Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The End of UC Hastings College of Law?

This is pretty shocking, though if Governor Schwarzenegger follows through, one assumes there will simply be a steep increase in tuition--unless, of course, the Hastings Trust pulls all the money (what percent of the budget comes from the trust is unclear).  California, home to nearly a dozen unaccredited law schools, certainly has law schools that should probably go under, but Hastings equally obviously isn't one of them.  One assumes that they'll weather this crisis. 

UPDATE:  A colleague at Hastings forwards an e-mail that Dean Newton sent to the Hastings community, with the latest encouraging developments:

I'm delighted to announce that the budget conference committee voted unanimously to restore Hastings budget so that we will now be in substantial parity with UC.  If this decision stands, we will still receive a budget cut, but nothing so substantial as 100% of our state support, as recommended by the Governor.  David Seward was at the conference committee and reported that several members of the committee spoke about the calls and emails they had received, about Hastings' unique history as California's oldest law school, and the inequity of singling Hastings out for disparate treatment.

At the appropriate time, we will list all those who should be thanked in the Hastings community -- many of you have reached out with suggestions and offers of help and we are all very grateful.  In particular, Leo Martinez (who testified masterfully at the hearings last week), David Seward, David Jung, Jackie Ortega, and the Alumni Center (especially Nicole Sadler and Shino Nomiya) worked heroically to get us where we are today.  In addition, the outpouring of support we have received from alumni and the legal community has been energizing and heartwarming.

On the other hand, the budget crisis is not over.  The conference committee stated they may have to revisit the higher education budget later in this cycle, including support for Hastings.  In addition, even if the legislature continues to support restoration of a substantial part of Hastings' support, the Governor has the ability to countermand their recommendation.  So it is important not to relax our vigilance.  We will continue to reach out to those who can help us and work on educating the legislature and the Governor's office. 

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