Saturday, March 07, 2009

Can Carlisle compete?

The point is....Carlisle shouldn't have to compete.  Carlisle is where Penn State PROMISED the Dickinson School of Law of Penn State University would remain forever.  First they broke the promise about the name  (it is NOT Penn State University Dickinson School of Law), and then they broke the promise about location.  They basically lied to STEAL DSL's accreditation.  It was the plan from day one.

March 07, 2009 12:00 am  •  

The jury is still out among alumni on what a dual campus could mean for the future of a Dickinson School of Law presence in Carlisle.
Those interviewed were cautiously optimistic that Penn State would follow through on its promise to maintain a viable law school both here and in State College.
“I’m waiting to see … I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” said Greg Abeln, Class of 1981, who practices law in Carlisle. “I am apprehensive about the future. It remains to be seen.”
He sees the dual campus as a quid pro quo arrangement Penn State made to appease the public outcry almost seven years ago after word surfaced of a proposal to move Dickinson School of Law entirely to State College.
For now, Abeln said, he is open to giving Penn State the benefit of doubt. He noted the dual campus has yet to operate at its full potential because the project is still underway to renovate and expand the Trickett Hall building in Carlisle.
When asked if there is cause for concern, Abeln said, “Absolutely. It seems the thrust right now is towards the creation of a new law school at State College.”
It seems the bulk of resources so far has gone toward the construction and start-up of the Lewis Katz building at University Park, which opened in January, Abeln said.
He wonders if putting the construction priority on the State College site has hurt long-term prospects of future law school applicants choosing Carlisle over State College.
Carlisle-based students currently take classes at the former Advantica building on the Carlisle Pike in Middlesex Township. Penn State plans to resume classes at an expanded and renovated Trickett Hall site in January 2010.
“Which campus would you want to attend?” Abeln asked. “An ultra-modern building in the middle of the Penn State campus or an old building out on the Pike?”
In giving applicants a choice of campus, Abeln asks, how can the traditional small town setting of Tricket Hall compete with the educational facilities of University Park?
His concern is that, in a matter of years, more applicants are going to choose State College and, sooner or later, this possible downturn in requests for Carlisle could prompt Penn State to close the Trickett Hall site for economic reasons.
“That’s what I’m afraid of … but again, I could be wrong,” Abeln said.
Cumberland County GOP chairman Victor Stabile, a 1982 DSL graduate and practicing attorney, is president of its Capital Area Alumni Chapter.
“Right now, the dual campus is in its formative stages,” Stabile said. “I’m optimistic about the Penn State commitment.”
Stabile noted the capital investment Penn State made in the renovation and expansion of the Trickett Hall site. The $50 million project includes $10 million from the university, $15 million from private philanthropy and $25 million in matching funds from the state.
“The dual campus would only succeed if a strong and equal commitment is made to the Carlisle campus so it remains a genuine law school in central Pennsylvania,” Stabile said. “That means students who want to attend Carlisle have to be permitted to stay in Carlisle. That is the point where we are at and what has yet to be seen.”
Tensions have settled down since Penn State put the dual campus concept in place, Stabile said.
“There is a long history behind this move. I would like to think everybody is now supportive of this idea,” he said.
He believes the ranks have closed and most alumni want to see the dual campus succeed.
“We can only be optimistic,” said attorney James D. Flower Jr., also a DSL alumni. “The dual campus will have to play out over time. It could work if Penn State remains committed to the law school in Carlisle.”
Flower agrees with Stabile that the investment in the Trickett Hall project is evidence of a commitment by Penn State.
“I understand it will be comparable,” he said, “as attractive and up to date as the law school in State College.”

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