Georgetown law school defends mix

April 16, 1991|By Arch Parsons | Arch Parsons,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- The administrator of Georgetown University Law School yesterday defended her policy of seeking racial "diversity" in the classroom, countering a white student's published assertion that the policy has led to admitting blacks who were "far inferior" to whites.

The assertions has "caused considerable pain and anger in this community," said Judith Areen, the law school dean.

Betsy Levin, executive director of the Association of American Law Schools, said that the student, Timothy Maguire, "really doesn't understand the admissions process."

Meanwhile, Mr. Maguire, whose class is scheduled to graduate this spring, faces a review of his status by a student-faculty panel for using confidential information about students as the basis for his assertions. The panel has authority to recommend sanctions against him that include his possible expulsion or a delay in his graduation.

In an article published last week in a student newspaper, the Georgetown Law Weekly, Mr. Maguire said that he had based his assertions on a "random sample" of test scores and grades he had taken from the confidential files of black and white law school students while he was working as a file clerk in the school's admissions office earlier this year.

In a letter of response issued yesterday by her office, Ms. Areen described Mr. Maguire's article as "a misleading mix of opinion and data."

She wrote that he was "within his right to express his opinion," but she went on to say of the 2,000-student school:

"We are proud of our admissions policy and the student body it has produced. We are proud of -- and we all benefit from -- the diversity in our community."

Gary Krull, a spokesman for the Georgetown University, said that students employed in the law school's admissions office have access to files containing information on applicants' background and test scores but that "they are instructed that they hold very confidential information and we instruct them about their responsibilities."

Mr. Maguire based much of his accusation on the argument that while the average white student admitted to the school scored 43 of a possible 50 on the Law School Admission Test, the average score for accepted black applicants was 36. The average undergraduate grade point for white students, he wrote, was 3.7 of a possible 4, while black students averaged 3.2.

Ms. Levin said in a telephone interview that admission scores and grades were "hardly the only two indicators that a law school applicant is going to be a successful student."

Among the other factors considered in admission, said Ms. Levin, were the curriculum of the applicant's undergraduate school and what courses he or she took.

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