Friday, May 24, 2024

(Dougie) Fresh news: "andré douglas pond cummings" to be dean of Widener

Long-time readers of OTLSS will remember andré douglas pond cummings, the ever-so-humble scholar of law & hip-hop who insists on writing all four of his names at all times, solely in lower-case letters. He reportedly christened himself Dougie Fresh, for what reason I know not, as a young Mormon on his obligatory mission to win converts, but he seems to have tired of that moniker. (We often call him Dougie Fresh here, or Pond Scum.) His greatest moment in the sun was a stint as second in command at Indiana Tech Law School, a four-year-long flash in the pan whose greatest contribution to the world was an almost inexhaustible wellspring of material for witty mockery here at OTLSS. Those who are late to the party may occupy a merry afternoon by searching for 

site:outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com "indiana tech"

and laughing their asses off at every article.

Well, as I said, Indiana Tech went tits up after four years. Dougie Fresh apparently got a job teaching legal writing at the toilet law school of the U of Arkansas at Little Rock, thereby faring rather better than most of his colleagues at the finest failed law school ever to disgrace Allen County, Indiana. I had nearly forgotten about him when our dear founder, Dybbuk, shared the following piece of news with me: Dougie Fresh is going to become the dean of Widener University Commonwealth Law School on the first of June.

Widener waxes dithyrambic about Dougie Fresh Pond Scum:

  • an accomplished leader, scholar, and award-winning professor
  • an inclusive leader with an array of legal expertise
  • a student-centered leader who stands out as a strong proponent of inclusion and belonging

For "a strong proponent of inclusion and belonging", read "a whore who will draw sorely needed student-loan-bearing racialized students into our stinky über-toilet". At Indiana Tech, Pond Scum told a prospective applicant that 143 was a "serviceable" LSAT score, apparently meaning that it was good enough for Indiana Tech. It is in fact a dreadful LSAT score, one so bad that anyone entering law school with it is unlikely to graduate and less likely still to pass a bar exam ever. Widener preys on racialized students: they make up more than a quarter of the student body and a clear majority of those who fail out. Unfortunately, gullible people who have suffered a lifetime of undeserved disadvantage on account of white supremacy may heed the siren song of white scamsters who tell them that they can have a career in law despite demonstrably poor ability that renders them inadmissible to any respectable law school. At least 25% of the class got no better than 146 on the LSAT; only two ABA-accredited law schools have lower scores (145 and 144). 

Conspicuously absent from this puff piece by über-toilet Widener is any mention of Dougie Fresh's four years just shy of the helm of HMS Indiana Tech. Why is that, pray tell? Could it be that Indiana Tech, whose entire brief and shameful existence is amply and amusingly documented at OTLSS, is a grievous embarrassment, blotting a career of allegedly brilliant achievement in the burgeoning field of law & hip-hop?

We at OTLSS predict that the students and staff of über-toilet Widener will quickly tire of this pretentious buffoon and his four lower-case names. We recommend that they call him Pond Scum and ask why he insisted on being called Dougie Fresh by his fellow latter-day saints.


Thursday, March 7, 2024

ABA busy with rubber stamp of approval

Lately the ABA has been wielding its rubber stamp of approval with relish. It has "acquiesced" to letting über-toilet Charleston School of Law become a so-called non-profit institution. Acquiescence apparently is a sort of noli contendere that lets the state and federal authorities make the real decision. 

Provost Larry Cunningham cited "two key benefits to the change: it will bolster the school’s academic reputation, separating it from those institutions accused of being 'diploma mills,' and it will make fundraising easier as potential donors will be attracted to the tax advantages of giving to a nonprofit school." Charlatan Charleston will, however, be a diploma mill whether it is nominally non-profit or not. It's so odious that even InfiLaw tried to acquire it. As for raising funds, I suppose that someone somewhere will be ass enough to donate to this flagging über-toilet and may be more inclined to do so if money can be saved on taxes. Still, it's a hopeless scam-school with no future.

In addition, the ABA has given provisional accreditation to the upstart über-toilet at Jacksonville University. Scarcely a year and a half old, this bullshit institution started life with a handful of students and still expects only 40 in the next entering class. It's a ridiculous and ill-fated attempt to establish a law school in Jacksonville where Florida Coastal failed after years with more than a thousand students. Of course, the ABA hands out provisional, and even full, accreditation like breath mints, so its scam-enabling conduct comes as no surprise.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Wilmington University in Delaware opens über-toilet

Bucking the trend of closures since the second half of 2016, Delaware's Wilmington University opened an über-toilet law school last autumn. Despite forecasting an inaugural class of 65 students, the über-toilet got only 20. Indiana Tech did about the same: actual enrollment was less than one-third of the pie-in-the-sky prediction.

Phillip Closius, dean of this dump, risibly explained the shortfall: "I just over-estimated it.… I had no experience dealing with a school that was new and seeking accreditation. We didn’t get in front of enough people to produce those numbers." Indeed, he evidently had "no experience"—and didn't bother to glance at the histories of similar failed ventures, such as Indiana Tech.

Although we at OTLSS have not found any information about the LSAT scores of the twenty fools who signed up at this dive, Harvard need not quake in its boots at the thought of sharp competition from Delaware. One hundred three people applied, and Closius claims that twice as many were needed for a class of 65. The claim seems questionable: had there been twice as many similarly situated applicants, we should have expected enrollment around 40. Perhaps he meant that the hypothetical second slate of 103 applicants would have been much poorer and much more likely to matriculate. Or perhaps he just can't do arithmetic.

And now it's time for the obligatory announcement that Wilmington is a Different Type of Law School™. Closius again: "There was no reason to open up a new law school that’s doing exactly the same thing as 190 other law schools." Quite so. What, then, sets Wilmington apart from the pack?

Wilmington Law aims to distinguish itself with relatively low tuition — the current cost is $24,000 a year — and a focus on preparing students for the bar exam. Class assessments are designed to mimic the format of the attorney licensing exam, Closius said. The school will also emphasize hands-on learning through externships, he added.

Let's work through this item by item.

A law school can be expensive despite "relatively low tuition", thanks in large part to the cost of living and other expenses. It can also fail. Indiana Tech did, right after giving the entire student body ZERO tuition; Golden Gate is closing now after doing the same for all full-time students. Law schools with an unbroken heritage going back to the nineteenth century, such as the notorious Valpo, have gone tits up. Why should Wilmington be viable? Where exactly is it getting the money to operate with a faculty of 7 and a student body of 20? That's not even half a million dollars of revenue, far too little for operating expenses.

We hear, however, that the new über-toilet Jacksonville University College of Law doubled its entering class to 27 students last year after drawing only 14 upon opening in 2022. That's still too few students for sustainability, by Old Guy's estimates. And infusions of cash into a law school can quickly sink a parent university: Indiana Tech, once again, provides a fine example, and even the U of Minnesota is hurting from the millions of dollars' worth of subsidies needed to keep its upper-fourth-tier law school afloat.

The "focus on preparing students for the bar exam" tells us two things: 1) Wilmington, like many other über-toilets, will be a glorified bar-review course; 2) already Closius & Co. know damn well that their charges will struggle to pass a bar exam, because they're admitting students of low calibre.

And "hands-on learning through externships"? Ho-hum. Other law schools say exactly the same thing, without yielding results to match the rhetoric. Emphasizing "externships" as a vehicle for "hands-on learning" amounts to an abrogation of the duty to teach. And who the hell in Wilmington is going to offer "externships" to a couple of dozen über-toileteers?

In sum, Wilmington is indeed doing what 190 other law schools are doing—or perhaps I should say 160 or so, to exclude the élite and near-élite schools.

Admit it Closius: 1) you don't know what the hell you're doing; 2) there just isn't any practical or innovative way to make minimally competent lawyers of the lousy human material that your unneeded shit pit of a law school attracts. Unlike you, Old Guy has actually considered what would be needed to run a law school for Wilmingtonian über-toileteers: maybe a dozen years or so of demanding full-time instruction, starting with remedial training in reading, writing, and logic long before introducing anything to do with law. Some of your so-called students might complete the program, but it would be painful for all—and Old Guy isn't volunteering to teach it. 

Wilmington has sunk tens of millions of dollars into buildings that seem to excite Closius more than his shitty students and shitty law school. Indiana Tech and Thomas Jefferson are but two über-toilet law schools that pissed money away in precisely the same manner, only to have to vacate the new facilities almost as soon as they had moved in.

Prediction: This pig of a law school will fail to thrive. Old Guy doesn't expect it to survive four years.

Other news:

High Point University — a private, Christian university in North Carolina — is moving ahead with plans to launch a new law school next August. Applications for the coming school year will be available in September, according to its website.

Just what we need: a god-bothering private joke of a university with a new über-toilet of its own, in a state that lost a horrible law school (Charlotte) just a few years ago and still has far more law schools than it needs. Expect an update from OTLSS as information comes to light.


Saturday, December 30, 2023

Happy new year from OTLSS

This has been a slow year here at OTLSS: there just haven't been very many developments to report in respect of the law-school scam. Still, we've had good news, most notably the imminent closure of the failed JD program at Golden Gate, which will mark the sixteenth closure of a law school since 2016 (when Indiana Tech, the first to close in the modern history of the law-school scam, announced that it would shut its doors at the end of the academic year without so much as a "teach-out" plan). Odious über-toilet Charleston has put in for "non-profit" status, a sign of its going tits up very soon. 

Signs suggest that the law-school scam may have gained its second wind. A couple of upstart über-toilets appeared in 2022, though they gained only a risibly small number of students. Applications to law school seem to be on the rise again. On the other hand, more closures can be expected. We shall also continue to watch the various schools under a "Reliable Plan" by the ABA, with dispensations that prolong for years non-compliance with even the ABA's bottom-of-the-barrel standards.

We at OTLSS wish you a very happy and scam-free new year.


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Golden Gate to be locked for good: one more über-toilet closes

Just over five months ago, we at OTLSS reported that notorious über-toilet Golden Gate was struggling to stay in business. Now we have found out that Golden Gate is going to close its JD program in May 2024, while still offering degrees in law other than the JD (presumably LLMs).

We at OTLSS are delighted to see yet another über-toilet bite the dust. Predatory failed law schools such as Golden Gate do not deserve to exist, nor should they be permitted to fatten themselves through federally guaranteed student loans. The sorts of people who go to über-toilets, in the main, have no business attending law school and should not be allowed to do so.

Golden Gate has thus become the sixteenth ABA-accredited law school to shut down since 2016:

Cooley (one campus)

Hamline (merged with Mitchell)

Indiana Tech

Whittier

Charlotte

Savannah

Valpo

Arizona Summit

Cooley (a second campus)

Thomas Jefferson (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)

La Verne (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)

Concordia

Cooley (a third campus)

Florida Coastal

Penn State Law (probably) 

Golden Gate

Which law school will be next? 


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Charleston seeks non-profit status

Back in 2015, Old Guy wrote this little ditty (based on a famous old dance tune) to an über-toilet called the Charleston School of Law:

♪ Charleston, Charleston,

Made in Carolina.

Some sham, some scam,

You'll take it up the vagina

Down in Charleston, Charleston,

Lord, how they can swindle!

Ev'ry time they pull

O'er your eyes the wool,

Don't believe their bull:

They've made pocketsful.

Damn sham, flim-flam,

Will be a back number;

But at Charleston, yes, at Charleston,

That scam school's surely a comer!

Some time they'll bilk you one time,

The scam school called Charleston,

Made in South Carolin'. ♪

For the early history of Charlatan Charleston, see this old article

After an unsuccessful bid to sell the dump to InfiLaw (which itself has gone tits up or, more likely, has found another scam-business into which to put its ill-gotten gains), the so-called leadership of Charleston has revived the old plan to go for "non-profit" status: recently it asked the ABA to "acquiesce" to this proposal. Old Guy takes "acquiescence" to be a polite reference to the old-fashioned wink and nod, wherewith the ABA can enjoy plausible deniability of responsibility while the new "non-profit" institution distributes money in less dividend-like ways.

This Civil War paradise of scamry is perfectly odious, drawing much of its class from the 140s on the LSAT and leaving many unable to use their costly Mickey Mouse JDs for purposes much better than lining the spindle in the necessary room. In recent years it has been fingered by the scam-cultivating ABA for falling below so-called standards for success on the bar exams and by the US Department of Education for being one of the two schools whose graduates perfomed so badly in the department of "gainful employment" as to call continued access to student loans into question. Its survival testifies to the degree of entrenchment of the law-school scam. 

And now we are told that the owners are just surrendering it to "non-profit" status, without taking a penny for it. Well, as Laocoön wisely put it, Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. The Valparaiso University School of Law, which unaccountably preferred to call itself Valpo, tried to give itself away to distant Middle Tennessee State University, but the Tennessean authorities stepped in to scupper that little Trojan horse. Indiana Tech tried to fob itself off by offering free tuition to an entire entering class, but only fifteen people swallowed the bait—and the über-toilet announced its closure a year later. 

Owners who diligently extract money from their plutocratic entity don't ordinarily give away a profitable going concern, so the prudent anti-scam activist will suspect something less savory—perhaps unprofitability, perhaps a veiled quest for filthy lucre. Whatever may be going on, expect the ABA's "acquiescence", which will save the scamsters the trouble of getting out their rubber stamp.


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Non-élite colleges have been scams for decades

Those of a certain age may remember Paul Fussell's amusing book Class: A guide through the American status system, from 1983. Fussell breaks US society into nine classes, plus a non-class called X, according to the tastes and ambitions that are typical of each. Diet, dress, décor, hobbies, language—each is linked to a class's distinctive trait, be it the carefree self-assurance of the upper-middle class, the simpering conventionality of the middle class, or the fearful striving of the high proles. Forty years after publication, it is still good for a few chuckles.

It is Chapter VI, "The Life of the Mind", that concerns us here at OTLSS. The higher-education scam turns out to be nothing new (at 132–33):

The assumption that "a college degree" means something without the college's being specified is woven so deeply into the American myth that it dies very hard, even when confronted with the facts of the class system and its complicity with the hierarchies of the higher learning. For example: Vance Packard, in The Status Seekers, was persuaded as late as 1959 that the idea of "a college diploma" carried sufficient meaning to justify the class designation "the Diploma Elite." Quite wrong. To represent affairs accurately, you'd have to designate an "Elite Diploma Elite," because having a degree from Amherst or Williams or Harvard or Yale should never be confused with having one from Eastern Kentucky University or Hawaii Pacific College or Arkansas State or Bob Jones.… As late as 1972 Packard is still taking that rosy egalitarian view and thus still making the same essential mistake. In A Nation of Strangers he writes cheerfully, "In 1940 about 13 percent of college-age young people actually went to college; by 1970 it was about 43 percent." But no. It was still about 13 percent, the other 30 percent attending things merely denominated colleges. These poor kids and their parents were performing the perpetual American quest not for intellect but for respectability and status.

Indeed, college/university was long ago decoupled from intellect—something not especially common at Harvard and Yale—and reduced to a status-seeking device. When Fussell wrote those words, a bachelor's degree was still decidedly a luxury, the high-school diploma having only recently become de rigueur. About six years later, however, the BA was being billed as essential: one could not expect to find decent work without it. From that time on, young people have been herded into the universities whether or not they have any intellectual ambitions, or even two functioning brain cells to rub together. 

Fussell rudely hits the nail on the head with the observation that "the only meaningful educational distinction today is that between the college-educated and the 'college'-educated" (at 133). The scare quotes imply a correct sneer upon those many institutions—more than two thousand already in Fussell's day—that can politely be called non-selective but that over the past several decades have caparisoned themselves with the name "college" or "university". What we might call toilet colleges—the great majority—thrive on a reputation earned in generations past but no longer deserved. "[T]he statement 'He (or she) is a college graduate,' … long years ago, might have carried some weight. But by the 1950s the scene had changed.… The word [college] remained unchanged while the reality altered drastically" (at 132).

Cui bono? More to the point, cui malo? Referring pointedly to "the college swindle" and "the great college-and-status hoodwink" (at 134), Fussell harbors no illusions (at 133–34):

One of the saddest social groups today consists of that 30 percent that during the 1950s and 1960s struggled to "go to college" and thought they'd done that, only to find their prolehood still unredeemed, and not merely intellectually, artistically, and socially, but economically as well. In Social Standing in America, Coleman and Rainwater found that going to a good college—or in my view, a real one—increased one's income by 52 percent, while going to a really good one … increased it by an additional 32 percent over that. But they found that you achieved "no income advantage" if you graduated from a "nonselective" college… No income advantage at all.

The rich fill the élite academies, while "'[t]he newly arrived, eager, upwardly mobile person,' says Leonard Reissman, 'sweaty from his climb up the class ladder, wipes his brow and learns that the doors to full recognition and acceptance are still closed to him" (at 134). Consequently, "the effect of the whole system is to stabilize class rigidity under the color of opening up genuine higher learning to everyone" (ibid).

Fussell locates this college swindle "largely during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations" (at 135), when hundreds upon hundreds of institutions of a vocational rather than an academic character springboarded themselves into the ranks of "universities", for which status they were quite ill prepared. This "unearned promotion … was simply an acceleration of a process normal in this country—inflation, hyperbole, bragging" (ibid).

Hovering above this heap of unduly elevated institutions is an élite group, generously as many as 200 strong, that do confer some cachet. Columbia and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Swarthmore and Carlow College, exist in a dialectical, heads-and-tails unity of opposites. The Dartmouth sweatshirt says as much as the bumper sticker for Eureka College. Indeed, "colleges and universities are the current equivalent of salons and levees and courts" (at 141).

Fussell's book is contemporaneous with the notorious "rankings" of You Ass News, which somehow crowned itself supreme authority on the relative merits of allegedly academic institutions. Those "rankings" filled, and fill, a socially constructed need for reducing prestige to a single handy-dandy metric. Thus we hear fools gloat of attending the 179th best college, or the 38th best law school. (Incidentally, genuflecting to authority betrays the middle class, according to Fussell.) The élite academies pack their cohorts principally with the scions of the top three classes (top-out-of-sight, upper, upper-middle); the middle class and the three "prole" classes are stuck with Zero College and East Bumblefuck University. These no-account establishments may seek the bubble reputation through a male football or basketball team, but that too has its limits, and only a few dozen can attain the athletic veneer of respectability. No matter: none of them offers real intellectual or aesthetic fulfillment, nor even much potential for a decent job.

People who 40, 50, 60, 70 years ago would never have gone beyond high school (and might well not have graduated) now scheme for a college as high up the You Ass News "rankings" as possible. Yet from position 200 or so to the end there is no real difference in prestige: they are toilets, one and all. Unfortunately, this information is not widely known or understood, so undistinguished schools flourish at the expense of ambitious but misguided members of the public.

The same is true of law schools. As many as thirteen (Harvard and Yale above all others) may confer genuine prestige; the rest, only a fake prestige if any at all. Although there is real potential for an enterprising person of humble background to land at a Harvard or a Michigan, monetizing the degree may prove difficult—and boasting about a prestigious law school won't pay the bills.

The proliferation of law schools and universities is no eleemosynary project; it is a quest for profit in a day bereft of such traditional options as factory work. There may be twenty lousy schools for every one of recognized merit. Serial "rankings" by the likes of You Ass News delude the public into supposing that schools stand on a continuum, when really they fall into two groups: an élite and all the rest. This was true in the 1950s, according to Fussell, and today it is true in spades. Do not fall for non-selective undergraduate institutions or law schools.