WILLIAMSBURG -- The Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary is facing several accreditation problems in addition to the much publicized inadequacy of physical facilities.

Dr. Thomas A. Graves Jr., college president, held a press conference Sept. 24 to state that representatives of the American Bar Association's Council on Accrediting had warned William and Mary that it faced a possible loss of accreditation because the law school building is "the most inadequate physical plant of any ABA-approved law school in the country."

But reports given newsmen, Tuesday indicated that Graves had made public only a part of the problems threatening the nation's oldest law school.

William and Mary officials have received reports from the ABA indicating that the law school should move toward much more independence from the rest of the college.

Decline to Discuss It

A school spokesperson declined to discuss the report Tuesday, which he said "pertained strictly to internal matters and the relationship of the law school with the rest of the college."

The ABA communication also indicated that the William and Mary administration should not have veto power over law school faculty appointments and promotions.

It is known that on July 31 William and Mary received a letter from the ABA citing six specific areas that posed accreditation problems. William and Mary made public four of the areas -- a need for more books in the law library, inadequate physical facilities, inadequate faculty salaries and inadequate professional staffing for the law library -- but the other two areas were not made public.

Those dealt directly with the administrative status of the law school in relation with the other schools at the college and with the top administrative structure itself, or the manner in which the college administration controls promotions and appointments to the law faculty.

Control of Appointments

The control over faculty appointments has been obvious since the Saad el-Amin (Jeroyd X Greene) incident last year when the law school faculty voted to offer a position to the then-Richmond lawyer and Graves recommended to the board of visitors that the position not be granted. The board supported his decision.

It is also known that the law school has been striving for a number of years to separate itself from the other faculties at the college-- business, education, and arts and sciences-- in order to gain a better promotion scale and better salary scale for its professors.

College administrators only granted a few of the promotion requests that came from the law school last year.

A college spokesperson said that the internal matters in the ABA report were not made public because they were, in fact, college affairs. "We're working on solving them," the spokesman said.

Not Involved

"They don't involve any requirement to have the governor or the General Assembly act."

The governor and the assembly would have to act to enable William and Mary to secure the nearly $5.6 million required to construct a law school building, which would solve the item of poor facilities mentioned in the ABA report.

James P. White of Indiana University, a consultant to the ABA council, arrived in Williamsburg late Tuesday for his third visit to the school this year. He is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. with Graves and Acting Law School Dean Emeric Fischer and for an hour at 11 a.m. with the law school faculty.


Wilford Kale

Document Type

News Article

Publication Information

Richmond Times-Dispatch at B-4 (October 15, 1975)