Carlisle is abuzz with impassioned discussion about the fate of Dickinson School of Law. As one second-year student said to me, "Your property values and these businesses are not my responsibility." Aye, there's the rub. When is a town responsible for an institution, and when is an institution responsible for a town, if not after 169 years?
The same student had strong opinions about the fiduciary responsibility of Dickinson Law's board to its students and the school. But what does that responsibility entail? Forcing the school into the "top tier" at the expense of central Pennsylvania's residents? Bankrupting a town of over 18,000 inhabitants to enhance what many believe is already a stellar reputation? Teaching law students to uphold the law while overlooking what is just and right?
Ironically, Penn State's Web site discloses its three-part mission based on its land-grant tradition of, "teaching, research and public service. This mission continues to guide the university in all that it does for Pennsylvania, the nation, and humankind." Let us hope that as the Dickinson Law board addresses Penn State's proposal, they speak out about the workable solutions that exist right here in the Harrisburg area, and remind the university of its duty to the state, not just to State College.