U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

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

Postby Danteshek » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:13 pm

masochist wrote:
f7 wrote:
Danteshek wrote:Do you think UI will go after Pless for his ill-gotten salary increases?

You should write a letter to the appropriate government agency regarding this matter, with your law review membership included in your signature. TYIA.


Well, the bonuses are illegal under 20 U.S.C. section 1094 paragraph 20 (the Higher Education Act).

"The institution will not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly
on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission
activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance . . . ."

The DOJ just joined a huge whistleblower lawsuit filed against EDMC (a for-profit college mega corp that owns Western State School of Law) for a very similar infraction.

For obvious reasons, DOJ can't sue U of I in the same way, but they might be able to do something if they wanted to.


Does Illinois have a False Claims Act?

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:17 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
Cornelius wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:1. I guess we'll just have to differ on that. I say it's not his job to double check Pless' numbers.

2. Yes I read the report. That was just one thing noted in a footnote. Come on. Just because people think the guy is intimidating doesn't mean he's not good at his job.

It's your job to ensure the truth behind something you certify as true.


But how could he possibly have done this? The system was purposely set up to keep him from having access to that information.

Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?

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

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:19 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

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

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:20 pm

SaintClarence27 wrote:
Cornelius wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:1. I guess we'll just have to differ on that. I say it's not his job to double check Pless' numbers.

2. Yes I read the report. That was just one thing noted in a footnote. Come on. Just because people think the guy is intimidating doesn't mean he's not good at his job.

It's your job to ensure the truth behind something you certify as true.


But, it's not efficient to do so in this case. The University, as I understand, not Smith, specifically enacted the separation of the two offices. As such, unless Smith were to double-check every single piece of data submitted by Pless (which he couldn't have if he wanted to as only Pless and the 4 people in his office had access to the LSAC data), there would be no way to verify the accuracy.

I believe the system is dysfunctional and was a ridiculous idea. However, if you have to work within that system, your only options (as Smith) are: a) trust that your staff isn't purposely falsifying data, or, b) somehow gain access to LSAC data, then double-check every single application to ensure the accuracy.

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:21 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.

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

Postby romothesavior » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:26 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.

You've kinda gone full retard in two different threads at once.

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

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:26 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.


But, again, if the University, not the College of Law, separated the Admissions Office from everyone else, and ONLY Pless and his 4 employees had access to the LSAC data, how would anyone outside of the Admissions Office be able to verify the data?

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:28 pm

You can't certify something if you don't have the information. That is a huge failing, end of story.

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

Postby romothesavior » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:29 pm

Have no knowledge that another dean is LSAT-fudging and fail to act? FIRE HIM.

Have knowledge of 10 year old boys being raped in your facilities and fail to act? NEED MOAR INFORMATION.

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:31 pm

romothesavior wrote:Have no knowledge that another dean is LSAT-fudging and fail to act? FIRE HIM.

Have knowledge of 10 year old boys being raped in your facilities and fail to act? NEED MOAR INFORMATION.

Lulz. Such an accurate depiction of my points.

I never said fire him. I'm just saying there is a huge failure in the system.

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Ludo!
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Ludo! » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:32 pm

ScrabbleChamp wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.


But, again, if the University, not the College of Law, separated the Admissions Office from everyone else, and ONLY Pless and his 4 employees had access to the LSAC data, how would anyone outside of the Admissions Office be able to verify the data?


Exactly. Before I read the report and read about just how ridiculously this system was set up, I was ready to blame Smith too. But there really isn't a way he could have known. He didn't implement that system, he just had to deal with it. And now he's having to deal with the consequences that occurred because of the mistakes of his predecessor. Maybe he could have changed the way the admissions office was run and had somebody else checking Pless' work but that might've been something out of his control. The University set up a task force specifically to deal with the admissions office and that's the system they set up.

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SaintClarence27
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:33 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.


But, again, if the University, not the College of Law, separated the Admissions Office from everyone else, and ONLY Pless and his 4 employees had access to the LSAC data, how would anyone outside of the Admissions Office be able to verify the data?


Exactly. Before I read the report and read about just how ridiculously this system was set up, I was ready to blame Smith too. But there really isn't a way he could have known. He didn't implement that system, he just had to deal with it. And now he's having to deal with the consequences that occurred because of the mistakes of his predecessor. Maybe he could have changed the way the admissions office was run and had somebody else checking Pless' work but that might've been something out of his control. The University set up a task force specifically to deal with the admissions office and that's the system they set up.


Easy answer is that you refuse to certify the data until you can verify that it is true. Let the University figure out what to do.

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

Postby JusticeHarlan » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:50 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.

ITT: hindsight

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SaintClarence27
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:51 pm

JusticeHarlan wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.

ITT: hindsight


It's not hindsight to say that when I certify something is true, I KNOW it's true. If I don't know, I won't sign it.

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:53 pm

JusticeHarlan wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Umm... by not setting the system that way? By taking the 15 minutes to look at a random sampling of students' files? By not being really careless and willfully negligent?


FWIW, it didn't turn out so well the last time a dean got involved with the admissions office...

I can understand the current dean wanting to take a more hands-off approach.

Fine. By having someone do that. There just needs to be some sort of assurance method used. It really wouldn't take much. The thing is, when you certify something, you should be able to be confident in what you're certifying. Otherwise it's just a signature.

ITT: hindsight

Maybe it's my auditing background, but this doesn't seem like something a rational person wouldn't see as illogical. I don't know how you can certify something without having any idea as to its accuracy.

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

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:22 pm

Nightrunner wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:It's not hindsight to say that when I certify something is true, I KNOW it's true. If I don't know, I won't sign it.

They do throw in that "to the best of my knowledge" language most of the time.


In most contexts (thinking of SOX and sec. reg. issues) that has to be back up by "reasonable" investigation. How deeply you need to go to be "reasonable" will vary based on the circumstance, but signing without doing any verifcation would sting you every time.

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birdlaw117
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:24 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Nightrunner wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:It's not hindsight to say that when I certify something is true, I KNOW it's true. If I don't know, I won't sign it.

They do throw in that "to the best of my knowledge" language most of the time.


In most contexts (thinking of SOX and sec. reg. issues) that has to be back up by "reasonable" investigation. How deeply you need to go to be "reasonable" will vary based on the circumstance, but signing without doing any verifcation would sting you every time.

This.

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

Postby blurbz » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:27 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Nightrunner wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:It's not hindsight to say that when I certify something is true, I KNOW it's true. If I don't know, I won't sign it.

They do throw in that "to the best of my knowledge" language most of the time.


In most contexts (thinking of SOX and sec. reg. issues) that has to be back up by "reasonable" investigation. How deeply you need to go to be "reasonable" will vary based on the circumstance, but signing without doing any verifcation would sting you every time.

This.


I think having a department of people hired to do this very thing who have been vetted and have given you no reason to doubt them counts as "reasonable." It's not a dean's job to do everyone else's job, too. He had no reason to doubt Pless and U of I had separated the administration to prevent pressure being put on admissions from the academic side of things.

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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:31 pm

blurbz wrote:
I think having a department of people hired to do this very thing who have been vetted and have given you no reason to doubt them counts as "reasonable." It's not a dean's job to do everyone else's job, too. He had no reason to doubt Pless and U of I had separated the administration to prevent pressure being put on admissions from the academic side of things.


Your thinking is just wrong, as a legal matter. If you are personally certifying something, you have a personal obligation to conduct a reasonable amount of independent verification. The standard isn't whether your belief in the information's veracity is reasonable.

That doesn't mean you have to literally look at the files yourself - but you cannot rely on the people who produced the very information that you are certifying to conduct your investigation too.

And that, of course, is the point of higher-level certification procedures. It's intended to put more people on the hook for the veracity of information, with the hopes that more people on the hook = more accuracy.

Edit: Of course, the stuff we're talking about isn't subject to SOX. But at the end of the day, we're held to what we sign. If you sign your name on the line after "X is true" then X had better be true, or you had better be willing to face the consequences if it's not.

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Ludo!
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby Ludo! » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:59 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
blurbz wrote:
I think having a department of people hired to do this very thing who have been vetted and have given you no reason to doubt them counts as "reasonable." It's not a dean's job to do everyone else's job, too. He had no reason to doubt Pless and U of I had separated the administration to prevent pressure being put on admissions from the academic side of things.


Your thinking is just wrong, as a legal matter. If you are personally certifying something, you have a personal obligation to conduct a reasonable amount of independent verification. The standard isn't whether your belief in the information's veracity is reasonable.

That doesn't mean you have to literally look at the files yourself - but you cannot rely on the people who produced the very information that you are certifying to conduct your investigation too.

And that, of course, is the point of higher-level certification procedures. It's intended to put more people on the hook for the veracity of information, with the hopes that more people on the hook = more accuracy.

Edit: Of course, the stuff we're talking about isn't subject to SOX. But at the end of the day, we're held to what we sign. If you sign your name on the line after "X is true" then X had better be true, or you had better be willing to face the consequences if it's not.


Then every law school dean should be fired, because I seriously doubt they are all launching their own personal investigations every time they sign off on that years numbers

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SaintClarence27
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:08 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
blurbz wrote:
I think having a department of people hired to do this very thing who have been vetted and have given you no reason to doubt them counts as "reasonable." It's not a dean's job to do everyone else's job, too. He had no reason to doubt Pless and U of I had separated the administration to prevent pressure being put on admissions from the academic side of things.


Your thinking is just wrong, as a legal matter. If you are personally certifying something, you have a personal obligation to conduct a reasonable amount of independent verification. The standard isn't whether your belief in the information's veracity is reasonable.

That doesn't mean you have to literally look at the files yourself - but you cannot rely on the people who produced the very information that you are certifying to conduct your investigation too.

And that, of course, is the point of higher-level certification procedures. It's intended to put more people on the hook for the veracity of information, with the hopes that more people on the hook = more accuracy.

Edit: Of course, the stuff we're talking about isn't subject to SOX. But at the end of the day, we're held to what we sign. If you sign your name on the line after "X is true" then X had better be true, or you had better be willing to face the consequences if it's not.


Then every law school dean should be fired, because I seriously doubt they are all launching their own personal investigations every time they sign off on that years numbers


If the numbers are wrong, hell yes.

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

Postby Opie » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:10 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
blurbz wrote:
I think having a department of people hired to do this very thing who have been vetted and have given you no reason to doubt them counts as "reasonable." It's not a dean's job to do everyone else's job, too. He had no reason to doubt Pless and U of I had separated the administration to prevent pressure being put on admissions from the academic side of things.


Your thinking is just wrong, as a legal matter. If you are personally certifying something, you have a personal obligation to conduct a reasonable amount of independent verification. The standard isn't whether your belief in the information's veracity is reasonable.

That doesn't mean you have to literally look at the files yourself - but you cannot rely on the people who produced the very information that you are certifying to conduct your investigation too.

And that, of course, is the point of higher-level certification procedures. It's intended to put more people on the hook for the veracity of information, with the hopes that more people on the hook = more accuracy.

Edit: Of course, the stuff we're talking about isn't subject to SOX. But at the end of the day, we're held to what we sign. If you sign your name on the line after "X is true" then X had better be true, or you had better be willing to face the consequences if it's not.


Then every law school dean should be fired, because I seriously doubt they are all launching their own personal investigations every time they sign off on that years numbers


It's only wrong if there are damages.

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

Postby masochist » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:08 pm

Danteshek wrote:
masochist wrote:
f7 wrote:
Danteshek wrote:Do you think UI will go after Pless for his ill-gotten salary increases?

You should write a letter to the appropriate government agency regarding this matter, with your law review membership included in your signature. TYIA.


Well, the bonuses are illegal under 20 U.S.C. section 1094 paragraph 20 (the Higher Education Act).

"The institution will not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly
on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission
activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance . . . ."

The DOJ just joined a huge whistleblower lawsuit filed against EDMC (a for-profit college mega corp that owns Western State School of Law) for a very similar infraction.

For obvious reasons, DOJ can't sue U of I in the same way, but they might be able to do something if they wanted to.


Does Illinois have a False Claims Act?


Um, I don't know, but that isn't material. U of I would have falsely certified compliance with the federal laws governing student aid.

It doesn't really matter because the DOJ isn't going to go after a state school.

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

Postby JoeFish » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:19 am

I'm split on the issue of whether this is something that Dean Smith should be fired over. I definitely believe he could be fired over this, but I'm not certain he should. I can think of good arguments either way.
As has been said, the main problem (other than the direct actions of Pless) seems to have been the system in place, which was entirely devoid of checks and balances. This was an institution problem, and not a Dean Smith problem. I do believe that whatever was happening obviously looks incredibly unjustifiable in hindsight, but I also believe - and I could be wrong - that it didn't occur to anyone that this could/would happen, and I believe that was a reasonable position before any of this came to light.
This being said, it is also true that when you sign your name to something, you are responsible when that turns out to be untrue. No, Smith shouldn't have checked the numbers, and no, he probably couldn't have even if he wanted to, within the system. But I would not argue with someone who says that, when you're in charge of a Law School, and required to sign off on things that you can't verify under the current system, it is your responsibility to demand that the system be changed.
I could definitely see Smith staying or going, either by his own will or that of someone else. I understand that he is a great professor, and it wouldn't be surprising if the COL asks him to maybe step aside and stay on as a very well-compensated prof (where have we heard that before?). Whether he'd agree to that is a different issue. The administration seems to want to give John Colombo (current professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Acting Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid) as much control as he wants, and I could definitely see him taking over is Smith should end up leaving. But anything on that front seems to be still off in the future.

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SaintClarence27
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Re: U. of Illinois Law suspends Dean of Admissions

Postby SaintClarence27 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:24 am

I'd be fine with Hamilton as well. I think he's well-qualified.




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