Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Premeditated Murder of Dickinson by Penn State

PSU’s law school is the brainchild of Graham Spanier, who early in his tenure at the university’s president decided that the university ought to have a law school, because prestige etc. At that time, Tom Ridge was Pennsylvania’s governor. Ridge is an alumnus of the Dickinson School of Law, a small private law school in Carlisle, which is the seventh-oldest law school in the country, having operated since the early 19th century. (It’s never been affiliated with Dickinson College, the well-regarded liberal arts college in the same town).
Spanier decided that the best way to advance this scheme was to convince Ridge to allow PSU to acquire Dickinson. Over the next few years complex political negotiations — in which Ed Rendell apparently played some role as well — eventually produced the following deal: The law school would become part of PSU, and a second campus for the school would open in State College, site of PSU’s flagship campus. PSU agreed to keep the Carlisle campus open until at least 2025, or 2020 if the university declared a financial exigency. The university committed to spending an enormous sum — about $130 million — on creating the new campus and updating the old one. Consequently, PSU built a $60 million law school building in State Park, which opened in 2009, and spent an additional $50 million on a new building and the upgrading of the existing physical plant at the Carlisle campus. The new Carlisle facilities were completed in 2010.
Spanier’s “vision” called for a law school with a typical first year enrollment of around 240 students, with two thirds of these in State College and the rest in Carlisle. This exercise in classic imperial administrative overstretch began to fall apart almost immediately. Predictably, the faculties of the law school’s two campuses didn’t get along. The State College faculty wanted to chase after rankings, which meant playing the academic prestige game, which in turn meant trying to hire faculty who would publish lots of law review articles. The righteous remnant in Carlisle, also quite predictably, started thinking of itself as focused on professional training — “experiential learning” in the current jargon — rather than on “theory.” (“Theory” is the buzzword for anything smacking of academic pretentions in this thing of ours).

Go to the link for the rest.

I call a pox on Penn State.  May its football team be the laughing stock of Division I for all eternity.
May Spanier and McConnaughay burn in hell with the pedophiles from University Park.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Things did not go well at public comment for that Dean

Community scrutinizes Dickinson School of Law plans 

The mood was tense Thursday night as Dean Philip McConnaughay detailed the university’s proposed plan to place first-year law students in the University Park campus and increase specialty programs at the Carlisle campus.

Follow the link to the full article to see just how tense.

The Sentinel weighed in with this editorial

Sentinel View: Law school should honor its agreement

September 22, 2012 9:00 am  • 
Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s board of directors ought to find an alternative to its proposal to end first-year classes in Carlisle. Its scheme to force students to start their law-school education at State College instead of Carlisle would be bad for the local economy and bad for law students who want to get a full education here. It’s ironic that an institution that teaches students about contract law would so eagerly seek to breach a contract of its own.
Last week, law school’s board of directors said financial pressure will force the college to end first-year classes in Carlisle. Instead, students would be required to begin at State College and then opt to complete their second and third years here. Just seven years ago, that same board signed a deal with the Cumberland County Redevelopment Authority where they promised, in exchange for a $25 million grant to redesign Trickett Hall, to maintain a full three-year law-degree program in Carlisle until at least 2025. The college’s board said the market for legal services has dried up, hence its proposal to cut and run.
While our understanding of contract law is limited, it defies logic that the law school could just arbitrarily decide to ignore its agreement to maintain three-year classes here simply because the economy fell out. It’s not like the $25 million grant didn’t come through, or that the work at Trickett Hall didn’t get completed. Local officials held up their end of the bargain; shouldn’t the law school? This obviously is a ploy to shut down the law school. How many students who start at State College will arbitrarily decide to transfer to Carlisle for their second and/or third years?
Times are tough for all sectors, and law schools are no exception. But it’s important for the law school to set a model for its students and honor its agreement, no matter how onerous it may be seven years into it. Carlisle needs a full three-year law-degree program available to students. Offering only second- and third-year education is cutting the community and its potential law students short."

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Pretty Obviously a Non-Starter from the Beginning

Dickinson law school plans up for discussion

The school is attempting to address a combined deficit and place both of its locations on a path to sustained economic self-sufficiency by dramatically cutting costs and increasing non-J.D. tuition revenues, while simultaneously preserving the excellence of our academic program and not raising J.D. tuition appreciably, McConnaughay said.

The school still needs the consent of the Dickinson Law Association, the county Redevelopment Authority.

I'll tell you which campus they should shut down, but I don't think they'll like it.  Why the Commonwealth was willing to spend the money to build that monument to vanity, I'll never understand.

The treachery continues.....Eliminate the Junior year at DSL

Long after the new law school was built in State College, and after the pedophilia scandal started John Dickinson twirling in his grave, the Dean of DSL made yet another push to totally destroy the historic institution in Carlisle by eliminating the first year of law school at the real DSL campus.  This made perfect sense because, after all, there's nothing students like to do more than move once to start at a new school and then move again to continue at a different campus, right?  No?  This was a new scheme to destroy the real DSL.

Here's the article published in the Sentinel when he first began to push this crazy scheme:

End to first-year law classes at Dickinson law school in Carlisle proposed
  and here's an excerpt from the article:
 Under the proposal by Dean Philip McConnaughay, all Penn State law students would start in State College, perhaps beginning as early as 2013. The Carlisle campus would continue to hold classes for second- and third-year students, including both in-person instruction and access to University Park classes through distance-learning technology.
The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News says the program would result in a student body significantly smaller than the 250 students once planned there.

The paper says the plan has drawn opposition from members of the Dickinson Law Association, a vestige of the independent school that merged with Penn State in 1997, the board of which retains review authority over some aspects of the dual campus agreement.
 Really?  Opposition?


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Back in Business!

Six years after losing control of this blog thanks to one company buying out another company and then being bought out by yet another company, etc., etc., I just got a response from the current owner, Google, and they got me all set up to post to this blog again!  Lots of news about DSL and that other school.  Will get caught up as soon as I can.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

That other law school to break ground

Law school to break ground

Penn State University will break ground Thursday on a proposed $60 million campus for Dickinson School of Law in State College, marking the start of construction.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, university officials and project architects will take part in the 10 a.m. ceremony at the site of the school’s future home along Park Avenue near Beaver Stadium.

The proposed 113,000-square-foot building is part of the university’s $110 million plan for new, electronically connected law school facilities in State College and Carlisle.

Officials said Monday they hope to host a ground breaking in Carlisle by late spring or early summer.

Gifts at the end of 2006 pushed the Carlisle project total to the $50 million level and officials have said the preservation of Trickett Hall will be the centerpiece of a new design by the project architect, Polshek Partnership Architects.

Design approved

In September, Penn State trustees approved final design of the three-story University Park facility, which will be built next to the future university arboretum and close to the business and forest resources buildings.

The new structure will feature a glass-enclosed library and reading room, study and gathering spaces, a law clinic for pro bono legal services, a 250-seat auditorium and a high-tech-equipped courtroom.

Dickinson School of Law expects to occupy the new facility in January 2009. Until then, the Beam Building on Park Avenue is serving as the law school’s home in University Park.

Penn State President Graham B. Spanier; Cynthia A. Baldwin, chair of Penn State’s board of trustees; and Philip J. McConnaughay, dean of The Dickinson School of Law, will lead the ceremony.

Polshek Partnership will be represented by partners Richard M. Olcott and Timothy P. Hartung.

Cortes, a 1999 graduate of The Dickinson School of Law, also will participate in the ceremony.

A reception will follow in the President’s Hall of The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

"The law school is thrilled to commence construction on what will be a world-class home for one of the nation’s finest law schools," McConnaughay said.

Progress for new law school HQ

Progress for new law school HQ

By The Sentinel, January 3, 2007

It was a late Christmas present for the Carlisle community, but it was a welcome one.

We’re talking about the announcement by Penn State that it has $50 million committed to the renovation of Dickinson School of Law’s Trickett Hall.

Originally, Penn State had planned to construct a new building from the ground up and completely remove Trickett from the landscape. This was in keeping with the university’s pledge to treat Carlisle equally with the planned second campus for the law school at University Park, which is supposed to break ground sometime in a few weeks.

But many local residents were aghast at the notion, especially after seeing the unofficial drawings of a proposed new building that were posted inside Trickett Hall. People who live in the adjacent residential area especially were concerned that a modern building would be an eyesore compared to the old-fashioned stone-faced visage of Trickett they were used to, and a petition drive against the modern building was started.

Those complaints were heard, and Penn State committed to a partial preservation of Trickett. But that decision came with its own problems, specifically negative feedback from donors who had conditioned their gifts on the construction of a new building. In May it was announced that only $30 million would be available for the new law school campus — a possible threat to the notion that both law school campuses would be equal.

But last week, Philip McConnaughay, dean of the law school, announced that donors had risen to the challenge and brought the Carlisle campus’ pool of money back up to $50 million. That number includes the $25 million pledged at the outset by Gov. Ed Rendell, $10 million of Penn State’s own money and $15 million in alumni gifts.

Work will now resume on the design of a building that will incorporate Trickett Hall’s appearance while offering expanded and modernized space for the entire law school. Because of the controversy, the twin campuses in Carlisle and University Park will open several months apart, not simultaneously as originally planned.

Nevertheless, the larger commitment of funding and the restarting of the design process will help Carlisle maintain its historic claim as the home of Dickinson School of Law. We had the hunch when Penn State first took over Dickinson Law back in the 1990s that the university might not be satisfied with having such a prestigious institution operate so far from its seat of power in Centre County, and subsequent events proved us right.

Those battles are behind us now, and the future looks bright for the Carlisle campus of Dickinson Law. We anxiously await the unveiling of the design for the new campus.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

They had to destroy Dickinson for this??

State College law school to boast large library
By Linda Franz, Sentinel Reporter, September 16, 2006

Penn State Board of Trustees approved final plans Friday for a $60 million Dickinson School of Law building at University Park.

The structure will consist of three floors plus a lower level and a 113,000-square-foot building footprint north of Park Avenue on Bigler Road.

That’s a prominent location adjacent to the future arboretum and near the Business and Forest Resources buildings, said Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the university.

The first floor will include three 75-seat tiered classrooms, a 50-seat courtroom and a 250-seat auditorium.

Admissions, administrative support and a law clinic, where volunteers will offer pro bono legal services, also will be on the first floor, along with a cafe.

The library will take up about 50 percent of the building, with the main stacks on the third floor. The second floor will include a portion of the library, faculty offices, three 30-seat seminar rooms, a conference room, student services, law review offices and the dean’s and development suites.

More faculty offices will be on the third floor along with space for student organizations, a group study room and conference room.

A parking lot for 350 cars will serve the law school and buildings north of Services Road.

A portion of the site has been reserved for potential expansion or for a separate building.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Funding Lacking for Carlisle Campus

Funding still sought for Carlisle law school makeover
By Linda Franz, Sentinel Reporter, September 16, 2006

While final plans for construction of a law school building at Penn StateÍs main campus were approved Friday, plans to upgrade Penn State Dickinson School of LawÍs Carlisle campus are still on hold.

First, fundraising lagged after a March 2005 decision to establish two campuses. With a commitment of up to $25 million in matching funds from the state for the Carlisle campus and a $10 million pledge from Penn State, that left $15 million to be raised by supporters of the Carlisle campus.

Fundraising continued from its original deadline of September 2005 because the goal had not been met. Then, with a limited local effort under way to save the law schoolÍs Trickett Hall, Penn State in May withdrew its proposal to construct a new building and agreed to renovate Trickett Hall at a cost of up to $30 million.

Pledges declined substantially when we announced that we would be preserving Trickett Hall rather than replacing it with new construction, law school Dean Philip McConnaughay says.

"Since that time, we have been engaged in conversations with major donors to discuss whether there still might be an option to which they would like to contribute that would include the preservation of Trickett Hall.

"These discussions are ongoing and we hope to conclude them within the next several days."

But whatever the result of the final tally, McConnaughay says hes confident in a good outcome for the law school in Carlisle.

"The difference will be reflected only in the amount of renovation in comparison to new construction," he says. "Either option will result in a highly suitable facility for the Dickinson School of Law."

Spanier mentioned the law school in his annual 'State of the University' address Friday to the Penn State Board of Trustees. He attributed the creation of a second campus to changes in the field of legal education that made it necessary for Penn State to rethink the way it operates its law school.

"The result is an unprecedented commitment to legal education that will result in a new law school building here at the University Park campus and a major renovation at the original site of The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle," Spanier said.

"The dual-campus approach will give our students greater exposure to interdisciplinary studies between the law school and other colleges. It will also open new opportunities for legal research and collaboration among our faculty."

Spanier added that the changes already have produced the strongest and most diverse applicant pool ever.

Dale Shughart, who was appointed to the seven-member Dickinson Law Association set up to monitor Penn StateÍs compliance with March 2005 dual campus agreement, says he doesnÍt know how the final plans will shape up for the Carlisle project.

"IÍm just assuming they're still working on it and perhaps lining up what theyÍre going to have available in terms of money," he says. "I would anticipate something fairly soon.î

Shortly after Penn State announced in May it would renovate Trickett Hall rather than tear it down and construct a new building on the Carlisle campus, Shughart expressed disappointment in a guest editorial in The Sentinel. He felt a new $50 million building would ensure the law schoolÍs future in Carlisle.

"I am convinced that Penn State could not walk away from a modern, state-of-the-art facility in Carlisle," he wrote. "On the other hand, a renovated Trickett could be amortized over the term of the ten-year contract and become expendable to Penn State."