UNC, NCCU law schools need clinics, officials say, as board considers litigation ban


CHAPEL HILL, N.C (WNCN) – Opponents of a plan to ban litigation at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University’s law schools say it could undermine the schools and the ability of students to get the education they need.

They spoke to a committee of UNC’s Board of Governors Thursday.

“The proposal, if it is adopted, would be catastrophic,” said Irv Joyner, a professor at N.C. Central.

The public hearing at UNC came amid a controversy over a proposal to prohibit the law centers at the schools from being able to bring lawsuits against government bodies.

UNC’s Center for Civil Rights and legal clinics at NCCU would be affected by the plan.

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Joyner said Thursday that the move could jeopardize Central’s accreditation with the American Bar Association, as the ABA requires experiential learning opportunities for students.

“Them taking this away from us, it doesn’t make sense. So, I hate it,” said Aviance Brown, a law student who will enter her third year this fall.

Brown noted that the work she and other students do at NCCU helps people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to legal representation, including people with low incomes.

UNC’s Center for Civil Rights has taken on a variety of cases since its founding in 2001, including some dealing with school desegregation, economic development and environmental hazards.

Following the hearing, Joe Knott, a member of the Board of Governors told CBS North Carolina, “We need to be sure that our first priority, the academic mission, is protected. That’s why it’s important to have this discussion.”

The board could vote on the issue at its next meeting in July.

RELATED: Carrboro, Orange County leaders to consider supporting UNC’s Center for Civil Rights

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