Race and UALR Law School, a report from the dean | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

Race and UALR Law School, a report from the dean

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 7:43 AM

A Freedom of Information Act legal battle continues between UALR law professor Robert Steinbuch and the law school over grades and admission data he's seeking. The school contends the material is exempt under federal law aimed at protecting student privacy, particularly some of the sort released erroneously to him in earlier years. The school says it shouldn't be bound by a past mistake to release identifiable student data now because it erred once before.

This is all about race. Steinbuch is out to demonstrate that affirmative action — or something akin to it — is a bad thing. Racial undercurrents have roiled UALR Law for years now.

To that discussion let me drop in a note distributed recently by Michael Schwartz, the dean of the law school:

I have been contacted by students and alumni asking questions about the performance of Bowen students in law school and on the bar exam. On the three most recent administrations of the Arkansas bar exam, the first-time bar pass rate for white students is 75%, and the first-time bar pass rate for minority students is higher, 80%. Bowen’s overall first-time bar pass rate has not changed, while most other law schools throughout the country have seen a marked decline. As for the students currently attending Bowen, in the past two years, the academic attrition rate is minimal for all students, less than 3%, with only a marginal difference between white and minority student attrition. These good results are directly attributable to the law school’s cutting-edge academic support and bar pass programs.

Thank you for your interest in this information. I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year.

Warm regards,

Michael Hunter Schwartz |

This general subject has been at the fore again lately thanks to Justice Antonin Scalia's invocation of the wholly discredited "mismatch" theory on affirmative action in Supreme Court arguments on the University of Texas case. You may recall he said black students would be better served by going to less-challenging universities. I thank former UALR Law student, Ryan Davis, for pointing me to a day-making article on Scalia's patronizing remark.

From the Daily Beast:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued Wednesday that there are “those who contend it does not benefit African-Americans” to go upper-tier colleges where “they do not do well.” They should go to a “less-advanced school,” he said, on a “slower track where they do well.”

Scalia may be speaking from personal experience.

In his youth, he failed to get into his first choice high school and then was rejected by Princeton University, later claiming he was passed over because he was “an Italian boy from Queens, not the Princeton type.”

Blaming ethnicity for rejection? The nerve.

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