Arizona, Arizona State & Nebraska Law Schools Accused of Discrimination Against White Applicants

TaxProf Blog, October 8, 2008

The Center for Equal Opportunity issued a report today accusing Nebraska law school of engaging in racial discrimination by impermissibly favoring black and Hispanic applicants over white applicants. Last week, the group issued similar reports on Arizona and Arizona State law schools. (Nebraska is one of the states with a proposed ban on the use of affirmative action by state agencies on the ballot; supporters failed to gather sufficient signatures to get a similar ban on the ballot in Arizona.) For more, see the Chronicle of Higher Education (Part I (Arizona & Arizona State), Part II (Nebraska)).

Below the fold are the charts in the reports showing the 25%, 50% and 75th percentile LSAT scores of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White admittees at Arizona, Arizona State, and Nebraska:

With voters in Colorado and Nebraska preparing to vote on proposals to bar affirmative action, supporters and defenders of the consideration of race in admissions decisions are releasing new research to bolster their positions.

The Center for Equal Opportunity—a group that has worked for years to bar the consideration of race and ethnicity—on Wednesday issued findings about admissions to the law school at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Those data show significant race and ethnicity gaps in the LSAT scores and college grades of applicants who were admitted in recent years to the law school.

At the same time, two sociologists have just published an analysis suggesting that affirmative action is in decline—and has never been as widespread as some imagine in states that have barred the use of race in admissions decisions.

[Editor’s Note: The CEO studies referred to in the story above can be read or downloaded here.]


A new study released today by the Center for Equal Opportunity documents evidence of severe discrimination based on race and ethnicity in law school admissions at the University of Nebraska. African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latinos are admitted with significantly lower undergraduate grade-point averages and LSAT scores than whites and, again to a lesser extent, Asians.

The study is based on data supplied by the University itself. The study was prepared by Dr. Althea Nagai, a resident fellow at CEO, and can be viewed on the organization’s website, www.ceousa.org. The executive summary of the study is attached.

CEO president Roger Clegg will answer questions about the study when it is formally released at a press conference today at 10:30 a.m. in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska (Nebraska City Campus Union, Pewter Room).

CEO chairman Linda Chavez noted that the odds ratio favoring African Americans over whites was 442 to 1. She pointed out, “During the two years studied (the entering classes of 2006 and 2007), 389 whites were rejected by the law school despite higher LSATs and undergraduate GPAs than the average black admittee. Racial discrimination in university admissions is always appalling. But the extremely heavy weight given to race by the University of Nebraska College of Law is off the charts.”

Roger Clegg stressed that not only was race weighed, but it was weighed much more heavily than residency status: “For instance, a white resident of Nebraska in 2007 was more than twenty times less likely to be admitted than an African American applicant from out of state.”

CEO also analyzed undergraduate admissions, but did not find statistical evidence of discrimination there, based on the data provided by the University. The University’s medical school refused to supply similar data jointly requested by CEO and the Nebraska Association of Scholars.

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