Alum’s Allston concerns


I read with great interest about the possibility of Harvard Law School moving to a new campus and the appointment of a Law School committee to be included in these considerations. Let me express some of my own concerns as a basis for brief discussion.

First, I believe there should be a full exploration in regard to utilization of space on the existing law school campus. In this regard, architectural innovations, possible use of other green areas and possible buildings over existing parking areas, as well as underground facilities [should be considered]. Only if this is done can there be a valid comparison with the proposed alternative of moving.

Second, certain conditions should be established before such a move is considered:

1. The University should be responsible for financing all replacement costs of the existing facilities. Indeed, it will be using these [facilities] for other University purposes and should pay for such costs. In addition, the Law School should not be saddled with an immense debt for buildings on the new campus or moving costs, as funds are needed for other purposes such as more scholarships.

2. The University must give [the Law School] sufficient ground on any new campus to make a move worthwhile and also cover future needs for years to come. This may be double or triple the current space the law school now has. Some of the future needs are:

  • Some building facilities for the new “law colleges” system which is currently being developed;

  • Space for more student housing, including housing for married students;

  • Space for more professors as the law becomes more complex and faculty additions are made;

  • Since there will be more emeriti professors, and because it is valuable to have them on campus, additional office space; and

  • Space for a faculty lounge, which will provide the entire faculty [a space in which] to informally exchange ideas, rather than just the small lounges in each of the separate buildings.

  • It is quite possible that a much larger number of international students will be trained and more space needed. Indeed, Harvard’s international contributions and influence may depend on a doubling of the current number.

  • It is quite possible, in the not-too-distant future, that four years of law school will be required. The three-year standard dates back to 1923 nationally, and the law has become much more complex.

3. There must be some assurance that some other major Schools of departments will move there [to Allston] so as to permit some interdisciplinary exchange.

4. An adequate transportation system between the Law School, Harvard Square and the rest of the University must be provided by the University.

It is important that various progress reports of the committee be made public so that there can be adequate discussion. Such discussion should go beyond just the faculty and dean and include the entire law school community of students and alumni. Also, the committee should solicit views and hear discussions from a wider audience. Hopefully, the RECORD will play a major role in this discussion.

Don King ’57

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