SUNY-Buffalo Law administrator threatens students with character & fitness complaints

By J. DeVoy

In a recent e-mail sent to graduating 3Ls at SUNY-Buffalo Law School, the school’s administration alluded to filing character and fitness complaints against students who are savvy with their graduation tickets. (Emphasis and editor’s notes added.)

From: “Saran, Melinda” saran@buffalo.edu
To: [UB3L]@buffalo.edu
Sent: Thu 02/25/10  9:56 AM
Subject: Fwd: Commencement cap & gown order deadline is March 2nd!

This message is being sent to all 3L and LLM students

Caps & Gowns

   The deadline for ordering you [sic] tam, gown and hood (for rental) is next Wednesday, March 3, 2010.  Orders are taken at the University Bookstore.  The Bookstore will not guarantee tam hats on any orders after March 2nd.   You may pickup [sic] your caps and gowns beginning on April 20th.

Tickets

   Commencement tickets will be limited to six (6) tickets per graduating student. With the number of tickets and the gradates [sic], we fill the Mainstage Theater.  NO EXTRA TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE!!!

   If you need more than six tickets you can also ask other students who are not attending or do not need all seven tickets.  We will not have a wait list or any extra tickers.  No ‘scalping’ or counterfeit tickets will be allowed.  Such behavior will be reportable to the Character and Fitness committee.

   Tickets will not be distributed until April.  Each graduating student will have an envelopewith [sic] her or his tickets inside.  We will let you know when the tickets have arrived and are ready for distribution.

A tacit threat by a velvet-gloved iron fist?  Note the e-mail’s Reaganesque use of passive voice about “reportable” behavior.

Sanctions for counterfeiting tickets are understandable, as it’s obviously deceitful conduct.  Rolling it in with scalping, though, becomes more problematic.  New York state law specifically allows the resale of tickets for whatever value the market will bear.  Ironically, in one of the few arenas where New York promotes a free market, the state’s lone public law school wants to inhibit it.

Times are hard for law students everywhere.  Here, though, the law school that has taken students’ money for three years is threatening to subterfuge their careers for engaging in a legal activity.  As if the legal market and broader economy of upstate New York isn’t bad enough, graduating UB 3Ls have the pendulum of a character and fitness complaint swinging above them for trying to monetize a valuable commodity — lawfully!

One would hope that students are civil with one another regarding something as important as graduation tickets.  But, considering how current 3Ls are wont to fight like sharks over the skeletal whale carcass of economic opportunity, anything is possible.  Nevertheless, this punishment does not fit the crime; it’s unseemly for a school to threaten its own students’ careers like this.

8 Responses to SUNY-Buffalo Law administrator threatens students with character & fitness complaints

  1. You no [sic] when you put “[sick]” [sic] after every error made you end up coming off like a hall monitor. This was an email. The standards for email are generally more lax than for print. I bet if I went through your outbox I could find as many misspellings and grammar errors. Just send me your password and I’ll put this to the test!

    Everyone wants to hold someone to higher standards with regards to spelling and grammar when they disagree with the person than they ever do when in agreement. The best way to make a person look like an idiot is to quote the person exactly. Include every “um,” false start, and “you know,” and most people sound like they are completely uneducatred [sic]. So pointing these errors out seems a bit petty.

    A case can be made that this was an official dispatch and should be held to a higher standard, but by doing this it diminishes the actual point being made. It’s like you are pointing out that this is stupid because look, Melinda is stupid.

    If this is the case, you either missed one, or you made an error quoting her. Well, unless, “envelopewith” is a word I am unfamiliar with.

    The threat seems hollow to me. As you point out, these students have been paying for an education for three years. To scuttle their careers on graduation day would pretty much insure the future failure of said institution. Who would want to go there after something like this? Of course, I’ve seen schools do dumber things and continue once they have dismissed the overzealous employee.

    Legal threats to newly minted lawyers by their own school is ironic though unsurprising.

    • J DeVoy says:

      “I bet if I went through your outbox I could find as many misspellings and grammar errors.”
      -Maybe. But I’m not sending semi-official correspondence to 250+ people with those e-mails, either. I don’t think I was being terribly unfair — It’s not like there was a lone, very understandable error.

      “Who would want to go there after something like this?”
      LSAT administrations this year have increased dramatically. http://abovethelaw.com/2009/11/most_lsats_ever.php That’s hard to believe for current law students who have seen how dead the market is, and how unlikely it is to recover in 18 months when applicants will begin looking for jobs. The schools hold all the power; students and applicants will suck it up and enjoy it.

      It is unsurprising, but lame, especially because it pertains to legal conduct.

  2. Butt-Head says:

    “envelopewith”….huhuh–huhuhu–huhu–huhu, yeah, cool.

  3. Beavis says:

    Shut up, Butt-Head…he meant “envelope with”, or something…heheh-hehehe-heheh…Go Gwar!

  4. Mike says:

    An administrator. No tenure. Maybe civil service. Easy Answer: Fire the idiot.

    —Mike

  5. “I don’t think I was being terribly unfair — It’s not like there was a lone, very understandable error.”

    My point wasn’t one of fairness, but of effectiveness. You have a valid complaint against an idiot, but rather than focussing on dismantling why her threat is bad, you zoom in on her stupidity. I was just trying to point of the rhetoric would have been more effective if you let her errors speak for themselves.

    Now what someone should do that would be really funny is take out an ad, in their school paper or local paper or online or whatever, offering to pay students for these tickets. See how many sell.

  6. […] students who are savvy with their graduation tickets.” The exact quote in the email (posted here): “No ‘scalping’ or counterfeit tickets will be allowed.  Such behavior will be […]

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