Academic affairs committee votes against InfiLaw sale

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The state Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing voted Monday evening against InfiLaw Systems taking over the Charleston School of Law.

Monday's vote recommends denying their operating license request.

The state Commission of Higher Education has to make the final decision on the deal, however. It has until June 5. The sale also requires the approval of the American Bar Association.

Charleston School of Law officials deferred comment on the vote to InfiLaw.

InfiLaw runs three for-profit law schools and has been trying over the last year to buy the Charleston School of Law.

The commission's Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing voted 3-1 on Monday to stop the sale over concerns that Florida-based InfiLaw's lower entry standards and pending lawsuits would devalue the school's education and pose a risk.

The vote comes on the heels of two days of forums in Charleston and Columbia that gave opponents and supporters of the purchase an opportunity to speak. The forums were hosted by the Commission of Higher Education.

Faculty members have remained vocal in their opposition.

Two groups of faculty members from the Charleston School of Law have written the state Commission on Higher Education asking that the agency oppose the sale of the school to the InfiLaw System that runs three for-profit law schools.

The faculty members say the letters show most of the faculty at the private 10-year-old school opposes the sale.

The Charleston School of Law has about 600 students. Tuition is about $38,000. Any change in ownership would have to be approved by both the commission and the American Bar Association.

The state's other law school is the University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia.