TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dean: Villanova Is Back on Track After Admissions Scandal

Villanova Law LogoPhiladelphia Inquirer:  Dean Says Villanova Law School Is Back on Track After Admissions Scandal:

Relaxed and smiling in his third-floor office at Villanova University's gleaming, glass-sheathed law school building on the Main Line, dean John Y. Gotanda gives no hint of the trauma that gripped the school in early 2011.

That was when the law school disclosed that admissions data for incoming freshmen had been falsified for an unknown period before 2010 and that the Boston law firm Ropes & Gray had been retained to get to the bottom of it. The scandal, which quickly gained national traction, found a ready audience of legal-education critics, who alleged that law schools writ large had been playing games for years with data and had been overcharging their students, to boot.

Since then, Villanova has been given high marks for dealing squarely with an issue that threatened its accreditation. The results of the Ropes & Gray probe were made public, senior administrators in the school's admissions department were let go, and the university hired the accounting and consulting firm KPMG to analyze its procedures and make recommendations for tighter controls on data. The school also engaged former FBI Director Louis Freeh, the epitome of a tough-guy prosecutor, to serve as a monitor for two years, to make sure things stay on the straight and narrow.

Those measures seemingly have won a vote of confidence from both alumni and students. Gotanda said that the 2011 incoming class, at least when measured by class rank and LSAT scores, was the highest-quality ever. ... Villanova, like its peers, has ratcheted down the size of its incoming class, from 250 or so to 215. But it also has launched a far-reaching review of its curriculum and admissions criteria.

(Hat Tip: ABA Journal.)

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