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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Law center plan sparks debate

    FLAGSTAFF: Regents questioned the cost of a proposed research center in the James E. Rogers College of Law, citing uncertain funding sources as a concern.

    Regents Dennis DeConcini and Ernest Calderon began a debate at yesterday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting regarding the William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government at the College of Law.

    The two said they were worried that the UA is waiting for $7 million in federal funds for the center, which may never come.

    DeConcini said he was concerned that the expense of the center would be passed on to tuition costs of the College of Law if the money fell through.

    “”This was never intended to be an expense put on the backs of the students,”” DeConcini said.

    DeConcini said he wanted to see the federal funds added to already existing money, rather than serving as the basis for the new center.

    “”It would be unfortunate if nothing ever came of it by using Justice Rehnquist’s name,”” DeConcini said. “”It should succeed, with or without the federal funds.””

    But President Robert Shelton said he was not worried.

    The UA is working hard to get the federal funds by working with Arizona’s congressional delegation, Shelton said.

    “”I think there is a bipartisan recognition of the greatness of Justice Rehnquist, and I think that will work to our advantage,”” Shelton said.

    Provost George Davis said tuition increases were not an option, and private donors would compensate for any shortfalls if Congress did not approve the money on time. Most of those donors would be friends and alumni of the law school.

    There are two ways for Congress to make its decision on the funding, DeConcini said.

    The bill could get OK’d by the authorization committee and sent to the appropriations committee for final approval, or the appropriations committee could directly add the measure to another bill, known as “”earmarking.””

    But DeConcini said Sen. John McCain, an influential figure in Arizona’s congressional delegation, is opposed to earmarks.

    DeConcini said it would take at least a year to get $7 million for the center without earmarking it, but the process could be sped up if a member of Congress put the funds high on his list of priorities.

    DeConcini said the UA was doing everything it could to get those funds, but it made him nervous to depend on money that wasn’t assured.

    Shelton said such risk is inherent in any sort of center or institute like this one.

    “”You are always dependent on federal funding because that’s the largest source of funds to come in for these kinds of activities,”” Shelton said. “”But I’m not worried about it.””

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