Wednesday, September 30, 2009

University of Pittsburgh: Helping Students Since . . . Well, I'm Sure It Will Start Sometime

I recently noted that Pitt students should get the hell out of Pittsburgh within minutes of graduation (number nine on the list). Recent events indicate I could reconsider that point. New evidence indicates at least some Pitt students -- those desiring to acquire a useful law degree -- should leave sooner.

It has long been obvious, to anyone who compares Pitt's announcements of home football attendance with a 10-second scan of the stadium, that the University lacks a functioning Department of Mathematics. (Bob Smizik, I believe, once noted that if Pitt's attendance claim for a Halloween-week game were true, at least half the fans came to the game dressed as empty seats.)

Yesterday, the dysfunction spread to the School of Law (which has been declining for two decades, and recently fell from 57th to 71st in the U.S. News ranking).

Pitt has invited students confronting criminal charges consequent to the Siege of Schenley Park to tell their stories to the University -- and its police department -- in hopes the school (which has failed its students at every step of this situation so far) might grant indulgences (did everyone else miss the statutory change requiring the district attorney to answer to Pitt?). One catch: Pitt method of "helping" a student will include barring the student from bringing a lawyer.

ACLU legal director Vic Walczak, who attended a good law school, flunked Pitt's legal reasoning, calling it unconstitutional, insidious, and for a student, "dangerous."

(In fairness to dean Mary Crossley of Pitt's law school, it is possible she was so busy attempting to rehabilitate the law school's ranking that she and the rest of the faculty were unavailable to help the University arrange a legally defensible position.)

Were I a Pitt student, I'd listen to Vic Walczak (and my lawyer). Were I a Pitt law student, I'd consider calling Vic for a recommendation about a top-50 law school to which I could transfer.

UPDATE: Major change, thanks to chief.

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