Tennessee Higher Education Commission rejects MTSU’s plan for law school

WPLN Nashville Public Radio 

Middle Tennessee State University’s plans to open a law school have been rejected by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, who voted 8-5 today against a proposal to transfer Indiana-based Valparaiso Law School to MTSU’s campus.

“THEC’s decision denies a legal education to Nashville-area students financially unable to attend an expensive, nearby accredited private institution or unable to relocate to a public institution hundreds of miles away in Knoxville or Memphis,” MTSU President Sidney McPhee said in a statement. 

WPLN Nashville Public Radio reports:

The commission looked at these criteria, among others, in making the decision: Alignment with state master plan and institutional mission, sustainable demand, program costs and revenue and no unnecessary duplication. The commission also solicited comments from expert legal reviewers.

Based on comments and these criteria, the commission denied MTSU’s proposal. The biggest critics of the transfer came from lawyers and law schools in Memphis and Knoxville, where the state’s only other public law schools are located.
Comments generally regarded concerns of a watered down law school market for the state, since Nashville is already home to three law schools — Belmont University, Vanderbilt University and Nashville School of Law. Another school in the city, many said, would take away from other schools’ ability to compete, even if it’s a public option.

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