December 14, 2016

RACE AND ADMISSIONS IN ARKANSAS: UALR LawProf Robert Steinbuch writes:

I recently sued my law school (the UALR-Bowen School of Law) to get access to admissions and bar-passage data. I wasn’t planning on doing that, but it became necessary after the administration refused my Freedom of Information Act request about these matters. After I filed suit, the school gave me the data I wanted.

When I examined that data, I discovered a set of uncomfortable facts that was difficult to reconcile with the narrative that my law school had presented. Litigation produces results, even though I had hoped (like all potential plaintiffs) to avoid its time and expense.

As a lawyer and law professor, I understand the value of the American dispute resolution system, i.e., courts. I’ve done what I teach my students: I’ve used courts to pursue justice. As I was pursuing my lawsuit and chasing the data, I was challenged by my colleagues (which was o.k.) and attacked by them (which was not o.k.); I added retaliation claims to my lawsuit; and I published a law-journal article in which my PhD-in-statistics coauthor and I confirmed that the UALR law school had admitted some minorities with significantly lower incoming metrics, which corresponded with significantly worse bar-passage rates. Since then, I have been appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’s Arkansas Advisory Committee.

Punch back twice as hard.

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