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Public university’s left-wing law center might not get to sue the state anymore

Or it could become a legal clinic

The University of North Carolina’s law school runs a deeply politicized law center that likes to sue the state.

It may not get to do that much longer.

The Republican-controlled Board of Governors is voting tomorrow on banning litigation filed by any UNC system center or institute, on the position that one part of the state shouldn’t be suing another.

The Center for Civil Rights is the only known component that currently files litigation, but the ban wouldn’t affect university legal clinics, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Predictably, opponents of the proposed policy are accusing the board of racism. Sociology Prof. Sherryl Kleinman at UNC Chapel Hill says:

Perhaps the Center’s problem is its success. Those who either don’t care about the civil rights of largely low-wealth communities of people of color, or who are ideologically against the work of the Center, want to keep the Center from doing its job. The litigation ban is against the mission of the university, which is to bring services to all North Carolinians, not just the privileged few.

University of Houston Law Center Prof. Michael Olivas doubts that a litigation ban by itself is an infringement on academic freedom, as critics including the former dean of the UNC law school are saying, but he has a simple suggestion for the center to continue its left-wing work:

Rolling the center’s work into a legal clinic might guarantee more academic freedom, and potentially “insulate it as an instructional program, from trustees who might think that any such thing might be an embarrassment or a concern to a given trustee that might have ties to the industries [being sued],” Olivas said.

The Center for Civil Rights has been on notice since the Board of Governors shuttered another politicized UNC law school component, the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

That center was directed by a law professor and self-proclaimed champion of the poor who earned more than $205,000 a year while teaching a single class per semester. He also earned a $7,500 stipend as director of the center.

Read the article.

MORE: Law prof who specializes in poverty makes $205k, teaches one class

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