Fool me twice: Restoring UI integrity an uphill battle

When the College of Law initially came out with misreported profiles for the Class of 2014, there was hope that the incorrect numbers would be restricted to one year. Now, we know the misrepresented profiles go back four years, and suddenly, we have found ourselves in a situation that seems uncomfortably familiar.

Two years ago, the Category I scandal broke in the Chicago Tribune and exposed an ugly side of the University. Ultimately, this led to a messy investigation and a changeup in administration. More importantly, it led to the diminished stature of our school from the standpoint of academic standards, as well as ethics. When the Category I investigations wrapped up, the University hoped to put it in the past and rebuild its tarnished reputation.

Fast forward to today, when we once again have to deal with ethical failings. The sad fact is the latest news about the College of Law probably doesn’t surprise most of us. Our university has a proven track record of not being able to adhere to legal, transparent policies. Besides how disappointing this whole situation is, it’s nothing less than terrible that unethical behavior is a norm for this university, and we will not even give our school the benefit of the doubt when questionable issues arise. The results of the Jones Day investigation have simply proven to us that we cannot be trusted. Maybe ever.

The clout scandal was supposed to jolt the University into ending the web of corruption and cultivating a culture of honest practices. Perhaps our school is incapable of this simple standard. Or perhaps the corruption runs so deep that it will take years to completely eradicate. Certainly, our reputation is going to take years to repair, so we have the time. The College of Law is only a sobering reminder that the work is not done, and we cannot ever definitively say we’ve cleaned up our act. Lofty language no longer means anything when it comes out of this school. The students, the community and the public at large will only believe it when the University no longer makes the news for issues like this.