Friday, September 08, 2006

Damage Control

Yesterday the CDT ran a story on Penn State eliminating the free legal consultant for students. Today Penn State begins its damage control over this move.
The recent cut of Penn State's legal consultant position may be replaced by resources from Penn State Dickinson School of Law, which transferred to University Park this semester, Penn State spokesman Tysen Kendig said.
One should not take away from this that the legal consultant was eliminated because there were plans afoot to replace the paid position with resources from Dickinson School of Law. This was clearly a hurried response.

Philip McConnaughay, dean of the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, said the school plans to explore the possibility of establishing a variety of law clinics at University Park, including a clinic to meet student needs. He indicated that he would attempt to discuss the matter with Vicky Triponey, vice president of student affairs. [..]

McConnaughay said though he has minimal knowledge of the cases Texidor handled, he thinks the idea of the law school assuming the responsibility for such a large body of work is "impractical," but did offer enthusiasm about the possibility of the law school operating in a similar capacity.

"There could be a direct connection between what we do and what this service traditionally provided," he said.

Let us review. The DSL has not even explored the possibility yet of replacing the legal consultant. The Dean of the school has not discussed the matter, as of yet, with Student Affairs. Finally, the Dean has very little knowledge about what the legal council did and doubts that the school can actually pick up the work load.

My guess is that McConnaughay was told late yesterday that DSL was about to be used in a pr campaign to counter any bad publicity generated by the elimination of the consultant position. And this is what you get on short notice.

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