Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

University Of North Carolina Law School's Civil Rights Center Closes Following Board Of Governors Vote

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Legal Times, Civil Rights Center at UNC Law School Shut Down:

University leaders on Friday voted to strip the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law of its ability to litigate cases.

The move caps a months-long fight between the predominately Republican board of governors for the University of North Carolina and supporters of the center, who say the board’s push was motivated by politics.

Proponents of the litigation ban said that it was inappropriate for a public university entity to sue local governments when taxpayers must foot the bill, and that the scope of its work fell outside the university’s mission. Those who opposed the ban argued that litigation is a key resource in the fight for civil rights, and that the center’s work is a public service and helps educate future lawyers.

It’s the second time in two years that the UNC board of governors has taken aim at a law school center. That body in 2015 voted to defund the school’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity.

With Friday’s vote, the board banned all centers within the university system from engaging in litigation, although the law school’s Center for Civil Rights is the only one that currently bring cases in court. Law clinics are exempt from the ban.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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This is a sensible vote. This center is just a wing of violent leftist activists and it was costing us, the taxpayers, money.

Posted by: Joe Anuva | Sep 13, 2017 9:10:34 AM

In a fight with the state, a public university will almost always lose. The big mistake here, as I see it from very afar, was that the situation was allowed to fester and degenerate for far too long. It is a shame that the law school wasn't able to transform the center into something less of a lightening rod after the first warning shots were fired several years ago. Running a center such as that one, in a state like North Carolina, would seem to require a level of rhetorical self-restraint that the center's actual long-time leader apparently lacked. A smoother political operator would perhaps have been able to steer the center away from the shoals of the state's nasty politics, but now its too late.

Posted by: Jason Yackee | Sep 12, 2017 1:54:52 PM