Crossing the Bar

When Dade's Chamber of Commerce considered backing FIU instead of FAMU in the fight for a new state law school, they figured it would be a walk in the park

Both sides are arming themselves for battle by lining up legislators and school allies to support their causes. A bill supporting the re-establishment of a law school at FAMU already has been filed in the legislature, and the issue will definitely come up again in the spring. FAMU's offensive, however, may be undermined by the fact that its supporters disagree on the best location -- Central or South Florida. "We all have the central theme that the law school should be under the A&M umbrella," says McCrary, who doesn't feel the division will hamper his school's cause. "And we all agree that we don't need another public law school in North Florida."

FIU advocates say there's no disagreement among them as to where a new school should be located and who should run it. Steve Sauls, chief of staff in the office of FIU president Maidique, points out that minorities make up 60 percent of the FIU student body (including 11 percent black enrollment), reflecting the ethnic diversity of South Florida. "The people who support a South Florida law school do not want to sit idly by and see an establishment of a law school in Orlando or Tampa," Sauls says. "Let's wake up and smell the roses and get behind a law school that can bring this community together."

Meanwhile, state university regents will wait to see what strikes legislators' fancy next time around. "The university has made its policy judgment," states Patrick Riordan, spokesman for the university system. "If the legislators overrule the board and create a new law school, that's their right. But as far as the regents are concerned, the important issue is how to get more minority lawyers in the marketplace, not where to put a new law building with a university's name on it.

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