UNT Dallas College of Law is unique and doesn’t cater to your typical law student. Its founding mission is to make legal education accessible to minority, female, and low-income students. To fail before it even got off the ground would have been a profound and highly public setback, attracting news coverage from outlets such as The Dallas Morning News and The Wall Street Journal.
A threshold issue to resolve: Could the matter be handled behind closed doors with no accompanying publicity?
Our answer was a resounding NO. We believed that attempting to solve this problem outside the public eye would have ensured the school would fail. We also believed that this challenge was an opportunity to show that the UNT Dallas College of Law was a different kind of institution where transparency and collaboration were core principles.
In addition, advances in communications technology, including social media, worked against any strategy to “keep a lid” on what the ABA was intending. No, in this case, keeping things secret was not going to work and was contrary to the values of the law school, teachers and administrators. The law school had a commitment to the community and its supporters, not to mention the faculty and students, to be as open and honest as possible.
So, we made openness and honesty our watchwords. Many people would have questions, and our job was to help provide the framework for the school to answer as many of them as it could. In so doing, we believed we could help UNT Dallas College of Law reassure supporters and convey to the ABA that it was serious about addressing any perceived weaknesses in its accreditation application.