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CSOL: The End Is Nigh




|| By FITSNEWS || Faculty members at the Charleston School of Law (CSOL) are running out of time to keep their jobs as the school spirals toward closure, sources close to the institution tell FITS.  In fact they were informed of the dire straits in which the institution currently finds itself at a meeting this week.

“Jaws dropped,” one faculty member told us.  “I think it’s finally sinking in.”

What happened?  Well, a deal was struck nearly two years ago for CSOL to be acquired by InfiLaw – which operates three other law schools across the country.  However perpetual meddling in this private transaction has resulted in the company pulling back.

That means the school is unlikely to remain open … and faculty members are soon likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.

“They’re dust in the wind – unless they get behind InfiLaw and pretty damned quickly,” our source said.  “They keep tilting at windmills that some sort of nonprofit savior or knight in shining armor is going to rescue them, but that’s just not in the cards.”

The owners of the school reportedly met with faculty and staff this week – telling them that unless a change of heart on the InfiLaw deal was quick and forthcoming, an announcement next week would be made regarding the admittance of a new class of students in the fall.

So yeah … it’s getting serious.

We’ve said all along the CSOL-Infilaw deal should go through – that government has no business blocking a transaction between two private companies.

Unfortunately meddling by one of the school’s former owners, Ed Westbook, combined with continued recalcitrance from faculty and students has gummed up the works.  Last year, staff at the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE) recommended InfiLaw be granted a license to run the school.  Then state attorney general Alan Wilson said there was no reason for the CHE to deny a license to InfiLaw for that purpose – the last major hurdle before expected approval of a transfer of the school’s accreditation.

Of course that’s when CHE commissioners indicated they wouldn’t back the staff recommendation – prompting InfiLaw to pull its application, suggesting that it would refile at a later date.

Pro-free market lawmakers in the S.C. General Assembly rejected the CHE’s reversal.

“We understand that some parties are trying to use the licensing process to stop the sale of the Charleston School of law to InfiLaw in order to clear the way for it to merge with a state-supported school,” the lawmakers wrote last year. “We do not believe it is appropriate for the Commission to interfere with a private transaction under any circumstances, especially these.”

Amen to that …

In recent weeks, though, InfiLaw has backed away from the current ownership of the school after continued opposition from faculty and students.

The losers?  Faculty, staff and students … and the local economy.  The winners?  Nobody …

“These pie-in-the-sky professors and students have been willing to throw a good law school under the bus and cause Charleston to lose an economic engine that pumps $40 million into the local economy just because they don’t like InfiLaw,” our source said. “They need to face the reality that if they don’t start supporting this deal, the school will probably close – and a lot of law professors will be looking for jobs.”

Hard to argue with that assessment …