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Steve Diamond is still confused by claims that his employer published misleading employment stats


When we last reviewed his oeuvre here at LGM, Prof. Steve Diamond, a political scientist on the faculty of Santa Clara’s law school, was arguing that people trying to reform the structure of American legal education were secretly attempting to limit legal education to white males.

Here’s a revealing glimpse into the professor’s research methods, courtesy of The Faculty Lounge.

A post noting the appointment of Janet Napolitano as the new head of the University of California system inspired Diamond to point out that she is an alumna of Santa Clara College University. This in turn caused a commenter to ask Diamond if he might care to explain how Santa Clara Law School came to post especially egregious phony employment stats:

Santa Clara, a Jesuit institution devoted to social justice, was particularly adept at pulling two specific scams on its students. It parked ungodly numbers of students (it was No. 1 in the country, by far!) into the “unemployed and not seeking employment” category, which briefly allowed Santa Clara to publish misleadingly rosy employment stats. Second, it was near the top nationwide in pulling the ol’ “we promise scholarships but ensure that few students can actually retain them.” Social justice? You decide.

But perhaps Professor Diamond is right. What Santa Clara does on the sly to it students prepares the students for a world of sleazy stealth layoffs, false performance review, and pre-textual firings. Who ever said that law schools can’t prepare students for the real world? Santa Clara does.

Diamond responded by addressing the second point about scholarships with some Ayn Rand-style nonsense, while ignoring the matter of fake employment numbers. The commenter asked again:

Santa Clara stood alone, far alone, at the top of the list for exploiting the “unemployed not seeking work” category when that category worked as a loophole to avoid reporting accurate employment stats. No school came remotely close. Professor Diamond, why did SCU report that way? Who made that decision? And the reason that SCU won’t report that way again is because the trick no longer is a loophole, correct? The practice was deceptive, correct? Please answer.

After Diamond made another non-responsive reply, the commenter noted that “itt is revealing that Professor Diamond will not explain why Santa Clara falsely parked so many students into the loophole category.”

To which Diamond replied:

Claims of a school acting “falsely” or engaging in “gaming” should not be made anonymously or without substantiation.

You have not yet taken me up on my offer to discuss the basis of your claims directly so I assume you either have no basis for them or are not serious about resolving any problems related to them.

If you change your mind, please let me know.

The basis for the commenter’s claims consists of the ABA’s graduate employment data base, which the organization was finally pressured into making public last year. Here’s what it reveals regarding Santa Clara’s practices:

What the poster is referring to is that until March of 2011 US News excluded graduates who were categorized as “unemployed not seeking employment” from its employment percentage calculation. A school’s unemployment rate was calculated by USN by dividing the total number of graduates by the number of unemployed graduates seeking employment nine months after graduation.

So, for example, Harvard reported an employment rate of 97.3%, because 16 of its 589 2010 graduates were unemployed and seeking employment nine months after graduation. The three 2010 graduates who Harvard reported as unemployed not seeking employment were excluded from this calculation.

Santa Clara, interestingly, was reported by US News to have a better employment rate for its 2010 graduates than Harvard, even though 20% of the class didn’t have a job of any kind nine months after graduation, in comparison to 3.2% of Harvard’s 2010 graduates. This is because while only 15% of Harvard’s unemployed graduates were categorized by the school as not seeking work (this is a typical percentage), 90% of the one fifth of Santa Clara’s class that was unemployed were categorized by the school in this way. It turns out that 55 of Santa Clara’s 61 unemployed 2010 grads (out of 305 total graduates) weren’t looking for jobs. Apparently, while only 0.5% of Harvard law graduates don’t desire employment within nine months of graduation, 18% of Santa Clara law graduates went to school for purposes other than getting a job.

Or, to put it another way, these data suggest Santa Clara grads were 36 times more likely to not seek employment upon graduation than Harvard grads.

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