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Last fall, new Law School Dean Robert C. Clark quickly found himself caught up in one of the most passionate campus debates in years.
Responding to Clark's decision to close the school's public interest career counseling office, students bombarded the dean with more than 1000 letters of protest. The dean first took no direct action, and then granted the students a chance to openly the discuss the situation at a forum.
Today, Clark and two other faculty members prepare to meet more than 100 law students in that forum--a forum which promises to release the strong feelings that have built up around this issue over the last several months.
"We don't have to excite debate [because it is such a hot topic]," said Lori Wallach, a member of the student-led Emergency Coalition for Public Interest Placement.
But some students are concerned that too much pressure on the dean could backfire.
"It would be bad if people try to ram [the need for public interest law] down the students' throats," President of the American Bar Association, Law School Division (ABA/LSD) John C. Buckley said. He said that pressing Clark too severely could give the dean an excuse to reduce funding for other clinical programs--which most students feel are equally important.
The two-hour session will feature a 20-minute speech by Clark, two brief addresses by Professors of Law Christopher Edley and David Rosenberg, followed by a question and answer period.
That choice of panelists reflects both wings of the politically charged law faculty.
Edley, who was the issues director for Gov. Michael S. Dukakis' presidential campaign, chairs the Public Interest Action Committee, a student-faculty task force set up by Clark to deal with this fall's unrest. Rosenberg is well known by many professors for his relative conservatism on issues that have come before the Harvard Law faculty.
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