Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dickinson revisiting law school at PSU; Board hopeful of reviving plan for two campuses

Centre Daily Times
(c) Copyright 2004, Centre Daily Times. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dickinson revisiting law school at PSU; Board hopeful of reviving plan for two campuses

By Anne Danahy

The possibility of a Penn State Dickinson School of Law campus at University Park is under discussion again, and talk of merging the Carlisle law school with neighboring Dickinson College has been shelved. Chairman H. Laddie Montague Jr. said the Dickinson School of Law's board of governors voted Saturday to allow him to pick a committee of board members to resume negotiations to put together a plan for two law school campuses -- one in Carlisle and one at University Park.

The idea appeared dead in August, when the board of governors voted to table a proposal to building a second campus at University Park, and instead urged Penn State to focus on upgrading the Carlisle campus.

Penn State President Graham Spanier said the university viewed the vote as a rejection of its offer to spend $60 million to build a law school campus in State College and spend $10 million toward upgrades at the Carlisle campus.

In September, Penn State issued a statement saying Penn State and the law school were discussing ending their affiliation, and raised the possibility that the law school would form a partnership with Dickinson College.

On Monday, Montague said that idea is no longer under consideration. Instead, the focus is on repairing relations with Penn State.

"I told everyone I wanted to be chairman so I could get this relationship back in shape, back on board," said Montague, who was elected chairman Oct. 15. "That's what we're trying to do."

Montague said there is no timetable for developing or proceeding with a two-campus plan, but hopes it will move ahead quickly. "It's certainly not a done deal," he said, but added that "both the board of governors and the university have their minds set to give it a try."

University spokesman Steve MacCarthy said the administration needs to study the proposal before commenting on it and will be doing that soon.

The law school completed a merger with Penn State in 2000, but the law school's board of governors retained control over the school's location. A proposal by Penn State to move the school to University Park, and the subsequent plan for a dual-campus law school drew protests from the Carlisle community, which has been home to the school for 170 years.

University officials have said a University Park campus would help the school attract faculty, boost the school's stature and deal with a lack of building space in Carlisle.

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