Orlando Is FAMU Panel’s Top Choice for New Law School
A five-member committee ranked Orlando, Fla., as the top choice for Florida A&M University’s new law school, which is scheduled to open in 2002.The committee earlier this month ranked Orlando above Lakeland, Tampa and Daytona Beach, but the final decision will be made by the Board of Regents on a recommendation from FAMU PresidentDr. Frederick Humphries and university system Chancellor Dr. Adam Herbert.A FAMU spokeswoman said that Humphries and Herbert would review and discuss the committee’s rankings, but are not bound to recommend Orlando to the regents. If Orlando ultimately is picked by the Board of Regents, the law school will anchor redevelopment efforts for Orlando’s Parramore district, a historically Black and economically depressed neighborhood.“This is extraordinarily important for the city of Orlando,” says Susan Blexrud, the Orlando mayor’s director of communications. “It will really help define the revitalization efforts in the Parramore district.”City officials have been lobbying the Orlando Magic and local theme parks to help endow sports law and entertainment law programs if the city lands the law school. A representative of Tampa’s bid said the city would continue to lobby for the school.Amenities near the proposed site in Orlando and the potential for heavy clean-up costs for some of the other sites were two of the things that swayed FAMU Vice President Louis Murray, who was chairman of the committee.“Orlando didn’t have that, but Lakeland had some unresolved problems there which could have delayed the construction, and the same with Tampa,” Murray says. “They all were so close. It turned out that Orlando just didn’t have those same impediments.”FAMU, the state’s historically Black university, lost its law school to Tallahassee’s Florida State University in 1968. Lawmakers this year agreed to give FAMU another law school to try to boost the number of minority lawyers. Blacks now make up just 2 percent of Florida’s 64,000 attorneys, but 15 percent of the population.
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