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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass School of Law Approved

A long anticipated the UMass Board of Trustees has rendered decision about the state’s first public law school program. The Southern New England School of Law will henceforth be known as the University Of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law.

The vote was held on Dec 10th where all the board of trustees’ members weregiven the opportunity to express their opinions before voting on the proposal.

Prior to this meeting the proposal had been reviewed by two sub committees– Academic and Student Affairs and Administration and Finance. These committees were to determine the educational potential, and economic viability of such a project. They wanted to ensure that the same level of educational excellence associated with other UMass programs could be reached without breaking the bank.

The sub-committees decided after much scrutinized debating, voting, and still more debating, that indeed such program was viable.

Chairman of the Board Robert J. Manning said, “The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees has examined this proposal very thoroughly. The Academic and Financial components of this proposal have undergone rigorous review. After much study, it is clear that we can create a top-tier public law school without placing financial demands on the state or the University. Given these findings, we are proud to provide this legal-education opportunity to the sons and daughters of Massachusetts.”

The decision was based on the findings from those committees. The decision to form the public law school was made. There was little deliberation before the vote on the 10th; most Trustees were in agreement that this was a solid program.

Secretary of Education Reville said, “There is no good reason not to give them an affordable public law school option.”

University President Jack M. Wilson said this is a major step forward for public higher education in Massachusetts; the creation of a public law program will afford the citizens of the Commonwealth the same opportunity that exists in 44 other states.

“The University of Massachusetts exists to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth, and this action opens the doors of opportunity to students seeking an affordable, high-quality legal education,” said Wilson.

Still not all the Board Members were convinced this was the right move to make. Their reason for dissent was clear; currently the South New England School of law is not accredited by the American Bar Association. Opposing personnel of the plan, like Trustee Boyle, think that UMass’s “Obligation to raise this school to ABA accreditation standards.” would prove to be more expensive than anticipated.

UMass does have a plan to have the school accredited by 2013 and most Trustees’ were confident that cost would not be a concern.

“Chancellor of UMASS Dartmouth MacCormack has a proven track record of expanding enrollment, which, in turn, produces the funds that fuel academic excellence,” said President Wilson.

“Anyone who doubts our ability to create a first-rate public law program either hasn’t read the plan or doesn’t know Jean MacCormack,” said Wilson.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011