UI withdraws inaccurate info about incoming law school class

URBANA — The University of Illinois posted inaccurate data about the grades and test scores of this semester's incoming first-year law school class on its website, but has now removed that data and put an administrator on leave.

"Somebody saw prior information for the incoming class and thought it wasn't accurate, that it did not accurately reflect LSAT scores and grades for the class," UI spokesman Tom Hardy said.

The UI Ethics Office received information that caused review about possible inaccuracies in student profile data on Aug. 26.

An assistant dean  has been placed on administrative leave, but Hardy declined to name that person.

The data in question involve median law-school entrance test scores and grade point averages of the incoming Class of 2014 that may have been inaccurately reported on the College of Law's website and in promotional publications.

Hardy said the matter is being taken very seriously and the UI did not send erroneous information to the American Bar Association, which collects the material.

"We're investigating this thoroughly, swiftly and immediately," Hardy said.

The information being investigated may have been distributed in other places, and the UI is withdrawing any use of the material, he said.

Hardy would not comment on whether the information had been changed deliberately.

"We're conducting an inquiry into how this may have happened," he said.

The UI Ethics Office and Office of University Counsel are leading the review and have engaged the assistance of outside legal counsel familiar with the UI and its data-reporting requirements and processes.

Duff & Phelps, an independent advisory firm with expertise in data processing and forensic analysis, has been hired to work on the issue, along with Theodore Chung of the law firm Jones Day, who will conduct the review with the assistance of College of Law officials, Hardy said.

Chung has considerable experience with administrative investigations in Illinois and has handled cases involving accounting irregularities, among other matters. The UI intends to provide the accurate College of Law class profile information as soon as it is verified.

Hardy said College of Law members were informed of this issue Friday, the same day UI trustees held long closed sessions.

Only two years ago, the UI president, the Urbana chancellor and most of the trustees lost their jobs in the Category I admissions scandal.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm
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Not surprising.

While I was studying for the bar exam, someone called from the Careers Office. They asked me to declare myself employed. I told them I was working in the same snack bar that I'd worked in since freshman year in college.

"That's employed!" insisted the paper pusher.

It started to dawn on me that the College of Law is not all it purports to be. All the Chicago firms made it clear: they were accepting applications from the top ten percent of my graduating class. B students like myself were free to hang our shingles wherever we liked, but the job offers were going to Harvard grads.

I declined to boost their numbers.

jwr12 wrote on September 12, 2011 at 1:09 am

While swift action to discover just how inaccurate information appeared on a website is no doubt needed, I find it sad that (in a time of financial crisis) a gaggle of outside consultants and law firms are being brought in to do this investigation. I hope the College of Law will do the right thing and bear these costs out of its own budget. Jones, Day, Chung & Co. no doubt don't come cheap -- and a week of their time might well cost several times the discretionary budget of most departments. The real scandal here might end up being how much it costs to outsource the production of integrity, something we should be able to do without high-priced firms.

Yatiri wrote on September 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Lawyers and cheating? Not surprising. Our Congress is mostly lawyers no?