Scott Summers, an Northern Illinois University School of Law graduate, is running for Treasurer of Illinois. What's the first item on his Green Party Agenda? Shutting down two of the three public law schools in Illinois--including his alma mater. It's not out of pure spite, either. He has Green Party motivations for this radical move--saving money:
We have three public law schools: University of Illinois (U of I), Southern Illinois University (SIU), and Northern Illinois University (NIU). And we have a glut of unemployed lawyers. Has the time finally come to slim down to just U of I for public law? (Full disclosure: I’m an NIU law graduate. And I remain very grateful for the tip-top legal education I received there. Personally, I’d hate to see the place close. But I’m counting beans today, not wallowing in sentiment.)
Ditto medical schools. U of I has four campuses and additional satellites. SIU has two campuses. They do wonderful work. They are cherished assets of their host communities. But — but — but — can we afford them all? So how do we make these horribly difficult — and, I freely admit, politically dead-on-arrival (at least for the present) — public policy choices? We have to develop assessment and implementation mechanisms where we carefully evaluate our public needs — and then collectively/figuratively hold hands and jump.
"Up until 35 years ago, he pointed out, the state had a single public law school at the University of Illinois. We got by just fine with that," he said.
And how does SIU feel about Mr. Summers' plans?
Its spokesman said that eliminating a law school would result in "a lot of other students applying to the U of I," which could be problematic.Problematic, why? Because U of I will only admit highly qualified and motivated students to become future Illinois lawyers? Oh, and as a result, there will be fewer attorneys? And because there are fewer attorneys, they might stand a chance of finding employment in their home state? Darn. That blows, SIU. Blows for you.
I am not sure how many Illinois BIDER readers there are out there, but for what it's worth, I fully endorse Mr. Summers' candidacy for treasurer. I don't even care what other items he has on his agenda, I can tell he has his head on straight.
SCOTT SUMMERS FOR TREASURER OF ILLINOIS! GOOOOOOOOOOOO GREEN PARTY!
I'm actually not a card carrying member, but may consider it now.