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The American Bar Association, whose accrediting arm oversees law schools across the country, announced this month that it has censured Valparaiso University School of Law and placed the Charlotte School of Law on probation.
According to the ABA's archive, it's the first time the organization has censured a law school since 2013 and the first time it has placed a law school on probation in at least five years.
A censure is one of several possible sanctions the ABA may impose on a law school program, ranging from fines to withdrawal of approval.
Amid criticism this summer from the federal body that oversees higher education accreditors, the ABA has taken a tough stance in several recent oversight decisions. In August, its accrediting arm recommended against approving the new University of North Texas Dallas College of Law (an announcement last week said UNT Dallas would get another chance to earn accreditation). In the same month, it found the admissions practices at Ave Maria Law School in Florida out of compliance with standards. The ABA, however, said those actions were not taken in response to the criticism of its oversight practices.
The notices for both the Valparaiso University and Charlotte schools of law cited lack of compliance with standards requiring that a school only admit applicants who appear likely to succeed in the program and pass the bar. The probation notice for the Charlotte School of Law also cited a standard requiring a school to maintain a rigorous program of legal education.
The Charlotte School of Law responded to the ABA decision in a statement on its website.