City Desk

Chatter: Torn WCL

cover-issue1812-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

With its faltering ranking and diminishing employment prospects for graduates, American University’s Washington College of Law is looking less and less like it’s worth its $73,002 tuition. But is the sad state of AU law, as reported on by Will Sommer in last week’s Education Issue (“Lowering the Bar,” Aug. 22), an anomaly, or merely one example of a crumbling system? “No one should be in law school right now,” writes Redline SOS. “There should be a five-year law school freeze. There simply aren’t enough jobs for the number of JDs that are out there...The legal profession is in shambles for all but 1 or 2 percent.”

And Tbonebullets: “ I don’t think the price of ANY non-state-funded law school is worth it, including at the very top-tier schools...The dirty secret has always been that the top jobs go to those with family ties to the industry or some other patronage. The rest of the jobs, for the most part, are simply middle- or upper-middle-class positions that cannot be justified by a $200,000-plus price tag.”

While one reader brought up the example of AU law graduate and current Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Grimes, antiro pushed back: “The problem with WCL is it charges Cadillac prices for a beater with a less than 50 percent chance to get you around the block. To focus on the uber-successful like Grimes and politically connected grads who went to WCL ignores the vast majority of graduates who could incur well over six figures of nondischargeable, high-interest student loans for the terrible employment numbers of your alma mater.”

One reader was disturbed by the school’s current marketing emphasis on buzzy human rights and international law jobs. “I went to WCL and got a wonderful legal education, and it had NOTHING to do with human rights,” wrote J. “Human rights is, of course, a laudable professional goal. But what I think is important to note about WCL is that it IS a quality school to receive a legal education. What’s unfortunate is that the dean’s personal pet project has overtaken things, and the school’s true quality and worth is lost.”

Also in last week’s Education Issue, Aaron Wiener wrote about a spat between American and some of its neighbors over new campus buildings that’s gotten notably heated (“The Calm Before the Dorm,” Aug. 22). Among the more extravagant demands? That the school tint the windows of dormitories and supply security guards to the gated Westover Place community to keep students out. While the school only made less onerous concessions, Westover Place still got a thwacking in the comments. “Maybe shouldn’t choose to live near a college if you don’t like young, loud, drunk people,” wrote geraldp.

And reader Will: “The sad part is that if [the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission had] worked more constructively, they could probably arrange for some nice neighborhood amenities, like a bike trail on Nebraska partly on AU property, perhaps something nice and neighborly in that 65-foot landscaped buffer, or better neighbor access to AU’s excellent facilities. But then again, this is the ANC that fought bike lanes on New Mexico Ave for 3-plus years.”

Department of Corrections

Due to a reporting error, last week’s Housing Complex column incorrectly stated that the developer WC Smith was involved in the redevelopment of the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex (“The Heights Act,” Aug. 22). Although WC Smith owns land that was included in the Capper/Carrollsburg planned unit development and built Canal Park adjacent to the site, the company did not directly build any of the housing that comprised the project. Additionally, the story stated that WC Smith was a recipient of the $55 million PILOT subsidy for the project, citing a WAMU report last year that listed Smith as a recipient. In fact, Smith did not receive any of that subsidy.

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