Mike Adams

From: Mike Adams
Sent: Thu 2/26/09 4:37 PM
To: Shannon K. Jones

Good afternoon, Shannon. I received your request for a letter of recommendation to UNC School of Law. I also received your resume, your transcripts, and your LSAT results. Based upon what I read I have written you two letters of recommendation. The first letter is for North Carolina Central School of Law, which I believe would be a better choice given that your grades and test scores are good but less than stellar. The full text of the letter follows:

To Whom It May Concern:

As a professor at UNC-Wilmington, I have had the pleasure of knowing Shannon Jones for the last four years. She has been a good student and an asset to our program. I would like to take this opportunity to recommend Shannon to N.C. Central School of Law.

I feel confident that Shannon will continue to do well in her studies. She is a dedicated student and thus far her grades have been strong. She has a 3.1 overall GPA. In class, she has proven to be a leader who is able to successfully develop ideas and presentations and to implement them.

Shannon has also assisted us in our main office. She has successfully demonstrated leadership ability by speaking with prospective students. Her advice has been a great help to students, some of whom have taken time to share their comments with me. Many noted her pleasant and encouraging attitude.

It is for these reasons that I offer recommendations for Shannon without reservation. Her drive and abilities will truly be an asset to your law school. If you have any questions regarding this recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Mike Adams
Associate Professor
UNC-Wilmington

As you can see, I wrote this letter without any reference to your status as a black female. Instead, I relied on your legitimate qualifications as a potential law student. But I also wrote a second letter based upon the sliding scale that is used for minorities (especially double minorities) in the law school admissions process. The full text of the second letter follows:

To Whom It May Concern:

As a professor at UNC-Wilmington, I have had the pleasure of knowing Shannon Jones for the last four years. She has been a good student and an asset to our program. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a minority recommendation for Shannon’s consideration by the admissions committee at UNC School of Law.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.