|Sen. Wil Schroder looks on from his seat in the Kentucky State Senate. LRC.|
Since I graduated from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2008, the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) campus in Highland Heights has come a long way. The University has seen a lot of growth, including the Student Union, the recreational center, and the College of Informatics, in addition to a lot more green space. The campus continues to grow and improve, and just last fall, I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the new $97 million Health Innovation Center.
Yet, despite all of this recent campus beautification and the improvements, there is an effort underway to move Chase College of Law to an old building in Covington that no one else wants. There is great value to the college of law being on the main campus. Not only can law students use the facilities, study at the university library, and be close to campus housing, but they are also surrounded by people with one common goal in mind: learning.
I understand the Kenton County Fiscal Court and several other county officials think an outdated administration building would be an ideal home for Chase, but I wonder if faculty and students feel the same. The few law students I mentioned this to were not very excited about the idea and were content with the college where it is. While some argue that the move would allow law students to be closer to the various courthouses, I do not think this is a good enough reason alone. Not all students will be doing externships at the courthouses, and unless they live in Covington, they will still have to drive to get there. Furthermore, whether it is for private businesses or students, problems such as parking will remain.
As recently reported, the study commissioned by the Kenton County Fiscal Court focused on what is the best use of the building for the County moving forward. Private businesses are not attracted to the site, and it would cost more to tear the building down than the land is worth. I understand why private developers are not interested in the building but struggle to see how that makes it a prime spot for law students.
While this is just one opinion on the matter, I am curious to know what current and prospective law students will think about having a separate law school that is a 15-minute car ride away from the NKU central campus. That sentiment goes for faculty as well; what do they think about this move?
As a State Senator, I recognize the importance of maintaining working relationships with officials from other counties, and I understand the value of working collaboratively to improve our region. However, the question that needs to be asked is not what the best use of Kenton County’s building is, but rather what is in the best interest of the students who attend Chase College of Law.
###Senator Wil Schroder represents District 24 comprised of Bracken, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties. Sen. Schroder is Chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary, and is also the Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is a member of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee and Senate Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor Committee. Additionally, Senator Schroder serves as Vice Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Caucus.