Nation Briefs

Affirmative action study met with controversy

(U-WIRE) BERKELEY, Calif. – A recent study that found affirmative action hurts black students’ performance in law school has stirred up controversy among faculty and students at law schools across the nation.

The report, published in the Stanford Law Review in December, revealed that many black students are unable to perform well at top-ranking law schools because they were admitted because of racial preference.

“Student expectations can backfire when they are too high,” said Richard Sander, a University of California at Los Angeles professor who wrote the study. “Students who were in by affirmative action were not prepared for exams – law professors move at a faster pace at the elite schools.”

Sander’s report reveals that the average black student’s LSAT score was 130 to 170 points below the average score of a white student’s. According to his report, 52 percent of black law students have grades in the lowest 10th percentile after finishing their first year, while 8 percent rank in the top half.

But critics of the study slam Sander and his findings for leaving out other factors that could explain why black law students are performing below par.

University of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, who published a rebuttal to Sander’s report in the California Bar Journal this month, said there is no direct correlation in the gap between law school entrance eligibility and law school grades.

“Entering credentials is not attributable to affirmative action,” Liu said. “Blacks would still be at the bottom and not the top even if there is no affirmative action. The study is missing an important statistical step that has nothing to do with affirmative action.”

Sander said his findings show black students would get better GPAs if they applied to less prestigious schools. Employers are now hiring more black lawyers, regardless of where they went to school, he said.

Seven U. Maryland students may face expulsion after post-game riots

(U-WIRE) COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Prince George’s County Police released Tuesday the names of 14 people arrested during postgame celebratory riots on Route 1 Saturday night. Half are University of Maryland students who face expulsion if convicted.

The arrests of many non-students follow a trend of outsiders coming to College Park to join in postgame celebrations and riots. Police arrested 15 people – only three of whom where University of Maryland students – during riots in 2002 following its championship win over Indiana.

After those riots, the Board of Regents passed a policy subjecting students to expulsion if convicted of riot-related charges.

“People always ask, ‘Is it the students causing the destruction or not?’ It’s certainly clear that most of the students did the right thing and left,” said University Police spokeswoman Maj. Cathy Atwell.

Linda Clement, vice president for students’ affairs, said the rush of thousands of students onto Route 1 is hazardous.

“Our community is becoming vulnerable to outsiders, and that worries me too,” she said.

Students have decried police tactics used during the postgame melee, after which medical technicians rushed at least three people to the hospital. Some students criticized police for using pepper balls and pepper spray. One student was severely injured when police shot him just below the eye with a pepper ball. He needed 40 stitches to close the wound.

County police officials refused to explain police procedures and tactics used Saturday night but said they are conducting a routine investigation of police action. They would not say when the investigation will be complete.

-compiled by Ryan Holeywell

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