Will the sale of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law by Texas A&M University take place by the fall semester? That’s what A&M administrators are hoping as they rush through the purchasing process, which so far has produced a letter of intent to sell from Texas Wesleyan. The purchased school will ultimately be called the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University, and it will be the first law school in the A&M system.
Since it was first announced last year that the Texas A&M University System was planning to purchase Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, based in downtown Fort Worth, administrators have aimed for a fall 2013 opening date, and the acquiescence process is right on schedule for the reopening of the law school under the A&M banner. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the schools are still negotiating a final contract to the tune of $25 million, but the faculty remain confident that the rebranded school will open in the fall.
“We are proceeding with plans to begin law school classes in Fort Worth for the fall semester,” said Pamela Matthews, vice provost for academic affairs at Texas A&M University.
In addition to finalizing the deal between the two schools, the newly formed law school must be accredited by two bodies: the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the American Bar Association.
SACSCOC, the regional accrediting body for 11 southern states, has the accreditation of the school on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the organization’s board of trustees.
The ABA is expected to make a decision regarding the Texas A&M’s acquisition in early August. Texas Wesleyan has applied for acquiescence under Interpretation 105-1, rules 20 and 21 of ABA rules. This means that the ABA could approve the newly acquired law school in place of the old law school without the need for “provisional accreditation”.
The plan has already been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Students currently applying to the law school know that, as of right now, they will not be Texas A&M students, but that once the purchase is approved, they will automatically become A&M students, regardless of when the approval occurs.
Though a final deal and acquiescence are still in the pipeline, other elements of the new school are in place. Aric Short has been selected to serve as the school’s interim dean during the transition period. Once the acquisition is finalized, the new administration and faculty will create a process for selecting a permanent dean.