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U Of I Law School Slapped With $250,000 Fine For Falsifying Student Scores

Photo Of The Quad At The University Of Illinois. (U Of I Photo)

Photo Of The Quad At The University Of Illinois. (U Of I Photo)

conway250 Bob Conway
Bob Conway joined WBBM Newsradio 780 in August of 2000 as a part time...
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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.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

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.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)