Bad Ideas, Cardozo Law School, Rankings, U.S. News

Cardozo Admits Goof

The headline comes from a tipster, but I think it perfectly sums up the Cardozo note in their latest alumni newsletter. Cardozo has issued an intellectually soft apology that admits what they did, but completely glosses over why they did it. “Aww shucks, we’re just goofy!”

Last week, we caught Cardozo trying to game the U.S. News ranking system by encouraging students to make token donations in order to pump up the school’s alumni participation score. The school said that alumni participation was a factor in the U.S. News law school rankings, but it turns out they were wrong.

The school is now apologizing for the error. They’re not apologizing for trying to game the rankings, they’re just apologizing for being wrong about how to do it….

Here’s the pertinent part from the section titled “Many Thanks and a Correction,” in the Cardozo alumni email:

And, to this end, I need to apologize, most especially to our class agents, for the incorrect information we gave to distribute in your June email to classmates reminding them to make a gift to the Cardozo annual fund.

We said that the percentage of alumni participation is a metric in the US News ratings system. It is not. We were in error. We apologize to you and to all of our alumni for distributing a piece of incorrect information.

Alumni participation, however, is critical to strengthening the resources we offer our students and to advancing the law school. It is also a very public statement of the confidence that our alums have in the law school.

I’d like for Cardozo to explain why, in an alumni giving campaign, the school thought it wise to tie alumni giving to the school’s U.S. News rank in the first place. That the school was wrong about how to game the rankings is hilarious and embarrassing for them. But that the school tried to do it in the first place is there problem that has not been addressed. Why was the school telling people, recent graduates who are out their struggling in the difficult job market, that the way to retroactively “increase the value” of their law degree was to give money to the school and help the school look pretty in a magazine?

Look, I know the students who go to or who have graduated from Cardozo are kind of “pot committed” to the school, and kind of have no choice but to read everything the school does in the best possible light. That’s fine. I just think that if Cardozo wants alumni to make a “very public statement” in confidence about the law school, then the law school owes them the respect to meet the challenges of this legal market with real effort and consideration, not cheap gimmicks and “whoopsies” emails.

Earlier: Law School’s Guerrilla Campaign To Inflate Its U.S. News Rank Turns Out To Be Too Dumb To Inflate Its U.S. News Rank
A Law School Shows Everything That’s Wrong With Law Schools and U.S. News Rankings, In One Email

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