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Four more get into UT Law despite low LSATs

By   /   March 27, 2014  /   No Comments

Part 13 of 26 in the series Trouble in Texas
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden

OBJECTION: One of the lieutenants for UT President Bill Powers objected to an inquiry into admissions favoritism at the law school.

By Jon Cassidy | Watchdog.org

Four students were admitted to the University of Texas School of Law despite LSAT scores way below the school’s average and grade-point averages between 2.66 and 3.38, according to records made public this week.

The four students all had LSAT scores between 150 and 155, which place them in the 44th to 64th percentile of test-takers nationwide.

Almost all successful applicants to UT Law have a score of 160 or better on the test, which is scored from 120 to 180. Roughly three-quarters of a typical class at UT Law scores a 163 or better, which puts them in th 89th percentile and above.

The scores are just the latest evidence that UT officials may have been playing favorites in the admissions process to please influential lawmakers or others.

Those low scores were the subject of an email from UT System officials, which was among some 2,000 pages of emails the UT System made available this week to favored news outlets, Watchdog.org not among them.

The credit for pulling that key bit of information from the pile of records goes to the Texas Tribune’s Reeve Hamilton, whose eyes have opened recently to the growing body of evidence of favoritism. The other reporters covering the document dump missed that email, instead reporting on how some people feel about other people.

The document dump comes as UT System public records officials prepare for a meeting Thursday with members of the media over complaints of favoritism in the release of records.

Twice recently, the school provided David Barer of the Dallas Morning News with public records that other news outlets requested unsuccessfully. First, Barer got a copy of UT President Bill Powers’ job evaluations, which had been denied to three other news outlets, including Watchdog.org. Then he got some correspondence from UT board chairman Paul Foster to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, despite the fact that every major newspaper in the state — and Watchdog.org — requested that sort of correspondence after Cigarroa announced he would resign later this year.

UT made that correspondence available Monday to just three of the media outlets that asked for it, despite state law requiring it to “treat all requests for information uniformly.”

Contact Jon Cassidy at jon@watchdog.org or @jpcassidy000. If you would like to send him documents or messages anonymously, download the Tor browser and go to our SecureDrop submission page: http://5bygo7e2rpnrh5vo.onion

Part of 26 in the series Trouble in Texas
  1. Texas’ Rep. Pitts announces retirement after improper influence story
  2. University of Texas regents show support for Wallace Hall
  3. Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof
  4. Texas senator got $477k for supposed ‘cameo’ appearance in Wallace Hall lawsuit
  5. Lawmaker admits pulling strings on UT admissions
  6. Trustee accused of crime for rejecting dodgy accounting
  7. Longhorns: Senator used clout in UT law school admissions
  8. Children of Texas lawmakers get into UT School of Law, but struggle to pass bar exam
  9. Chancellor is probing favoritism in UT admissions
  10. UT report: Charge against Hall is legally ‘absurd’
  11. Attorney in UT case hides six-figure charges despite terms of contract
  12. University of Texas clout scandal grows as new e-mails surface
  13. Four more get into UT Law despite low LSATs
  14. Reports on UT favoritism, impeachment expected soon
  15. Attorney: Secret tape covered up by lawmakers proves regent’s innocence
  16. Dozens of UT Law’s least qualified students are connected politically
  17. University of Texas uncovers admissions corruption, halts investigation
  18. UT admissions: Straus, Branch, Pitts pulled strings
  19. Who got the 128? UT Law admits students with bad LSAT scores
  20. Patrick’s win may doom Hall impeachment effort
  21. Chancellor promises complete investigation of UT admissions
  22. Board to decide UT president’s fate Thursday
  23. Texas politicians smarten up, ditch UT pres this time around
  24. Tribune story may have doomed UT’s Powers
  25. Academics condone the privilege they denounce
  26. Three essential stories on the UT admissions scandal
  27. Texas AG Greg Abbott embraces Roe v. Wade

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Jon Cassidy is the Texas bureau chief for Watchdog.org. He also writes a weekly column on politics for The American Spectator. He was formerly a reporter and editor for The Orange County Register in California and a reporter at The Hill in Washington, D.C. His work has been published by Fox News, Reason, The Federalist, Human Events, and other publications. He is a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and a graduate of the University of Southern California. He and his wife Michelle live just outside Houston with their two children.