What Does $400+ million get you?

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Or, to put it in greater detail, what does $471 million per year, plus authorization for millions in capital funding, the ability to issue tax-free bonds through your own conduit, and untold millions in soft subsidies (like, say, $250,000 for 173 pages of reports — here and here).

Well, if you are UMASS Chancellor Robert C. Holub, the answer is nothing. He responds bluntly to some legislators questioning of the potential acquisition of the law school in southeastern Massachusetts:

In the past months there has been a great deal of controversy about the establishment of a law school on the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts. This controversy continues even after the Board of Trustees has voted on three occasions in support of the establishment of a public law school. Unfortunately, it has extended into the legislative realm, where it does not belong.

This is nuts on multiple levels. UMASS has its own pool of funds, but relies on the state for a significant subsidy. One would think the Legislature would want to have some oversight of how the money is being used. Or is the Joint Committee on Higher Education supposed to be doing something else?

And anyone, anyone, taking a rational view of the law school acquisition must concede that an irresistable force is meeting an immovable object here. The notion that you can do three things at once — rebuild an unaccredited law school, expand its student base, and charge below cost rates for tuition — without some form of subsidy is nonsense. You like the idea of a public law school or beefing up UMASS-Dartmouth? Fine. Just don’t expect me to believe it’s free.