Reporting Bob Conway
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (CBS) — The University of Illinois Law School has been censured and fined by the American Bar Association.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, an association spokesman says the $250,000 fine is unprecedented. The penalty was levied because the school posted false entrance exam scores to enhance its image and reputation.
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The Bar Association also censured the U of I undergraduate College of Law, will require that the college hire someone to monitor the admissions process and data for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years and give up an early admissions program.
According to the ABA, the U of I reported false admissions test scores and inaccurate incoming student grade point averages to the association and others for the entering classes of six years.
The Bar Association, which accredits law schools, also carried out is own investigation, and Tuesday’s censure was the result. The association found that data was intentionally inflated for the incoming classes of 2005 and 2007 through 2011.
The data also were used by the influential U.S. News & World Report, which ranks higher education institutions. Their high scores are prized by universities, and Pless’ salary was linked the law school’s national ranking.
The U of I’s law school fell 12 spots in the magazine’s latest rankings this spring, to No. 35.
Paul Pless, the former College of Law dean, resigned in November. He was responsible for reporting the data, which was used to market the school to students.
While U of I officials have said a former admissions dean acted alone, the ABA found the school had created an environment that placed too much emphasis on rankings.
The Bar Association is also requiring that the school hire someone to monitor the admissions data for the next two years.
In an e-mailed statement to the Associated Press, university spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the law school had already taken steps it believes will fix the cited problems.
“We are disappointed by the sanctions imposed by the Council but relieved to put this difficult chapter behind us,” she said.
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