Law Schools

Dean Says Villanova Bounced Back After Admissions Data Scandal; Incoming 2011 Class Set LSAT Record


John Y. Gotanda soon had a scandal on his hands after starting work at Villanova University’s law dean at the beginning of 2011.

Within weeks, he told the university community in a letter, he became aware that the law school had “knowingly reported” inaccurate admissions data, including LSAT test scores and grade-point averages, prior to 2010.

But the Villanova University law dean is relaxed and smiling as he talks now about how the school—which turned out not to be the only one facing such issues—has gotten back on track, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Addressing the situation squarely, the school brought in Ropes & Gray to conduct an investigation, made the results public and asked the KPMG accounting and consulting firm to make recommendations for data controls, among other measures.

At the same time, Villanova enrolled an incoming 2011 incoming class that had the highest-quality class rank and LSAT scores ever, Gotanda tells the newspaper, and fundraising also hit a new record for the year ending in May for years in which no campaign was mounted. Most of the money was given without restrictions, which also suggests confidence in the school.

“How can it happen? It was a small, closed group of people who held that information with very little transparency, and when they had a closed loop there, it was very hard to penetrate that,” Gotanda said of the scandal. “While I would admit it was a terrible black eye, the response has been tremendous.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “ABA Raps Villanova re Inaccurate Admission Data, Says Law School Must Post Censure Online”

ABAJournal.com: “ABA Legal Education Section, LSAC to Certify Admissions Data About Entering Law Classes”

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