University of Tulsa to remove 2 Native law offerings

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
05/07/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The University of Tulsa will accept incoming freshmen into its Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law program for the last time this fall. The program was still recruiting students in February, as shown by this booth at the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education Conference on the Oklahoma City University campus. TU MJIL FACEBOOK PAGE
TULSA – As part of a review committee’s “reimagining,” the University of Tulsa plans to phase out dozens of degree programs that are in lower demand among students, in part to reduce administrative costs. Among the casualties are two Native American law programs.

The Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law and the LLM in American Indian and Indigenous Law are two of the 196 degree and certification programs that will be cut to reach 112.

“We made this decision in part due to declining enrollment and the decision to focus on the core juris doctor program of study, which includes Indian law programming in the form of curriculum, externships and moot court opportunities,” Lyn Suzanne Entzeroth, dean and Dean John Rogers endowed chair for the TU College of Law, said.

Recently announced to the campus community, the review committee’s report suggested the formation of a “professional super college” by grouping together the colleges of law, business and health. It also called for a “university studies” program for all freshmen.

The affected programs account for only about 6 percent of student majors, TU officials said. The university’s enrollment was 4,412 for the 2018-19 academic year.

The reorganization is expected to allow TU to provide a 2 percent pay raise to employees, and the degrees to be discontinued will be phased out. The full reduction of degrees is expected to take five years.

“As of January 2020, we will no longer admit new students to the MJIL and the LLM in American Indian Law and Indigenous Law programs,” Entzeroth said. “Students currently enrolled in those programs, as well as students matriculating in 2019, will still be able to earn these degrees. The phase out of the MJIL will take place over several years.”

Tulsa’s College of Law has attracted Native American students with its Indian law programs. Entzeroth said the university would continue to offer the option of added emphasis in Native law.

“TU Law has a lengthy and robust record of teaching and research in the area of Indian law,” Entzeroth said. “We remain deeply committed to this subject, and we will continue to offer Indian law courses as an integral part of our JD program. One change to note within the JD program is that we have converted our Native American Law certificate into a concentration for students matriculating in 2019. All current students may earn the Native American Law certificate, while all students matriculating in 2019 and beyond may pursue the Native American concentration. I want to reiterate TU Law’s abiding support for the study and teaching of Indian law, as well as our commitment to Native Americans who choose to enter this profession in order to serve their communities.”

Entzeroth said TU is also a research resource, pointing to the College of Law Mabee Legal Information Center and its collection of Native American and Indigenous peoples materials.

“It includes many rare primary materials as well as influential treatises in print,” Entzeroth said. “Through a generous endowment by the Utsey Family, the MLIC maintains subscriptions to specialized databases of legal, historical and ethnological materials that allow comprehensive legal research on any federally recognized tribe. This endowment also assures that the MLIC is able to purchase every current work related to Native American law published.”
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