applicant data and make decisions as a group. It would be horribly unjust if law school applicants were up against a single cartel making uniform decisions for the top 25 schools.  I don't know how common things like this happen, or to what extent.  Knowing what I know about BigTex's situation, I guess it's understandable that UT was concerned about ethics violations (Although I don't think there were any, I just think the situation was ambiguous enough to raise doubt).  In cases where it's blatantly obvious that fraud has been perpetrated, I suppose I would expect law schools to share this information with each other.  If an unscrupulous applicant was caught by one school, I wouldn't want him beating me out for a spot at another school because the other school remained oblivious.  But in BigTex's case it was not blatantly obvious; it was a possibility at best.  So I think it was highly unethical for UT to bypass BigTex and take these unsubstantiated claims directly to other law schools, without seeking clarification from him first.  Furthermore, what assurance do we have that extreme situations like these are the only cases in which law schools exercise their collaboration powers?   If I'm a borderline applicant who makes it down to the wire at UT, how do I know they're not picking up the phone to call Michigan or Penn to see what they thought of my application?  THAT is what frightens me, not the possibility of ad comms discovering more information about me on LSD.  I welcome the opportunity to provide as comprehensive picture about myself as possible to every school, and I think ad comms becoming more familiar with my personality could only help my chances.

IndyEntrepreneur

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2005, 12:48:37 PM »
I hear you, Burgh, but I'm proabaly among the higher-ranked conspiratists of the world and I guess I don't share your concern about the "top school cartel."  Given the [friendly but cutthroat?] ranking competition among top schools, I have to think that they are ultimately competing for students, not collaborating on where each one lands.  In my particular case, UT has made a very strong play for my attendance by making my education with them (at this point, at least) roughly 80k cheaper than some of my other top choices.  The same thing happens on the faculty level, with top schools "stealing away" top faculty from other top schools.  I suppose it could all be for show, and indeed that this whole world is balanced on the back of a giant turtle which is nothing but a figment of our collective imagination anyway, but somehow I doubt it.

The troubling thing to me about the BigTex situation is that people here are swelling up over only one side of a story that by its very nature cannot be simple.  The complicating factor is that the other side of the story will likely never be heard, due, I suspect, to the very privacy issues that people are raising on this board.  I see this all the time in the business world:  A terminated employee can essentially say (within reason) whatever they care to about why they were terminated, often resulting in a high level of gossip and rumor-mongering.  The company (i.e. the administrative people therein) can and must say nothing in response.  It can be quite a challenge at times, particularly when good employees get swept up in the process due to a lack of comprehensive information.

Most of us, when we matriculate, will be signing something to the effect that we promise to not only not engage in unethical behavior ourselves, but to promptly report such that we see around us.  In the same way, law school administrators that do not respond in some way to an appearance of unethical behavior risk being second-guessed later on if it turns out they closed their eyes to something of substance.  Let's say, for example, that Tex ended up attending Michigan, which seemed a strong possibility from reading his posts here.  From UT's perspective, how do they know that he really sent this "diversity essay" to Michigan when he did not send it to them?  They don't.  Let's now say that Tex attends Michigan, at which point they find out he's really a white boy admitted under URM pretense, and expel him for an ethics violation.  Does the UT admininistration then have some level of culpability due the fact that they KNEW he was caucasian, KNEW that he had applied as a URM, KNEW that he was going to attend a school on that basis, DID NOT KNOW whether or not he had, as he claimed, submitted diversity information to the other schools, and said nothing?  I think this is, at the least, an open question, and not a question that can be answered quite as quickly as some here have attempted.

I think this situation is far from suggesting that schools may just be "picking up the phone to call X or Y to see what they thought of my application."  I think that this has everything to do with a suspected ethics violation, and resultant behavior on UT's part do divest themselves of responsibility in the matter, should it prove to be true.  I don't think it's clear whether or not there was, indeed, an ethical breach, nor will it likely ever be clear to anyone not directly involved.  I do however, strongly believe that there are ways that UT's behavior can be explained, in a perfectly rational fashion, other than those that have permeated this board of late.

All else aside, I think that a message from this whole mess is that going out of one's way to provide full disclosure in "iffy" situations will lessen the probability of things like this happening during our education, our bar passage, or our practice.  Going very far past that is, in my opinion, little more the speculation on everyone's part.
Accepted:  Boalt, Duke, IU Bloomington (in-state, 19.5k/3 yr), Miami, U Illinois (full tuition), U Texas(in-state, 5k/yr)
Rejected:  ---
Waitlisted:  Northwestern, U Michigan

Pending:  Harvard, Notre Dame, USC

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ElizaB

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2005, 01:36:35 PM »
Indy - I agree with everything you just said and I think that it is the best synopsis of the situation that I have read on this board.

However, it absolutely blows my mind that the UT adcomms are taking the time to troll this board when they have a stack of over 6,000 applications sitting in their offices. 
Attending: Texas

WoeIsMe

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2005, 01:43:09 PM »
Repost from other thread.  feeling kinda lazy to adapt.

we have to consider the ethics rules ABA imposes on U Texas.  And do you go to the questionable applicant, or to the 10+ applicant submissions by said applicant.

-------------------------

I don't believe this U of Texas fiasco should in any way reflect negatively on U of Texas.

At the time, I didn't feel it was necessary to add this to the debate fray, but U of Texas adcomm may be under similar ethics rules as attorneys regarding ethical improprieties.  To this extent it may have been the duty of U of Texas to further investigate the discrepancy between the BigTex race/ethnicity in the application and on lsn.  It really doesn't involve a witch-hunt or any great degree of intelligence to deduce a person from their lsn numbers and submitted application.

Given that everyone understands some minority groups can get a boost, and an applicant was reporting white on lsn and Hispanic on an application, to someone under ABA ethics guidelines, this creates a reasonable suspicion of fraud, and the school may be required to report this to the ABA.  However that in itself doesn't constitute proof, so the choice was to either consult the applicant, or consult other law schools where this applicant may have submitted similar documentation.  Different people may choose differently, but I personally would believe applications at 10 different schools would prove more consistent and stronger evidence than a verbal reassurance from said applicant.

The point is to consider what ethics requirements the U of Texas may be under.  BigTex's assertion that the U of Texas was jealous and mad because he didn't submit the addendum sent to ther schools is almost ridiculous to believe.  My guess is people took this on face value when lost in the 'Oh my God, they're reading my internet posts' hysteria.

burghblast

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2005, 01:45:27 PM »
Indy - I agree with everything you just said and I think that it is the best synopsis of the situation that I have read on this board.

However, it absolutely blows my mind that the UT adcomms are taking the time to troll this board when they have a stack of over 6,000 applications sitting in their offices. 


It doesn't surprise me at all.  It would surprise me if they didn't read these boards.  Think about it: If you were responsible for hiring at an organization and prospective employees congregated online to debate the strengths and weaknesses of your company and your competitors, wouldn't you be curious enough to check it out?  I know I would.

ElizaB

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Re: Is anybody else really scared by this BigTex thing?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2005, 01:49:03 PM »
I suppose it is not unreasonable to look up what people are saying about you, but I wouldn't think they would take the time to match up an applicant to profile....even if it isn't difficult, they still have 6,000 applications to look through to find that applicant.
Attending: Texas