The Cumberland County commissioners urged the redevelopment authority Thursday to reject any waiver or amendment to a 2008 agreement that Penn State Dickinson School of Law operate a three-year program through 2025.
The law school’s dean, Philip McConnaughay, promoted a plan in September to move all first-year law students to Penn State’s University Park campus as a way for the law school to remain economically viable. Many in the community questioned the plan, saying it would undermine the viability of the Carlisle campus and harm the larger community.
That restructuring of the law school programs would require a change to a 2008 between Dickinson and the Cumberland County Redevelopment Authority for the law school to receive $25 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds for campus renovations. The agreement calls for Dickinson to continue its three-year law school in Carlisle through 2025.
In a letter to McConnaughay, the commissioners outlined their position and requested the law school form a community-based advisory group consisting of law school alumni and other stakeholders to examine all options to keep the school in Carlisle.
“While we appreciate many of the points you’ve made relative to the current state of the economy and the sag in law school applications nationwide, we have come to the conclusion that alternatives other than eliminating the first year Juris Doctor program at the Carlisle campus should be explored,” the commissioners wrote in the letter.
McConnaughay, who was traveling today, was not immediately available for comment.
Click here to read the letter from the commissioners to the redevelopment authority chairman.
Click here to read the commissioners’ letter to McConnaughay.