The University of Wisconsin Law School ranks eighth in the nation for most liberal students, according to the annual Princeton Review rankings released this week.
Based on a survey of 37,000 students from 172 law schools from around the country, the ranking was contested and criticized by UW Law School Dean Kenneth Davis who said he is suspicious of the accuracy of the ranking.
“My gut reaction is that this is not a particularly sophisticated poll,” Davis said.
He added that as someone who has been on faculty at UW Law School for more than 30 years and has taught at three other major institutions, including an Ivy League school, he does not believe UW’s school is any more liberal or conservative than the national norm.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, who is a UW Law School graduate himself and serves on the Senate Committee on Education, was disappointed to hear the news of the ranking.
“I am very disappointed that the UW Law School has done such an abysmal job of promoting diversity among their students,” Grothman said.
He added he thinks it is “shameful” that the university is so unrepresentative of the state, which he said contains more conservatives than liberals.
“In a university that prides itself on diversity it would be nice if the political views of faculty and students represented the state’s constituents,” Grothman said.
Davis agreed it is important students and faculty have a diversity of viewpoints, and said despite the stereotype of Madison as a liberal city and school, he is confident UW Law School does in fact have diversity.
As a state school, Davis said a majority of the students who are admitted are Wisconsin residents and he said he assumes UW Law School students are politically representative of the state.
“What I wish is that these magazines that are trying to make money by coming up with sensational descriptions of law schools didn’t rush to oversimplify characteristics of law schools,” Davis said.
UW finished higher than any other Big Ten school in the ranking. The City University of New York at Queens ranked first.