Steve at Begging to Differ and Eugene Volokh offer differing viewpoints on the case of a North Carolina senior who is suing UNC for admission pursuant to the acceptance letter he received this spring.
Mark Edmonson, a National Merit Scholarship finalist, scored a perfect 1,600 on his SAT last year and graduated from Northwest Guilford High School with a 3.5 (out of 4.0) grade point average. He wants a judge to force UNC to honor its spring admission offer and enroll him as a freshman this year. Why the lawsuit? At the time of admission Edmonson had a 3.8 grade point average. His final semester by all accounts was less than stellar.
Steve in an update to his post points to this article that more fully covers the admission rescission. Interestingly enough, I saw a link to this article in the previous story that may well do damage to the Universities position in court. The offer letter contained the following wording:
Because we want you to finish strongly and come to Carolina ready to excel, your enrollment will depend upon your successful completion of your current academic year. We expect you to continue to achieve at the level that enabled us to provide this offer of admission; we also expect you to graduate on time.
Eugene analyzes the wording in the terms of contract law and points to the “successful completion” phrase as the only concrete requirement for admission.
I think the plaintiff argument will be that the final grades taken as a whole would garner admission to UNC in 100 out of 100 cases, and indicate “successfully completion”. The argument could (and likely will) be made that the student finished with grades and scores that STILL placed him in the top half of the incoming freshman class. And in the students native intelligence (evident by 1600 SAT’s) did not evaporate in the last semester.
While Edmonson clearly slacked off or was having issues related to ADD medication his overall performance would have earned a spot in the freshman class at UNC. Clearly the face to face interview with the university admissions official did not help his cause. No one is going to feel too sorry for him if he looses his case, but I’m not so sure he will.