Saturday, April 19, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters To The Editor

UW Law School -- Examine This Gift Horse; A New Building Is Not School's Greatest Need

Editor, The Times:

The Seattle Times editorial April 14 ("Bad faith in Olympia") misrepresents the University of Washington faculty's position on the proposed new law school as well as the politics surrounding its funding. There has been no Faculty Senate vote in support of the relocation of the law school to the main campus, given the proviso that the Burke Museum expansion plans should be fully determined before any official faculty vote pro or con will be made.

There is also considerable opposition to the administrative decision to advance the funding priority for the law school ahead of other more urgent needs, i.e., the repair of existing buildings and construction of additional classroom space. Condon Hall may not need meet the expectations of those who seek to provide the law school greater visibility, but as a 23-year-old building, it is not beyond rehabilitation and it can be given a suitable addition with the generosity of the $12 million donation from the Gates family.

To take the state Legislature to task for being in "bad faith" in reconsidering the arrangement advocated by previous state Legislatures assumes that budgets do not respond to changing economic priorities. The Senate and the House of Representatives gave careful consideration to the UW administration's request for law school funding and did not find it a high priority, in spite of the proposed private/public partnerships that your editorial promotes.

It is unfortunate that your editorial did not call for greater factual analysis of the cost and benefits of the proposed move from Condon Hall. The state Legislature has wisely chosen a more deliberate process than Gov. Locke's apparently unconditional willingness to seek private funding for public projects without considering the importance of due process. It is unfortunate that the University of Washington administration is apparently similarly inclined. The state Legislature should be commended, not reprimanded, by the Seattle Times for its willingness to look a "gift horse in the mouth." Folke Nyberg Seattle

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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