July 1, 2012
Texas A&M To Buy The Law School At Texas Wesleyan University
Texas A&M University is buying the law school at Texas Wesleyan University’s Fort Worth Campus for $25 million. The change in operation is planned for the 2013-2014 academic year pending approvals. The staff and the 75 full and part time faculty of the existing school will join Texas A&M and the new school will be called the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University. The purchase agreement calls for A&M to lease the existing facility for 40 years at rent of $2.5.
One member of the legislature is not thrilled. Multiple sources quote Steve Ogden, Chair of the Texas Senate Finance Committee as saying:
“A&M is sending out a conflicting message that they are going to have to work on in the Legislature because all we ever hear is how broke they are and how they are going to have to raise tuition to keep going, but yet every week there is a new announcement that they are going to spend tens of millions of dollars that in my opinion have very little to do with their core responsibility, which is to provide a world class education to 45,000 undergraduates. While they are out there empire-building, they are going to have a hard time explaining to the Legislature that they need more money.”
The University has a funding commitment to bring a federal bio-research facility to the Bryan-College Station campus. The legislature doesn’t have a say in approving the transfer but it does provide funding for A&M. Permission must come from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the American Bar Association.
The School of Law at Texas Wesleyan is not ranked by U.S. News as it falls into the bottom tier of schools. The change in affiliation would likely improve the ranking as a Texas A&M diploma would bring a bit more prestige to its graduates. The “new” school will compete with Southern Methodist University and a new University of North Texas law school which will open in August, 2014.
Much of the press that covers this story gives a positive light to the move. They note the rivalry between graduates of the University of Texas and of Texas A&M which can generate some friction in the approval process. Nonetheless, there are no significant caveats raised so far that would seem to derail the deal, but who knows. I’ll say this: what a difference it makes when the more elite entity takes over the operation of a law school. This is the exact opposite of what is going on with Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University. The change is mostly welcomed in Texas but feared in New Jersey. Life is strange sometimes. [MG]
I am used to seeing schools taking on a name of a doner, but buy a whole school with the entire operation, that is rare. A feat like that is an enourmous project that requires cultural integration, change of carriculum, Integration of IT support Los Angeles function, if that is where the school is... the list goes on.
Posted by: IT Consulting | Jul 4, 2012 11:39:04 PM
Can anyone say MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (as in cash cow)? So, Texas A&M doesn't have the money - now. Once they buy the law school, they'll have it (in the form of high law school tuition) in spades and will spend it all with reckless abandon (like darn near every other university has done to their law schools).
Posted by: Bret | Jul 2, 2012 11:30:47 AM