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New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

Selected Topics: Students Admissions
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Academic Misconduct; Admissions; Students; Due Process; Retaliation; Constitutional Issues

Isaacs v. Trustees of Dartmouth College (D.N.H. July 12, 2017)

Order granting in part Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, dismissing certain claims sua sponte, and ordering Plaintiff to show cause. Plaintiff had attended the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine (USC) until he was dismissed after his first year for harassing a classmate. He was later awarded a medical degree by the American University of the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, and served the first three weeks of his residency at the University of Arizona (UA). After resigning from UA, he then applied for and obtained a residency at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Plaintiff’s application materials omitted attendance at USC and his aborted residency at UA from his application. After DHMC dismissed him for academic deficiency, inappropriate behavior, and falsification of reports, along with the misrepresentation on his application, Plaintiff sued the Trustees of Dartmouth College, DHMC, and others alleging substantive and procedural due process violations, conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) retaliation, among other claims not adjudicated here. The court dismissed Plaintiff’s first three claims and ordered him to show cause why his ADA retaliation claims should not be dismissed with prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. 

7/14/2017
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Admissions; Affirmative Action; Affirmative Action; Students; Equal Protection

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (D. Mass. June 2, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order denying Harvard College’s Motion to Dismiss. Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA), a nonprofit organization of voluntary members whose mission is to defend human and civil rights secured by law, filed suit alleging that Harvard uses racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures in administering its undergraduate admissions program in violation of Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, SFFA contends that Harvard’s general consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions program violates the Equal Protection Clause because it allegedly engages in unlawful “racial balancing.” Additionally, SFFA alleges that Harvard's policies invidiously discriminate against Asian-American applicants in particular by admitting only a limited number of Asian-American applicants each year. Harvard challenged the SFFA’s standing to file suit, primarily based on the argument that SFFA’s members play no meaningful role in the organization and therefore SFFA cannot genuinely represent them for the purposes of associational standing. The court concluded that SFFA, as an organization of actual members, did not need to meet the “indicia of membership” test to assert associational standing and that it met all the remaining standing prerequisites.

6/5/2017
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Students; Admissions; Authorizations & Regulations; Accreditation

American Bar Association Council Notice of Probation and Specific Remedial Action for the Charlotte School of Law (Oct. 2016)

Notice of Probation and Specific Remedial Action regarding the admissions practices of the Charlotte School of Law was issued by the American Bar Association (ABA). The Council announced that it has placed the Law School on probation for failing to comply with ABA admissions standards that require institutions to admit only those applicants who are likely to graduate and pass the bar exam, and to maintain a rigorous program of legal education. In order to remedy the situation, the Law School must submit a written plan for bringing its admissions standards into compliance, supply the ABA with admissions data and methodology for the fall 2017 entering class, and advise its students of first-time North and South Carolina bar examinee passage rates of its graduates for the past six exam administrations.

11/28/2016
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Admissions; Students; Accreditation; Authorizations & Regulations

American Bar Association Council Notice of Censure and Specific Remedial Action for Valparaiso University School of Law (Oct. 2016)

Joint letter published by the Secretaries of Education, Agriculture, Housing, Labor, and Treasury containing summaries of how the alignment between provisions that exist within federal programs can be improved in order to increase college access and completion. The Secretaries thank institutions for their partnership in helping to ensure improved college access and completion, and call upon college and university leaders to review the summaries and identify additional ways that federal policies can help facilitate the implementation of the programs discussed. 

11/28/2016
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Admissions; Program Integrity & Gainful Employment

Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Order by Superior Court of California, County of San Diego Central denying defendant Thomas Jefferson School of Law's (TJSL) motion for summary judgment on December 28, 2015. Plaintiffs – three TJSL graduates – sued asserting fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and other state law claims stemming from their alleged reliance on TJSL's inflated employment figures in deciding to attend TJSL. Rejecting TJSL's argument that the plaintiffs' could not show that the alleged misrepresentations were a material, substantial factor in their decisions to attend TJSL, the court noted the plaintiffs' explicit declarations that they would not have attended the law school if they knew of the inflated employment figures. The court concluded that "representations regarding employment statistics [are] material misrepresentations to applicants for law school" and that "reasonable reliance is an inherently factual inquiry."
1/8/2016
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