Following speculations about the School of Law moving to downtown Miami in a recent edition of The Miami Hurricane, students were asked what should replace the law school. Suggestions ranged from a bowling alley to a movie theater. While there is nothing to be said against (another) movie theater on campus, it might be worth it to pause and consider what would be lost for the law school and UM if it was in fact relocated.
Although it appears to be somewhat of a national trend to relocate law schools to prominent downtown locations, this artificial separation between law schools and their sister facilities breaks with the centuries-old tradition of an integrated university, of which the law faculty has always been a part. Without integration in the university, the transition of the law school from a scientific institution to a mere training facility for attorneys becomes an imminent danger. Moreover, the possibility of joint degrees and other forms of mutual academic enrichment will be lost. For example, B.A. students will not be able to sit in law classes and law students will no longer have the opportunity to finally take that creative writing class (so much of law is about creative writing).
Of course, the potential misfortune goes far beyond purely academic matters. Only the current location of the law school allows its students to fully take part in life on campus. What would the past eight months have been for me without the movies at the Cosford Cinema, without the plays at the Ring Theatre and without the concerts at the Gusman Hall? And while the law school may or may not put up a gym at its downtown location, there is just nothing like a dip in the pool right after “Conflict of Laws” or a Sunday softball game on Yaron Field.
That said, trading the beautiful Coral Gables Campus with all its academic and non-academic prospects for a location in gritty downtown Miami hardly seems appealing and would break up a symbiosis which benefits both the School of Law and UM.
– Felix Sparka
Third-year law student