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ABA to Continue as Law School Accrediter, Despite Noncompliance With 17 Regs
Chronicle of Higher Education, ABA Takes Heat From Advisory Panel on Accreditation:
The ABA drew intense scrutiny on Thursday from a federal panel that reviews accrediting agencies. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the U.S. education secretary on accreditation issues, used a meeting here to review the applications of 10 accrediting agencies to be recognized by the federal government. ...
Of the 10 agencies being reviewed on Wednesday and Thursday, all were recommended for continued recognition. ... But several members of the committee expressed reservations about approving that status for the ABA, which was found to be out of compliance with 17 regulations, including the need to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs; to solicit and consider public comments; and to set a standard for job placement by its member institutions.
Arthur E. Keiser, chancellor of the Keiser Collegiate System, said that an accrediting agency would not accredit an institution with 17 outstanding issues. "There is a real concern that this agency doesn't get it," he said. Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, was one of three committee members who opposed the motion to continue the bar association's recognition, saying that she had no confidence it would be in compliance within a year.
Representatives of the association assured the committee that the changes recommended by the department were already in the process of being carried out and would be completed in time.
The bar association also got a negative review from a group of legal faculty members, the Clinical Legal Education Association, which accused the ABA of considering changes in its standards that would "strip important protections of academic freedom and faculty-governance rights ... by eliminating tenure and security of position for deans and faculty members," according to written comments submitted by the faculty group.
Faculty members at 65 law schools as well as a half-dozen faculty associations have voiced opposition to the proposed changes, said Jennifer M. Roberts, an associate professor of law at American University and a board member of the legal-education association. ...
In the end, a majority on the federal advisory committee voted to continue the bar association's recognition, but expressed frustration that they could not take stronger actions or at least state their concerns with stronger language.