Thursday, June 10, 2004

Resident's View : Is moving law school the best option? - Questions Spanier's integrity and ethics

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

Thursday, June 10, 2004

My View Is moving law school the best option?

By Anne G. Miller

The Greater Harrisburg/Carlisle economic, academic and legislative groups as well as members of the law school governing board have spoken out and mobilized forces to oppose the move of Dickinson School of Law to State College. The local newspapers have also tried to keep the public aware of the tactics Penn State President Graham Spanier and Dickinson Dean Philip McConnaughay have exercised with the hope of convincing Dickinson's board of governors to authorize the move.

The board is expected to consider the matter this weekend and vote on Saturday.

It is puzzling, however, that we have heard nothing as to the reactions of the State College community or the Penn State Board of Trustees. It is highly unlikely that Spanier would continue to "sweeten the pot" without the tacit approval of his board.

If silence bids consent, we can assume that the Penn State board also disregards: the intent of the merger and the ethical responsibility to abide by it; the opposition opinion of alumni, community, DSL applicants and supporters, including the governor; and the adverse impact on the Carlisle community, which has supported this tax-exempt institution since its inception 170 years ago.

What about the State College taxpayers? Do they support Penn State's uncontrolled growth and the accompanying impact on the environment and the infrastructure? Are their natural resources unlimited and owned by Penn State?

I think water supply could also be an issue in the State College area.

Water availability and pollution are in direct proportion to the number of sources using it: more buildings, more roads, more run-off, more kids, more effluent, more pollution and loss at taxpayers' expense.

Spanier apparently has countless sources of money.

Does he also have unlimited access to the myriad state and local permits attendant to the construction of his Taj Mahal ($60 million) law school in University Park?

In addition to the infrastructure required for the "world-class" law school promised by Spanier, can the State College community support the additional students and their accompanying needs for housing, parking, schools, employment, health care and other services?

Are the economy and loyalty of the State College taxpayers dependent on the university to the degree that adverse criticism or action is prohibited?

It is a sad commentary when "little money, little law" controls. Is it acceptable for those entrusted with articulating and enforcing high ethical standards to ignore all of the foregoing factors in their dealings?

This is especially egregious when a law school, the training ground for future defenders of the law, is at stake.

Spanier was a party to the merger and knows the intent of the merger, which was to support and enhance Dickinson's stature at the Carlisle location that has served its students with great success for many years.

Is the president of this tax-exempt institution also exempt from ethical commitment and integrity?

Anne G. Miller is a resident of Dillsburg.

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