Dear Mr. Kelly,


I  was scheduled to be a panelist with you on the "AALS Panel: The LSAT, US News, and Minority Admissions". Professor Baynes shared with us your letter withdrawing from the AALS meeting. 

This is a disappointment. While the use of LSAT in your methodology has put added emphasis on LSAT by school, I  have never thought of US NEWS as the "primary source" of the minority admissions problem. Rather the primary "villains" in this issue are law schools and law school faculty.

Nevertheless, USNews is a significant player. The USNEWS contributes to the problem in the failure of USNews to integrate diversity into the overall rankings. By separating diversity into a separate ranking from all the other factors in your methodology you make a political decision - a value judgment that diversity is not important to law school quality.  This value judgment is not surprising given the USNews general political leanings but it is surprising in light of your assertion that uses LSAT because "Law schools told  [you] that they consider the LSAT to be an important factor in admissions decisions". Law schools are telling you that they consider diversity to be important in the admission decision; the Supreme Court has said that diversity is a legitimate factor in an admission decision. Nevertheless, you relegate it to a separate ranking system. Why then do you not include diversity as a factor in your ranking methodology?  Because you make this political/value choice, you have put the US NEWs in the middle of the admission decision by these choices. The way to take USNews out of the middle would be to include diversity as another factor.

It is particularly disappointing that you refuse to discuss your methodological choices and their impact on minority admission in the most legitimate forum there is for this kind of discussion - the annual meeting of law professors - the American Association of Law Schools.

I would hope that journalistic integrity means that you do not avoid a controversy merely because it is highly charged. Clearly, you are a player in this problem and your refusal to participate in the discussion is symptomatic of the problem - everyone looking for someone else to take responsibility.

Since part of AALS panel discussion is about USNew do not consider diversity " to be [an] appropriate factors and [its] relative importance of criteria used in law school admissions" , Your presence is important to the discussion.

Vernellia Randall
Professor of Law The University of Dayton School of Law