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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, January 23, 2017

Charlotte Law School Rejects Feds' Demand That It Close Immediately And Let Teach-Out Partner Florida Coastal Take Over Classes; Hopes For 'Fairer Hearing' From Trump Administration

Charlotte DOECharlotte Observer, Details Emerge in Nasty Fight Between Feds and Charlotte School of Law:

Charlotte School of Law said this week it rejected a government agreement that would have restored millions of dollars in federal loans because the terms betrayed its students’ futures.

On the same day of that statement, a group of students filed the third class-action lawsuit accusing the school of already doing similar damage.

The contradictory allegations add to the deepening uncertainty swirling around the uptown school as it prepares to reopen Monday. No one knows for sure how many students will show up. ...

On Wednesday, the education department accused the school of reneging on a deal that would have restored some of the lost student loans. ...

On Thursday, the school fought back. In a statement to student, faculty and alumni, school President Chidi Ogene and Dean Jay Conison accused the Department of Education of “grossly” misrepresenting the loan negotiations and of making demands that would “deprive our students of the ability to continue their legal education” School leaders allege that the government’s plan they rejected would have allowed third-year students graduating in May to get their diplomas, but it would have left the academic paths of the other students in jeopardy. ...

In dispute between the two sides are the terms of a so-called “teach out” plan, which federal law requires to protect students when their school is closing. To restore students loans, the Department of Education apparently demanded that Charlotte School of Law close immediately and allow its teach-out partner, Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, to take over instruction. Charlotte School of Law refused. “We are disappointed for CSL students and remain hopeful that CSL will choose a path that mitigates harm for those impacted by CSL’s misconduct,” said Ted Mitchell, the department’s under secretary of education.

Ogene and Conison, however, say the government’s plan would violate North Carolina law by requiring a Florida school to take over an educational program licensed by the state. A teach-out plan could only work “if we remained an active institution ... albeit under the supervision of the teach-out school,” the school leaders said. They accuse government leaders of “pushing on with its goal of precipitously closing (CSL) without regard for the harm that would cause our students.”

They said they hope to get a fairer hearing when the Trump administration takes over the department.

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