At an unusually scheduled Sunday morning meeting today, the American Bar Association’s Council of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted not to approve Miskatonic University School of Law’s accreditation application. The administration of the Massachusetts-based law school, named for the nearby river of the same name, learned of the decision this morning via a two page facsimile. Following on the heels of the somewhat controversial accreditation denial of Tennessee’s Duncan School of Law, Miskatonic Law’s dean, Dr. Henry Armitage, III, expressed his disappointment at the decision and noted that the institution may challenge the ruling in the immediate future.
A centuries-old conservative institution steeped in tradition, Miskatonic Law is known for its significant dedication to historical (sometimes ancient) jurisprudence, the study of ecclesiastical law, and its extensive library collection.
“We have met all of the standards set forth by the ABA, and the academic credentials of our students and faculty are unequaled,” said Miskatonic Law’s Dean of Students Ward Phillips IV. “We believe this is an unnecessarily punitive act simply because our institution has declined to adopt a number of novel curricular norms which have permeated legal education for the past several decades.”
Contacted today by Abnormal Use, the Council of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar had no official comment. However, some associated with the committee are speaking privately about the denial.
“Something just didn’t sit right with us about this place,” said one ABA Council member who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the accreditation process.
According to reports, the ABA Council objected to the lack of faculty diversity at Miskatonic Law. Said one ABA Council member, who also wished to remain anonymous: “Most of the professors at Miskatonic attended Miskatonic, and the supermajority of them are children or grandchildren of prior Miskatonic Law professors. We simply did not see an appropriate diversity of faculty credentials at this university.”
Said another Council representative: “As you know, we look to the make-up of an institution’s student body when making an accreditation determination. Although their grades and LSAT scores were more than adequate, Miskatonic Law’s incoming students did not have the typical backgrounds that you would expect in a more familiar law school setting. There were almost no business or political science majors among the applicants and first year students; rather, the law school student body is composed of former archaeology, anthropology, and parapsychology majors. Quite frankly, many of them had studied unfamiliar disciplines which we had to research further to identify. There were a good many that had the prefix paleo- preceding the field of study, as well.”
“There are an unusual number of evening classes at Miskatonic,” said an ABA staffer familiar with accreditation proceedings.
Despite the denial, representatives of the ABA’s Council of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar specifically commended Miskatonic Law’’s “impressive collection of old volumes” in its many libraries, a factor which would ordinarily earn an institution significant points in the accreditation process. But apparently, according to one source, its library only contains “old and archaic volumes and had no access to modern legal databases.”
Armitage, whose grandfather once served as the University’s librarian, remarked, “Harvard is not punished for its early editions of Blackstone’s Commentaries, and that’s a much newer set of books than many we use on a daily basis.”
“We are a different type of law school, to be sure,” said Armitage. “Certainly, our students seek a more specialized understanding of a very remote subset of law. But we should not be punished and denied accreditation because of that. Despite the fact that their backgrounds may be different than those students seeking admission into a Harvard or Yale, our students love the craft of the law.”
Rumors of a lawsuit challenging the accreditation denial abound. In addition to various antitrust causes of action, the administrator may assert a curious freedom of religion claim.
Armitage has scheduled a press conference to be held later today at the law school’s Asenath Waite Memorial Hall.