Ed Kozak, Lifezette, August 10, 2017
On Monday, Georgetown University’s School of Law announced that it would no longer require applicants to provide Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and that Graduate Record Examinations (GREs) would be accepted instead, as part of a move designed to increase diversity.
“While the LSAT remains an important admissions tool, we also believe that it is well past time that the legal profession open wide the doors to an even more diverse population that better reflects American society as a whole,” said Dean of Admissions Andy Cornblatt in an official statement posted by the school. “We think that allowing the use of the GRE will help us to accomplish that goal.”
Dean William Treanor reiterated the motivation of the school to drop the requirement in order to boost diversity.
“Georgetown Law is committed to attracting the best and the brightest students of all backgrounds,” said Treanor. “We believe this change will make the admissions process more accessible to students who have great potential to make a mark here at Georgetown Law and in successful legal careers, but who might find the LSAT to be a barrier for whatever reason.”
The decision drew raised eyebrows from observers who noted the university seemed to be effectively saying minorities were not capable of doing well on the standardized law school test.
Georgetown’s decision is the latest incident in an increasingly widespread pattern and practice within academia of changing standards with the goal of boosting diversity. The very same day Georgetown announced its policy, the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law revealed a similar new policy, announcing it would also begin to take GREs into account instead of LSATs.
In July, Rhode Island introduced legislation requiring school districts to record and report detailed information about the individual ethnic backgrounds of their Asian students. Critics say the move is designed to prevent students of Chinese descent from getting accepted into college over students from other South East Asian populations.
“This data will easily be manipulated to advance race-based policies,” Chinese-American activist Jianhao Chen wrote in a protest letter to Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Critics of such policies contend East Asians in particular have been discriminated against, despite being a minority, for having high levels of academic achievement.
Harvard University is currently the subject of a lawsuit which maintains that the university rejects prospective Asian students in favor of less-qualified students solely because of their race.