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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Law School Plans Surface Again

UMass Law School Plans Surface Again

The UMass Board of Trustees is contemplating a merger that, according to the Boston Herald, would create the sole public law school in Massachusetts.

UMass Board of Trustees chairman and Dartmouth campus alumnus James Karam is backing a merger of the UMass Dartmouth campus with Southern New England School of Law.

A representative from UMass Dartmouth says that current talks are focusing on the financial implications of such a union, like improving Dartmouth’s existing law school facilities, as well as how the venture will effect students on the whole.

“We’re looking at the financial issues right now and what it comes down to is does an expanded relationship ultimately serve all of our students?” John Hoey, spokesman for the UMD campus and formerly of the UMass President’s Office, told the Herald.

The Herald was unable to confirm whether proposals for the law school will be finalized prior to the Nov. 10 meeting of the Board of Trustees, being held at UMass Boston.

The SNE School of Law is not accredited by the American Bar Association.

Despite skepticism from some members of area law schools who oppose the allocation of state funds for a public institution in a state where many legal higher education programs exist, supporters within the UMass system feel the expenditure would be worth the creation of further alumni support.

Three years ago, a $12.5 million proposal in which UMass would purchase Southern New England School of Law was unable receive legislative backing.

But the New Bedford Standard-Times, quoting anonymous sources, wrote that there will be no need of legislative backing this time around, since “no money is involved in the deal.”

The Standard-Times noted that Jean MacCormack, chancellor of UMass Dartmouth and a former administrator at UMass Boston, was supportive of a similar plan. “I’m optimistic because I think the commonwealth needs a public law school,” she told the Standard-Times earlier this year.

Out With the Old, In With the New

The Boston Globe reports that six months after the faculty around campuses in the UMass system were decimated by budget cuts to their smallest contingent in years, staffs are being revitalized.

According to the Globe, UMass Boston has replaced around 50 of the more than 100 professors who took early retirement as a result of decreased spending. The new faculty still placed it behind the other campus in terms of professors replaced.

Similarly, UMass Dartmouth has replaced 43 of the 53 professors

Lowell, having previously lost 108 faculty staff, led the count with 85 new professors.

Amherst, having been dealt the resignation and retirement of 106 professors over the last three years, has hired 69 more and plans to increase that number by 70 faculty by next fall.

In spite of this surge of new staff, financial constraints are sometimes yielding non-tenured professors who are paid less, but also are less inclined to be accessible on campus.

Amherst campus’ 15 percent non-tenured faculty is the least of those colleges in the UMass system.

Quote of Note

“We have to be competitive with other universities of our kind… Getting enough resources in place to support that faculty is another piece.”-UMass President Jack Wilson, speaking to the Amherst campus faculty senate on “Faculty Renewal and the Structure of the Faculty in the 21st Century,” according to the Republican.