St. Thomas law school apologizes for faulty rankings data

The University of St. Thomas is apologizing on its Web site for giving incorrect grad-employment data to U.S. News and World Report, which released its rankings earlier this week.

It says it caught the error itself:

It has come to our attention that U.S. News published an inaccurate employment at graduation statistic for the UST Class of 2010.

On line 169 of our Class of 2010 U.S. News Employment data report, the number of graduates known to be employed at graduation is correctly listed as 51 graduates (or 32.9% of our 155 total number of 2010 graduates).

Unfortunately, on line 164 of the report, we incorrectly listed 125 graduates (or 80.6%) as employed at graduation.

U.S. News listed that incorrect number in its law school rankings, released earlier today. We have contacted U.S. News to alert them to the error.

We are deeply sorry to have failed to catch this discrepancy in our reported data. We take data accuracy very seriously. In addition to working to fulfill our reporting obligations in a timely and accurate manner, we also provide comprehensive employment data on our website.

You can review that data here: http://www.stthomas.edu/law/current/career/CareerStats2010.html. If you have any questions about our employment data, please feel free to contact Kendra Brodin, our Director of Career and Professional Development, at (651) 962-4865.

University spokesman Chato Hazelbaker told me he’s unsure whether the new data will change the school’s ranking. The school has contacted the magazine about the error, but hasn’t heard back. He said the university will keep the ranking unless given a different one to use.

Hazelbaker said the number in question was considered “optional data” by the magazine, and not required data.

Key note:

For those who’ve already seen this Inside Higher Education brief  — about an attorney threatening class-action lawsuits against 20 American law schools over inaccurate postgraduate employment rates — I made a call to confirm which institutions were on the list.

The attorney involved told me that the St. Thomas school mentioned is located in Florida.