The Dickinson School of Law's alumni group opposes plans for the school to operate a second campus in State College. The group argues that the law school should maintain a single, upgraded campus in Carlisle. The General Alumni Association surveyed 753 graduates before approving by a 19-1 vote a resolution that rejects a compromise plan to open a second site at Penn State University's main campus, according to association President Luci Jankoski McClure.
"The suggestion of two campuses for [the law school] as a political compromise does not advance the ultimate goal of creating and maintaining a first-class law school whose mission is to prepare students for the practice of law," stated the resolution, which was approved Saturday
An upgraded Carlisle campus is the most convenient and cost- effective plan, the association said in a letter sent Tuesday to LeRoy S. Zimmerman, chairman of the law school board of governors, and others.
Penn State administrators first proposed moving the entire school -- Pennsylvania's oldest law school -- from its lifelong home in Carlisle. But at a meeting in June, the law school's board voted to study the option of operating campuses in both Carlisle and State College.
Penn State, however, has said that if the two-campus plan fails, it wants the option to close the Carlisle campus. Dickinson and Penn State agreed when they merged in 2000 that the law school would always remain in Carlisle.
Supporters of a law facility in State College say millions of dollars in maintenance and building renovations would be needed to keep the school in Carlisle. Moving to State College could bolster the school's reputation and allow students to take advantage of a wide variety of joint-degree programs, they said.
Opponents say the Penn State Harrisburg campus already offers joint-degree programs. In addition, they said, joint degrees offered at law schools on other large university campuses are pursued by only 3 percent of students. They say State College would be unable to replicate hundreds of federal, state and local internships available to law students in the midstate.
They note the move would deliver an economic blow to Carlisle.