Richard Robinson

To the Faculty of Brigham Young University Law School

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Richard Robinson
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Dear Faculty,

The purpose of this letter is to address significant concerns shared by many members of the law school community regarding the recent changes to certain law school policies. Undoubtedly, many of you have already been made aware of and responded to concerns from individual students. While the new policies affect individual students in different ways, we hope this collaborative communication will effectively demonstrate our collective frustration with this recent decision and encourage you to reconsider requiring immediate application of the new policies.

As we students discussed with one another our dissatisfaction with the recent policy changes, it became evident that most of us are generally pleased with the substance of those policy changes (i.e. requiring 67.5 graded credits for all honors designations and switching to a class rank for honors instead of a GPA threshold). We trust your judgment that the changes were necessary, or at least helpful, in tackling pressing issues (i.e. grade inflation caused by inconsistent application of medians and means, need for conformity with national Order of the Coif standards, etc.). However, requiring immediate application of the new policies will cause significant and irreparable harm to students, namely 3Ls, who have reasonably relied upon the old information when making academic and scheduling decisions.

Graduating with honors is more than a mere singular event; it is the culmination of deliberate and comprehensive scheduling and planning. It is something that requires dedication and sacrifice. Throughout this extensive process, we have reasonably relied upon information provided to us at the beginning of our 1L year, with no expectation that this information would be suddenly altered without advance notice. Had we known of these impending changes, many of our decisions and behaviors would have been different. We do not argue that we simply would have “studied harder,” but, contend that our approach to scheduling, externships, co-curriculars, and extracurricular demands would have been drastically reformed. These arguments are not anecdotal; we are willing and prepared to provide testimony from many students who will describe how the immediate application of these new policies will cause them irreparable harm. Although we trust that you carefully considered several options, we fear that the dearth of student involvement in the process undermined your ability to accurately comprehend the injury that would be caused to students (having one student present at some of your meetings, who is not able to consult with the student body in order to present its views, is not adequate representation). Similarly, we understand that we students do not have access to all of the information that you relied on in making your decision.

Not only will your decision cause us harm, but the lack of transparency and student involvement is equally concerning. We respectfully submit that you postpone application of the new honors at graduation requirements for current 3Ls. Alternatively, we request an open forum where all interested parties can discuss their views with the hope that the faculty will consider a renewed vote on whether the new policies should take immediate effect.

—J. Reuben Clark Law School, Class of 2015

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