John Gotanda

Yesterday, we told you about how Villanova Law, a school still feeling the effects of a censure from the ABA for misrepresenting their class statistics to the organization, was having difficulties administering a 1L contracts exam.

Some people in Professor Joseph Dellapenna’s 1L Contracts class received the wrong exam, other students allegedly consulted their notes while the first mistake was being corrected, and it turned into a big mess. Villanova’s response was to void the essay portion of the exam for everybody, while preserving the multiple choice section, and making everybody “self-schedule” a retake of the essay section.

That was an unpopular decision.

Today, we have news that Villanova changed course. Now the dean is involved. But one wonders if the right solution might have been for everybody to suck it up and grade the original exam as it was taken, warts and all….

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We shouldn’t be surprised that the American Bar Association barely cares about law schools misleading prospective law students when the organization doesn’t even really seem to mind when law school lie directly to the ABA itself. The Villanova Law LSAT scandal has been resolved, and boy are you going to be underwhelmed by the penalties associated with lying to the ABA for four years.

For those who haven’t been following along, an investigation revealed that former Villanova administration officials misrepresented the median LSAT scores and GPAs of incoming Villanova students. The deceit took place for many years. Investigators later found that Villanova also falsely reported the number of admission offers extended to Villanova applicants.

These are pretty serious findings against the school. You’d expect the punishment to be severe… unless you’ve actually been paying attention to how the ABA operates. If you are an ABA watcher, you know that this is an organization that thinks wrists are for slaps, not for cuffs.

Either way, all will find it amusing to listen to Villanova Law Dean John Gotanda try to explain how the meaningless sanction was only achieved because Villanova took the matter so seriously….

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This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.

The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.

The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.

But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…

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In a letter just released to students and alumni of Villanova University School of Law, Dean John Y. Gotanda admits that Villanova Law knowingly reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association, for years prior to 2010.

The school has conducted an internal investigation and has been independently audited by Ropes & Gray. In response to the investigation and audit findings, the school will reorganize its admissions reporting process, with the goal of implementing “a reporting system which is above reproach.” In addition, according to Dean Gotanda’s letter, “the University will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Sadly, this is not the first scandal that has rocked the law school in recent years….

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