The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved the termination of WMU Cooley Law School agreements in their meeting Thursday, Nov. 5.
WMU and Cooley Law School entered into an Affiliation Agreement and a Co-Branding and Cross License Agreement back in 2013. Both institutions remained separate entities throughout the seven years, according to a proposal from the board.
“The purpose of this agreement was to promote the institutions, as in work together, to increase access for our students who would be interested in expanding their higher educational opportunities,” Board Chair James Bolger said.
Under the affiliation, students were given the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s and law degree in less time and for less money, according to a news release. These agreements also allowed Cooley Law School to use the WMU name, according to the proposal.
According to the proposal, the impact of the pandemic on higher education led each institution to focus on their core missions. The alteration in focus confirmed that much has changed at both organizations since 2013.
“As our relationship matured and evolved, the priorities of each school have shifted and the expected synergy of our 2013 vision were not fully realized,” Bolger said.
Representatives from both institutions gathered on Zoom and other platforms over the summer to discuss strategies to improve the academic offerings, Bolger said.
“Our board has examined the future of these agreements with the desire that moving forward with each institution would allow that institution to improve their strategic position and navigate their own respective futures,” Bolger said.
The Board believes that affiliation with Cooley has become a distraction from the University’s core mission, according to the proposal.
The separation, a three-year process, will conclude in November 2023, according to the Cooley Law School website.