Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation  (Read 4825 times)

j3719

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« on: May 06, 2008, 08:07:15 PM »
I am currently a Graduate student (Master's in Public Policy) at George Mason University, and this has been the big news story on campus. No one has said one way or the other what the ABA has threatened or what they decided, but it has put a lot of people in a state of unease who are thinking about going to Mason in the near future for Law school (myself included for next year). Here is a copy of one of the many articles that has been written about it, this one is from our school's newspaper:

GMU School of Law's Accreditation to Be Revoked?

By Connect Mason News Director Elizabeth Stern
05/06/2008

GMU is heralded for its diversity, which is why some may be surprised to find out that the American Bar Association has been threatening to pull GMU School of Law’s accreditation since early 2000 on account of a low percentage of minority students.

With a population of 503 full-time students in 2007, GMU School of Law ranks 38 in the top 100 law schools in the nation. A recent GMU Gazette article purports that it has now climbed to 34.

Of the entering students in 2000, 6.5 percent were minorities, according to a recent op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. In 2002, 10.8 percent were minorities, which rose to 17.3 percent in 2003 and 19 percent in 2004. The article reported that this number just barely satisfied the ABA when the choice was made to give the law school reaccreditation in 2006 under the condition that “particular attention” would be paid to GMU’s efforts to expand diversity in the upcoming years.

The op-ed states that, while the law school insists that “very active effort” had been made to recruit minorities, the ABA had “serious concerns” and claimed that the school seemed “unwilling to engage in any significant preferential affirmative action admissions program.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The ABA summoned the university's president [Alan Merten] and law school dean [Daniel Polsby] to appear before it personally, threatening to revoke the institution's accreditation."

The Wall Street Journal claims that the ABA had complaints about the numbers of students in minorities who attended the school. “Of the 99 minority students in 2003,” the ABA objected, “only 23 were African American; of 111 minority students in 2004, the number of African Americans held at 23.” 63 African American applicants had been admitted, the article said.

The law school responded by lowering admissions standards for minority students, according to the article. In turn, this could tarnish the school’s reputation. Like all law schools, GMU School of Law insists on admitting students who take and score within a certain percentile on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

The op-ed also claimed that a study conducted several years ago revealed that “31 percent of respondents conceded to political scientists Susan Welch and John Gruhl that they ‘felt pressure’ ‘to take race into account in making admissions decisions’ from ‘accreditation agencies.’”

If accreditation is revoked from the school, the government will cease providing federal funding.

dekocards

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • stats
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008, 08:20:23 PM »
Ah, the ugly side of AA...

mbw

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5038
  • TTTundra Law 2012
    • View Profile
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 08:29:03 PM »
I suspect the "journalist" didn't do her homework.

The ABA doesn't require schools to participate in affirmative action programs to keep their accreditation; instead, they require all schools to have in place a "diversity plan."  In 2006, the delegates voted to strengthen that requirement, namely Standard 211. (see http://www.abanet.org/media/legaled/hod210_212.pdf.)  I suspect George Mason may not have taken the revisions of that standard to heart.

I speculated last year that the revisions to Standard 211 would have a profound impact on how seriously ABA accredited schools took ethnic/racial diversity.  I'm glad to see the ABA may not be all bark and no bite.
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

j3719

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 08:55:22 PM »
I noticed the section you pointed out as well, but I posted this article as it is the most current one I could find. There was a Wall Street Journal article and Washington Post article last week, but I haven't been able to find them yet. I try to stay out of AA issues, considering I am a white male of Italian descent, so it is an area I don't feel comfortable talking about it. However, what I am concerned about is the rapid rise of Mason's law school, and then this "hidden" bit of information coming out. How likely, if the ABA sticks to their guns when the next review comes up for GMU, would Mason stand to lose its accreditation while students like myself (hopefully) are in the school population?

dekocards

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • stats
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 09:13:52 PM »
I suspect the "journalist" didn't do her homework.

The ABA doesn't require schools to participate in affirmative action programs to keep their accreditation; instead, they require all schools to have in place a "diversity plan."  In 2006, the delegates voted to strengthen that requirement, namely Standard 211. (see http://www.abanet.org/media/legaled/hod210_212.pdf.)  I suspect George Mason may not have taken the revisions of that standard to heart.

I speculated last year that the revisions to Standard 211 would have a profound impact on how seriously ABA accredited schools took ethnic/racial diversity.  I'm glad to see the ABA may not be all bark and no bite.

Oh you're right, they don't have to participate in "affirmative action."  According to rule 211, they just have to take "concrete action[...] and a commitment to having a student body that is diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity."

mbw

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5038
  • TTTundra Law 2012
    • View Profile
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 09:35:21 PM »
I suspect the "journalist" didn't do her homework.

The ABA doesn't require schools to participate in affirmative action programs to keep their accreditation; instead, they require all schools to have in place a "diversity plan."  In 2006, the delegates voted to strengthen that requirement, namely Standard 211. (see http://www.abanet.org/media/legaled/hod210_212.pdf.)  I suspect George Mason may not have taken the revisions of that standard to heart.

I speculated last year that the revisions to Standard 211 would have a profound impact on how seriously ABA accredited schools took ethnic/racial diversity.  I'm glad to see the ABA may not be all bark and no bite.

Oh you're right, they don't have to participate in "affirmative action."  According to rule 211, they just have to take "concrete action[...] and a commitment to having a student body that is diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity."

And did you read the ABA's specific interpretation of that clause?

Quote
This Standard does not specify the forms of concrete actions a law school must take to satisfy its equal opportunity and diversity obligations. The determination of a law school’s satisfaction of such obligations is based on the totality of the law school’s actions and the results achieved. The commitment to providing full educational opportunities for members of underrepresented groups typically includes a special concern for determining the potential of these applicants through the admission process, special recruitment efforts, programs that assist in meeting the academic and financial needs of many of these students and that create a more favorable environment for students from underrepresented groups.

Emphasis mine.

The ABA revised 211 to be in line with Grutter.  You don't agree that a diverse student body is in the best interest of the state (ETA) and a legal education institution, particularly one accredited by the ABA? 
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

dekocards

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • stats
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 09:57:03 PM »
The ABA revised 211 to be in line with Grutter.  You don't agree that a diverse student body is in the best interest of the state (ETA) and a legal education institution, particularly one accredited by the ABA? 

I know exactly why the ABA revised the standard, but a rose by any other name...  Call it what you will, in practice law school affirmative action hasn't substantially changed since Grutter v. Bollinger.

I came from one of the most diverse universities in the country, so I know pretty well the benefits of diversity.  I'm not going to debate AA in general.  I was pointing out that the article highlights some of the problems with the system (e.g. poor minority performance, and unrealistic competition over a limited number of qualified applicants).

SuperDude

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 10:24:34 PM »
GMU will not lose its accreditation for at least 6 more years.  Here is the WSJ article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120934372123648583.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Being a minority myself, I'm discouraged from attending GMU because of this mess.  Good job ABA.

Majmun

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 752
  • Now Featuring Excess Whiteness
    • View Profile
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2008, 09:44:33 AM »
It's a bit strange as there are plenty of schools less racially diverse then GMU.

http://academic.udayton.edu/TheWhitestLawSchools/2005TWLS/index.asp

latinlord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 767
  • ME... Litigating at the Indiana State Court house!
    • AOL Instant Messenger - latinlord
    • View Profile
    • myspace profile, "come and say hello"
    • Email
Re: George Mason Law School may Lose its Accreditation
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2008, 11:03:56 AM »
wow interesting artcile... I studied abroad this summer with someone who attended that school. I'll have to ask him what he think.... I'v heard about that bad rap before.
Graduated from Indiana Law - Indianapolis!!
Was a 3rd year Visiting Student at Villanova University School of Law.
Graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law - LL.M in Trial Advocacy Candidate 2010
 Published by Chicano/Latino Law Review of UCLA LAW. & I'm a Licensed Esq. NOW!