Story needs clarification

I am writing in response to your lead article, “Club criticizes pre-law program’s lack of resources,” from October 8th. As the administrator who oversaw Pre-Law Advising in LAS, I think several points need clarification and correction.

“Pre-law” is not a “concentration” – a word we use on this campus to indicate an emphasis within an officially declared academic program. Students have the option of indicating “pre-law” only as an “educational objective,” which results in a code being placed on student records for the purpose of creating an e-mail list for pre-law announcements. The “pre-law” designation can remain in place long after students have abandoned any interest in the profession; it is not an accurate gauge of the number of students actively seeking individual services from a pre-law advisor, something which your ratio of “3000/1” suggests. Furthermore, the kind of pre-law services needed varies across time, with informational meetings, pre-law club activities, support from general advisors, Web-based materials, and Law Day complementing one-on-one appointments desired by students later in the process.

Your unqualified language also implied that the pre-law advising services housed in LAS Student Academic Affairs involved an Assistant Dean and a Graduate Advisor each of whom provided full-time attention to pre-law. In fact the director of pre-law advising, who performed his responsibilities admirably, nonetheless had several other assignments as Assistant Dean. He also teaches a course in his disciplinary specialty once a year; similarly, the pre-law Graduate Assistant was part-time (50%) for a nine-month period, working for us while enrolled full-time in law school.

Finally, I would suggest that your cross-college comparison (ratio of 163 advisees/1 advisor in LAS) obscures more than it reveals. Your strategy for assessing academic advising access in LAS is fundamentally flawed. LAS ratios must be computed department by department. In fact, in our largest majors the advisee/to advisor ratio is very different-and far less positive-than you conclude.