Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 10, 2020

Admissions Scandal At Texas Southern Law School Leads To President's Ouster

Karen Sloan (, Admissions Scandal at Texas Southern Law School Leads to President's Ouster:

Thurgood Marshall Logo (2017)An admissions scandal at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law has led to the dismissal of the university’s president, a move that he has vowed to fight.

The University’s board of regents this week dismissed president Austin Lane, in part because he failed to properly disclose that at least one unqualified law student had paid $14,000 to a now-former assistant dean of admissions to secure a spot in the class.

In a termination letter dated Feb. 4, the board also alleges that the law school provided false data to the American Bar Association on student Law School Admission Test scores, and that Lane had pressured former law dean James Douglas to misrepresent the author of a report submitted to the ABA. (Douglas resigned in 2017, saying he and Lane had “different views on how the law school ought to be managed.”)

“A consequence of your actions, and in particular the dishonesty, misrepresentation, material omission, and intentional concealment aspects of your conduct, is injury to the trust placed in you by the board to manage and lead the University on a day-to-day basis,” the termination letter reads.

Lane’s attorney, Kevin O’Hanlon of the firm O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. But Lane, who has been on paid leave for the past month, told supporters on Tuesday that the allegations are untrue. ...

Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, declined to discuss the matter Thursday, saying “there’s nothing public to report about this at this time.” As a result, it’s unclear if the ABA has launched its own investigation into Texas Southern’s admissions data.

The admissions scandal is yet another blow to the Houston law school, which is part of a historically black college and university. The ABA censured the law school in 2017 for being out of compliance with its nondiscrimination standard as well as the standard that requires disclosure of information to the ABA. More specifically, an ABA site visit team found evidence of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the law school. (ABA documents show that Lane appeared at council meeting to appeal the initial finding,offering further evidence of his hands-on approach to the law school. Nevertheless, the school was censured and required to establish a plan to eliminate gender discrimination and sex harassment.)

Just months earlier, the ABA also found Texas Southern out of compliance with the standards meant to ensure schools only admit students who appear capable of graduating and passing the bar.

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