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ABA Raps Villanova re Inaccurate Admission Data, Says Law School Must Post Censure Online

Posted Aug 15, 2011 3:23 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: The ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has sanctioned Villanova University for inaccurately reporting law school admission data.

In a letter (PDF) on Friday to the university's president and the dean of the Villanova University School of Law, the section's council says the law school's intentional reporting of inaccurate information to the ABA would have justified putting the institution on probation or removing it from the list of ABA-approved law schools.

However, because Villanova self-reported the problem to the ABA, corrected it "and separated from the law school all persons responsible for the misrepresentations and misleading conduct," lesser sanctions were imposed, the letter says.

They include a public censure (PDF, scroll down) that the law school must post online for the next two years.

In an email (PDF) this afternoon to alumni, students and faculty, the law school's dean, John Gotanda, said that no one currently at Villanova had been involved and emphasized that Villanova took swift and sweeping action to address the situation once it came to light.

"In short, we have promptly and thoroughly investigated the matter," he writes in the email, which was provided to the ABA Journal by a law school representative. "We have taken steps to ensure that wrongdoing will not be tolerated and that the law school will conduct its affairs in an open, honest and remedial way. Going forward, the information provided to the ABA and other parties will be accurate, complete, and verifiable, and such misconduct will never occur again at Villanova."

The censure letter says a former dean "directed the misreporting activity" by three other now-former law school officials.

A law school investigation "determined that these four individuals acted in secret, and worked to prevent other persons at the law school and university from learning that admissions data was being misreported to the ABA," the letter states.

"The investigation further disclosed," the letter continues, "that a former assistant dean for admissions" who left Villanova a number of years earlier "intentionally miscalculated admission statistics that were reported to the ABA."

Villanova must also undergo a compliance audit for at least the next two years to ensure that its data is accurate and provide information about appropriate practices to other law schools.

Previous ABAJournal.com posts provide additional details about what happened:

Villanova Says Inaccurate LSAT and GPA Data Were ‘Knowingly Reported’ to the ABA in Prior Years

US News Won’t Alter Old Surveys, But Foresees ‘Negative Impact’ re New Villanova LSAT, GPA Info

US News to Law Deans: Please Don’t Fudge Your Numbers

Updated at 5:11 p.m. to include information from law school dean's email.

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