Charleston School of Law graduates say school leaders are dodging their questions on a possible sale to InfiLaw System, but they are aggressively pursuing other ways to get the information they need.
And as soon as they get it, they’re ready to take action.
The school’s Alumni Board held the town hall meeting at the Charleston Music Hall Tuesday. The group hoped law school leaders would attend the meeting and address alumni concerns. But, Robert Carr, one of the law school’s founders and a member of its board, said in an email to alumni that he would not attend the meeting because it was a busy time and he couldn’t “bring all the pieces together to provide the satisfying meeting you deserve.”
Alumni Board president John Robinson, a 2007 graduate who works at the McDowell & Robinson law firm, said board members are doing research on appropriate paths of action. “We want to avoid rash and uninformed action,” he said, “but we are prepared to act to protect the quality of our degrees and the reputation of our school.”
Students and alumni have expressed concerns about their degrees losing value if the school is sold to InfiLaw, which owns three for-profit law schools.
The Alumni Board has formed committees to gather information, Robinson said. And most alumni are not supportive of the possible sale.“Based on the information we have, the overwhelming sentiment of students and alumni we have spoken to is opposition to the eventual transfer of ownership to InfiLaw,” he said. “We’re not going to do anything rash, but at the same time, we’re not going to sit back and let this happen.”
Law school leaders late last month announced that they had entered into a management services agreement with InfiLaw; such arrangements sometimes are the first step in a sale. But since then, they have refused to answer questions about whether a sale is in the works.
State Rep. Stephen Goldfinch, a Georgetown Republican and a graduate of the school, said he thinks other options are possible. For instance, he said, two public colleges have expressed interest in taking over the law school.
Kris Delorme, a second-year law student, also attended the meeting. When he first heard about the sale, he said, he felt deceived and betrayed. But some other students and professors have told him that the sale likely wouldn’t be complete by the time he graduates. So he’s a bit less worried about it.
He wants to learn more about other options for the school, he said. And he thinks it possibly could be run as a nonprofit organization.
Lindsay Johnson, another graduate, said she thinks the alumni should look for other groups besides InfiLaw that might buy the school. “It’s obvious the founders are done with us.”
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.