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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Dickinson Law Construction Starts, Yet Student Legal Services Missing

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the website of “Safeguarding Traditions Of Penn State,” which was the precursor to Safeguard Old State. It appears here for posterity.


As reported by The Daily Collegian this past week, ground was broken on Thursday for the Dickinson School of Law that will begin functioning at Penn State’s University Park campus as early as 2009. While the need for the law school to have a presence at the main campus is debatable, the $110 million dollar cost is for certain.

According to frequent STOP guest columnist Veblen on his blog, Left of Centre, Penn State is struggling to continue raising the millions that are required for President Spanier’s never ending capital construction. “Via Inside Higher Ed comes news from Bloomberg that Penn State,” said Veblen, “has recently floated a $170 million bond issue to finance the construction of the Dickinson Law School building at University Park.

“According to Inside Higher Ed, Penn State was amongst the top three university borrowers last week. The other two are the University of California and University of Colorado. Remember, when the University borrows for capitol projects it uses tuition dollars to repay the loans.”

So while Penn State continues to borrow and borrow and borrow, racking up nearly $1 billion in overall debt in the process, students and what’s in their best interest is neglected by Dr. Spanier. For instance, remember when Penn State fired student legal attorney Mr. Jose Texidor?

STOP interviewed Texidor in the fall about what he did for Penn State students, and The Daily Collegian wrote a number of stories and editorials. Penn State fired Texidor, leaving students without any free legal services as we have enjoyed for years and years, and can only tell us to wait until 2009 or 2010 until, maybe, just maybe, we can get pro bono help from non-lawyer students at the Dickinson School of Law.

Sometimes the way business is conducted here is just repulsive.

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a $170 million bond issue to finance the construction of the Dickinson Law School building at University Park-groundbreaking is tomorrow-and a new student health center. According to Inside Higher Ed, Penn State was amongst the top three university borrowers last week.

Tom, let’s be careful. The amount of money Penn State borrowed for the law school is $60 million which will be used to build the University Park building. Of the remainder of the $110 million, $10 million comes from the University-it is not clear if this is borrowed money or money the University has on hand-$25 million comes from the Commonwealth, i.e. the Pennsylvania is borrowing the money- and $15 million comes from private donations. The borrowed money which the University does not use for the law school building will be used for a new student health center. Things are bad enough without intentionally or unintentionally exaggerating the problem.
Perhaps you should update the post to clarify matters.

I have two related posts up at Left of Centre. The first tries to clarify this one. The second concerns the University in artfully hiding its debt service in its online budget.

Speaking of legal services, has there been an administrative response to the Hyatt Legal Plans proposal?

See also:

The Collegian story and full video of the presentation. (If I got my html tags right.)


I’m glad you’re keeping this issue in the spotlight, Tom. “Disgust” is the proper reaction to the firing of Jose Texidor and the subsequent dearth of University-provided legal advice for Penn State undergraduates. To my knowledge, this total vacuum exists nowhere else within the Big Ten.

Penn Staters everywhere should be appalled, and University officials should be ashamed.

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