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U of O overlooks 600 law applicants

Friday, July 10, 2009

CBC News

Some 600 students hoping to study common law at the University of Ottawa this fall had their applications overlooked because of an error in the admissions process.

Now the university plans to give them a second chance.

Of the 3,500 applications the university receives for that program every year, some weren't even considered, the school said Thursday.

Students submitted their applications by the November 2008 deadline, but 600 were never told if they had been accepted or rejected. The school accepted 210 students.

Bruce Feldthusen, the dean of Common Law at the University of Ottawa, said he doesn't know how the applications slipped by without being considered by the admissions committee.

The school has said only that human error is the reason behind the mistake.

"What we've decided to do is to look at every one of them and make the determination," said Feldthusen.

"Would that person have been admitted earlier had we seen the file in the normal course of events? In each case, where the person would have been admitted, but for our error, we are going to give them an offer of admission."

The university, he said, will admit an additional 50 to 70 students into its Common Law program this year.

Morgen Patterson, who just finished her second year in the Common Law program, said that she's glad the students will still get a chance to apply for the program.

But she also said she has concerns about how the school will accommodate the additional students.

"The infrastructure at University of Ottawa and Fauteux Hall is pretty limited as it is," she said.

"The library is already fairly jam-packed, so with more people competing for spaces and courses, it adds to the competition that's already there."