The American Bar Association's House of Delegates has approved a resolution urging flexibility by the Law School Admission Council on requests for accommodations by people with disabilities when they take the Law School Admission Test. The resolution calls for information to be made available to test-takers on their options. Further, the resolution urges those involved in standardized testing not to differentiate between those who took the test with an accommodation and those who did not. While the resolution does not mention the council by name, the measure appears a clear reference to legal disputes the council has faced over requests from some test-takers for accommodations, and for those accommodations not to be "flagged" to law schools.
The letter has drawn negative responses from general counsels and free speech groups, particularly for its clarification that, when considering complaints of harassment and assault, institutions need only apply a preponderance of evidence standard – meaning it’s “more likely than not” that the complaint has merit. While critics have worried the standard might lead a college’s judicial body to issue unwarranted punishments, the association called the standard “the only equitable choice under Title IX as it avoids the presumption, inherent in a higher standard of proof, that the word of a victim is less weighty than the word of an accused individual’s denial.”
The administrators praised the letter’s emphasis on equitable treatment for victims and accused students. Both parties are entitled to certain privileges – a campus advocate for the victim, for instance, or fair notice of the charges for the accused – that colleges have at times been criticized for violating.
An article in The New York Times today highlights several recent studies suggesting that education gaps between rich and poor students are growing -- from elementary school through college. At the same time, race-based gaps are narrowing. “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist.
When should scholarly associations honor a boycott? The Organization of American Historians is promoting a philosophical discussion of the issue, which has been challenging to many disciplinary associations, in an online discussion that will serve as an introduction to discussion at the OAH's annual meeting this year. Several disciplinary associations -- including the OAH -- have moved meetings because of boycotts of particularly hotels or cities or states. Most disciplinary meetings are set up years in advance, making it difficult to predict where a boycott may be in effect, and last-minute moves can be very expensive to associations, which may be stuck with bills for unused hotels. The online discussion features a sustained conversation among a group of noted historians -- including officers of the OAH and the American Historical Association. While the discussion suggests that participants would see some boycotts as appropriate in some circumstances, many questions are raised about when a disciplinary association should take a stand, and whether it is responsible to do so if such actions would endanger the financial health of the associations. The OAH is now inviting others to join the online discussion.
Federal judge finds no First Amendment violation in U. of Toledo getting rid of HR director who -- contrary to university's policies -- wrote op-ed saying that gay people don't deserve civil rights protections.
In today’s Academic Minute, Chris Gabbard of the University of North Florida explains how the academic spectrum can be enriched through the addition of disability studies programs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.