U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

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Cornelius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Cornelius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:30 pm

Samara wrote:Over the past three cycles, he modified GPAs, but no LSAT scores. It was only this past cycle (where he was caught) that he fudged both LSAT and GPA numbers and the first cycle he did for a huge portion of the students.

The chart on page 3 indicates otherwise. Also this:
With respect to LSAT data, in a spreadsheet Pless used to track applicants and to compute the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score, one student’s LSAT score was changed to 166, despite the fact that, as indicated by that student’s application materials maintained within LSAC’s CAS database, the student had an LSAT score of 165. Based on LSAC data, 117 students in the class had an LSAT score below 166; while 115 students had an LSAT score of 166 or above. Increasing this one, below-166 LSAT score to 166 thus had the effect of equalizing the number of scores below 166 and those scores at or above 166 (116 for both) andcreating a data foundation (albeit an erroneous one) for the claim that the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score was 166.

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Samara
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Samara » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:33 pm

Cornelius wrote:
Samara wrote:Over the past three cycles, he modified GPAs, but no LSAT scores. It was only this past cycle (where he was caught) that he fudged both LSAT and GPA numbers and the first cycle he did for a huge portion of the students.

The chart on page 3 indicates otherwise. Also this:
With respect to LSAT data, in a spreadsheet Pless used to track applicants and to compute the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score, one student’s LSAT score was changed to 166, despite the fact that, as indicated by that student’s application materials maintained within LSAC’s CAS database, the student had an LSAT score of 165. Based on LSAC data, 117 students in the class had an LSAT score below 166; while 115 students had an LSAT score of 166 or above. Increasing this one, below-166 LSAT score to 166 thus had the effect of equalizing the number of scores below 166 and those scores at or above 166 (116 for both) andcreating a data foundation (albeit an erroneous one) for the claim that the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score was 166.

ETA: I see what you mean. I think there is a part somewhere else in the report that said that one number changed didn't end up impacting much. I don't really remember. My point is that it wasn't large-scale until the past cycle.

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Cornelius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Cornelius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:35 pm

Samara wrote:
Cornelius wrote:
Samara wrote:Over the past three cycles, he modified GPAs, but no LSAT scores. It was only this past cycle (where he was caught) that he fudged both LSAT and GPA numbers and the first cycle he did for a huge portion of the students.

The chart on page 3 indicates otherwise. Also this:
With respect to LSAT data, in a spreadsheet Pless used to track applicants and to compute the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score, one student’s LSAT score was changed to 166, despite the fact that, as indicated by that student’s application materials maintained within LSAC’s CAS database, the student had an LSAT score of 165. Based on LSAC data, 117 students in the class had an LSAT score below 166; while 115 students had an LSAT score of 166 or above. Increasing this one, below-166 LSAT score to 166 thus had the effect of equalizing the number of scores below 166 and those scores at or above 166 (116 for both) andcreating a data foundation (albeit an erroneous one) for the claim that the Class of 2012’s median LSAT score was 166.

Did you read my next sentence? The bolded part was worded poorly, I admit, but he only modified LSAT scores over the past cycle and GPAs over the past three.

I must still be misunderstanding you, because the document is pretty clear that there were 3 cycles where students had their LSAT modified - classes of 2011, 2012, and 2014. Granted, it was only 1 or 2 students in 2011 and 2012, but modified nonetheless.
Last edited by Cornelius on Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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minnbills
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby minnbills » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:36 pm

From what I remember there was heavy tampering for at least 3 cycles.

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Samara
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Samara » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:37 pm

Cornelius wrote:I must still be misunderstanding you, because the document is pretty clear that there were 3 cycles where students had their LSAT modified - classes of 2011, 2012, and 2014. Granted, it was only 1 or 2 students in 2011 and 2012, but modified nonetheless.

See my edits above.

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Cornelius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Cornelius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:39 pm

Samara wrote:
Cornelius wrote:I must still be misunderstanding you, because the document is pretty clear that there were 3 cycles where students had their LSAT modified - classes of 2011, 2012, and 2014. Granted, it was only 1 or 2 students in 2011 and 2012, but modified nonetheless.

See my edits above.

Fair enough. Yes, the LSAT manipulation wasn't as widespread until last cycle. In the other two cycles, they were close enough to the median that changing only 1 or 2 people had the desired effect.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:43 pm

What I can't comprehend is why Hurd kept justifying giving Pless a raise based on numbers Pless was providing without any fact-checking or oversight. I can only imagine what my boss would say if I walked into her office and said: "Hey, I'm doing great work, here are some numbers I am providing to you to prove my point. Give me a raise now, as these numbers clearly show I deserve it. Also, don't bother checking the numbers. I am providing them to you, which is good enough."

I don't think Hurd, or anyone else, knew what Pless was doing, but it is absolutely their obligation to ensure the numbers they sign off on, and publish, are accurate.

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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Chupavida » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:44 pm

.
Last edited by Chupavida on Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Samara
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Samara » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:45 pm

ScrabbleChamp wrote:What I can't comprehend is why Hurd kept justifying giving Pless a raise based on numbers Pless was providing without any fact-checking or oversight. I can only imagine what my boss would say if I walked into her office and said: "Hey, I'm doing great work, here are some numbers I am providing to you to prove my point. Give me a raise now, as these numbers clearly show I deserve it. Also, don't bother checking the numbers. I am providing them to you, which is good enough."

I don't think Hurd, or anyone else, knew what Pless was doing, but it is absolutely their obligation to ensure the numbers they sign off on, and publish, are accurate.

I agree. Hurd should have raised an eyebrow when someone who had basically no experience with admissions suddenly found a way to boost medians that nobody else could figure out.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:52 pm

Samara wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:What I can't comprehend is why Hurd kept justifying giving Pless a raise based on numbers Pless was providing without any fact-checking or oversight. I can only imagine what my boss would say if I walked into her office and said: "Hey, I'm doing great work, here are some numbers I am providing to you to prove my point. Give me a raise now, as these numbers clearly show I deserve it. Also, don't bother checking the numbers. I am providing them to you, which is good enough."

I don't think Hurd, or anyone else, knew what Pless was doing, but it is absolutely their obligation to ensure the numbers they sign off on, and publish, are accurate.

I agree. Hurd should have raised an eyebrow when someone who had basically no experience with admissions suddenly found a way to boost medians that nobody else could figure out.


What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?

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Kilpatrick
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:55 pm

ScrabbleChamp wrote:
What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Pless wasn't exactly at the top of the class.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:01 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Pless wasn't exactly at the top of the class.


Reasons could include:
1. Low rank
2. Not wanting to practice law (you would be surprised how many people don't want to)
3. Upward mobility that isn't limited by "up and out" policies
4. Job stability
5. No salary ceiling - universities will pay you very well for this role
6. Free time - one can spend more time with family/publish
7. IBR (now, I assume not when he came out; 10 year plan)
8. Anything else that I haven't covered

There are reasonable reasons to want to go that route.

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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Voyager » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:03 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Pless wasn't exactly at the top of the class.


I'm gonna climb further out on that limb and say that most likely there are many Illinois grads doing lots of things after school other than practicing law.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:09 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Pless wasn't exactly at the top of the class.


Reasons could include:
1. Low rank
2. Not wanting to practice law (you would be surprised how many people don't want to)
3. Upward mobility that isn't limited by "up and out" policies
4. Job stability
5. No salary ceiling - universities will pay you very well for this role
6. Free time - one can spend more time with family/publish
7. IBR (now, I assume not when he came out; 10 year plan)
8. Anything else that I haven't covered

There are reasonable reasons to want to go that route.


I agree there are many reasons not to practice law... but for $38,000 a year? I could understand if they started him out at a livable salary, but $38,000 indicates, to me, he really had no other options. But, this is really just an aside to the entire point of the article. I did not mean to derail the thread.

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Tanicius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Tanicius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:13 pm

ScrabbleChamp wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
What I found most intriguing about the whole report was this: Pless graduated from Illinois and his first job (and only job) was at the Univeristy. Why would a law grad, from a relatively good school, decide to take a $38,000 a year job right out of school doing something other than being a lawyer?


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Pless wasn't exactly at the top of the class.


Reasons could include:
1. Low rank
2. Not wanting to practice law (you would be surprised how many people don't want to)
3. Upward mobility that isn't limited by "up and out" policies
4. Job stability
5. No salary ceiling - universities will pay you very well for this role
6. Free time - one can spend more time with family/publish
7. IBR (now, I assume not when he came out; 10 year plan)
8. Anything else that I haven't covered

There are reasonable reasons to want to go that route.


I agree there are many reasons not to practice law... but for $38,000 a year? I could understand if they started him out at a livable salary, but $38,000 indicates, to me, he really had no other options. But, this is really just an aside to the entire point of the article. I did not mean to derail the thread.



Dude, a starting salary of $38k is BANK in Champagne-Urbana. When I was considering attending Illinois, we looked at housing, and it was practically cheaper than my rural Minnesota college town. We found good deals on 4 bedrooms for $1000/month. $38,000 a year could carry you a long way in that place, and that's not counting any spousal income.

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blurbz
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby blurbz » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:22 pm

Also, he was up to 130k this year and had been at the six figure mark for the last few years. He didn't stay at 38k for long...

Re employment stats: They also audited those and found no inconsistencies (Of course they're as slanted as the ABA permits but they're not any more dishonest than any other school).

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:25 pm

Out of curiosity, has anyone heard if Pless has been disbarred?

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Kilpatrick
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:27 pm

He went straight to the admissions office, I doubt he took the bar

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Tanicius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Tanicius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:28 pm

I would not want to be Pless right now. I don't know how he could possibly get a job above the status of burger flipping without using political connections.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:30 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:He went straight to the admissions office, I doubt he took the bar


I'm pretty sure he had to take the bar... I remember reading something on his profile on the University webpage that stated he worked cases for the local ACLU.

michlaw
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby michlaw » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:34 pm

"According to the report, Pless resigned from the University in the duration of the investigation. The report asserts that in Pless’ seven-year tenure as dean of admissions, the college “showed steady, and occasionally dramatic, improvement” in its statistics, which may have been a factor in its rankings among the top 25 U.S. law schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Pless also garnered praise and pay raises due to his success, according to the report: his salary increased from $72,000 in his first year, 2004, to $130,051 in 2011.
The investigation began in late August when a complaint was made to the University Ethics Office. The complaint was then brought the the Office of Legal Counsel, which determined an investigation was necessary."





From the Daily Illini seems to have started at 72K.

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Samara
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Samara » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:35 pm

Tanicius wrote:I would not want to be Pless right now. I don't know how he could possibly get a job above the status of burger flipping without using political connections.

This is Illinois we're talking about...

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minnbills
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby minnbills » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:36 pm

michlaw wrote:


From the Daily Illini seems to have started at 72K.


Once he was dean. When he was hired on staff, he made 38 or so.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:36 pm

michlaw wrote:"According to the report, Pless resigned from the University in the duration of the investigation. The report asserts that in Pless’ seven-year tenure as dean of admissions, the college “showed steady, and occasionally dramatic, improvement” in its statistics, which may have been a factor in its rankings among the top 25 U.S. law schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Pless also garnered praise and pay raises due to his success, according to the report: his salary increased from $72,000 in his first year, 2004, to $130,051 in 2011.
The investigation began in late August when a complaint was made to the University Ethics Office. The complaint was then brought the the Office of Legal Counsel, which determined an investigation was necessary."





From the Daily Illini seems to have started at 72K.


He started in a lower position in the admissions office a few years before that and started at 38k

efb :evil:
Last edited by Kilpatrick on Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tanicius
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Tanicius » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:37 pm

Samara wrote:
Tanicius wrote:I would not want to be Pless right now. I don't know how he could possibly get a job above the status of burger flipping without using political connections.

This is Illinois we're talking about...


Well, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that's his only real out, either. It's really the only way people in these kinds of jobs manage to keep their head afloat - someone steps in and the winds of nepotism quietly give them a job where they can just keep their head low until retirement.




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