Saturday, November 15, 2003

We Didn't Mean for Our True Motives to Be Seen Already, Penn State Prez Says

Centre Daily Times
(c) Copyright 2003, Centre Daily Times. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

News of law school move premature

By Gwenn Miller

UNIVERSITY PARK Penn State President Graham Spanier said the news that the Dickinson School of Law could move to State College from Carlisle was "inappropriately" shared with the news media and that such a decision is not imminent.

Despite reports that a decision could be made as soon as next week, Spanier said no such action will be taken until several options have been explored.

Spanier addressed the potential move at Penn State's board of trustees meeting Friday, a day after it was widely reported that Dickinson's dean, Philip McCon-naughay, was recommending the relocation of the law school.

The Sentinel of Carlisle cited a confidential memo McConnaughay wrote to members of the school's board of governors in preparation for its meeting next Friday and Saturday.

The decision to leave Carlisle will ultimately rest with the board of governors.

"We're really at the beginning of a discussion," said Spanier, who plans to attend next week's meeting.

Harrisburg attorney G. Thomas Miller, who sits on Dickinson's board of governors, said he would "absolutely not" vote to move the school. He said Dickinson had a long, successful tradition in Carlisle. Furthermore, he said, the area provides necessary practical opportunities.

Miller said there were many law firms in the Carlisle and Harrisburg areas as well as government internship opportunities.

"I think those opportunities would not be so widely available in the Centre County area," Miller said.

Spanier dismissed the idea that the area could not provide necessary practical experience.

"Centre County is one of the growth areas in Pennsylvania," Spanier said. "The university itself provides so many areas for internships."

Trustee and first-year Dickinson Law School student Nicole Lobaugh said McConnaughay has worked hard on the report and it was a shame it was brought to public attention before it could be discussed.

Friday's meeting included a presentation on growth in enrollment at Penn State and the university's ability to maintain a plan of controlled and modest growth. Spanier said the possibility of eventually having Dickinson's students at University Park would not represent a major issue at a university the size of Penn State.

"It's 500 and some students," he said. "It's less than 1 percent of the university's overall enrollment."

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