Four more get into UT Law despite low LSATs

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

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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