Following up on my previous posts (links below): News & Observer, The GOP Crafts a Message to UNC, With a Chain Saw:
The state Senate took a chain saw to the University of North Carolina law school this month, cutting nearly a third of the state appropriation for one of the nation’s oldest law schools.
The official explanation from the Republican-controlled Senate is that we have too many lawyers in North Carolina. But not even the teenaged pages in the Senate believe that.
The GOP is sending a message: It thinks the law school faculty is liberal leaning, it doesn’t like the Center for Civil Rights, and it particularly doesn’t like Gene Nichol. ...
Nichol has been a repeated target of Republicans. Nichol, a UNC law school faculty member, has a talent for getting under the GOP’s skin with his sharp-edged newspaper columns accusing the Republican legislature of sucking up to the rich and piling on the poor.
First the UNC Board of Governors — appointed by the legislature — killed the law school’s mostly privately financed Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity that Nichol headed.
Because Nichol is a tenured professor, the legislature could not go after his job. So they did the next best thing; they went after the UNC law school budget.
In 2015, the Senate cut $3 million from the law school budget. Democratic Sen. Mike Woodard called it the “Gene Nichol Transfer Amendment.” The money was restored in the House.
This month, the Senate was at it again, this time cutting $4 million, which represents a 30 percent cut. The measure is now being considered by the House. ...
Even without the proposed cuts, the law school is struggling to keep up with its sister schools. In 1990, U.S. News and World Report ranked the UNC law school the 20th best in the country, while in 2017 it was ranked 39th. ...
The law school is still rated highly by its peers (19th) and by lawyers and judges (20th), but is now 104th in the country in what North Carolina spends for it law students and 157th in scholarship money, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In other words, the law school’s reputation is still intact, but the school is not being funded as a top tier institution.
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