We'll be doing it so you don't have to. Live from room 105 at 12:45 (as y'all know from the thousands of emails telling you to go).
So, sit back, relax and let us listen so you don't have to (that's right, today we're that nerdy guy in the front row of Torts who always sends you his notes).
Also, seriously people, we know there's a town hall today. You can stop forwarding the damn emails.
12:52 - Ok, late but here. Packed room. Edley's lining up some questions. Students want more stuff for their money. I think we can all agree with that.
12:53 - Edley cracks a decent joke. No one laughs. This isn't going to be an easy one, dude.
12:56 - And we're busting out the powerpoint slides. He's doing a comparison between the school's position in 04/05 and now. It's a pretty powerful point. LRAP, ranking, % employed at graduation, etc. are all much better now.
12:59 - Edley wants to redefine what it means to be a public law school - Apparently it no longer means cheap.
1:02 - Michigan spends more money than we do. It was way worse back in the day. Also, our chairs are sweet.
1:04 - Edley smacks down Berkeley's Celtic Poetry Department. They stole our money, apparently. No one laughs. This is some very serious stuff.
1:06 - Ok, this is actually what you need to know. The benchmark is our competitors minuse $5k. They're projecting all peer schools to be at $57k by 2013. The crowd is skeptical.
1:09 - "You are irrationally focused on rankings. Shame on you." Edley, right after he's told us we don't lose joint admits to other public law schools.
1:10 - How new revenue will be spent - 40% to LRAP/Financial Aid. About 55% to 6 new faculty members (it's not marked, poorly made graph). 5% goes back to construction bonds? Again, whoever labeled this graph did a horrible job.
1:12 - Edley's being patronizing by asking repeatedly if we understand a simple financial graph. Crowd is getting annoyed.
1:12 - Faculty salaries did not get cut. 27.4% of the rest of our budget did get cut. The law school only receives about $3M -$4M in state funding that excludes faculty salaries. These graphs are so shitty it's hard to be any more exact than that.
1:15 - "There's some whining every once in a while on the blog about where's Dean Edley" - I think he means us.
1:17 - Quick shout out to those of you who are actually in the same room with me and also reading this. I can see some of you. ;)
1:19 "Yes, the price of Boalt is going up. But I'm not spending the money in the Caribbean. We're trying to transform the school in several dimensions, the most obvious being the physical changes." Apparently we used to not have power in class. That would have been horrible.
1:21 - Boalt is getting more exclusive. Everyone pat yourselves on the back. He's softening us up for the Q&A period.
1:22 - Edley finally makes a joke that gets laughs. It's about "faith-based fundraising." Everyone can unite in their disdain for the religious right.
1:24 - Ok, so it's my fault for just noticing this, but a ton of students have signs that they can hold up that say either "I agree" or "No Way." They are red and green. I haven't seen anyone use them.
1:25 - Edley asks Dennis to stand up. Dennis doesn't want to stand up. He finally has to, though, because he has to talk on the mic. Now Edley's leading him around, sort of like he's on a leash. In fact he mimes it. That gets real laughs.
1:27 - Edley's actually in "The Thinker" pose while we listen to Dennis talk about a lot of numbers.
1:28 - Brilliant tactical move by Edley. Dennis is now taking questions at Edley's urging, eating up valuable time that would be used to put Edley on the hot seat.
1:29 - The LRAP and Summer Internship Program are essential and will remain in place.
1:30 - The signs just got held up. Edley sort of jokes about it and is now asking what the other flyer means. I feel bad for Dennis. He just wants to talk numbers.
1:32 - Dennis makes a fair point. The LRAP is designed to help people entering govt. or PI work, but we can't always guarantee it over your whole life. In other words, you're not actually entitled to a worry free life, but Boalt's doing its best to give you one. And now we're talking about negative amortization.
1:36 - Do we realize that these questions are taking time away from Edley taking questions? He makes a Madoff joke, though. Also the green signs seem to be throwing him off.
1:38 - What you are doing with your tuition is helping LRAP for students that have graduated. And now it's getting combative. One student holds up an "oh really" sign and Edley goes on the offensive. Edley's basically telling the 2L that he's misquoting Edley.
1:39 - Great question: "What's your top funding priority?" Edley basically refuses to answer, saying it's more about keeping the portfolio balanced because nothing can be more important than anything. What's the investment strategy? I get what he's saying, but it's a cop out. What are we keeping untouched by cuts?
1:41 - Follow up quotes Obama's prioritizing. Edley fires back "I was there, I know." And now we're arguing about an analogy instead of the actual issue. Edley then states excellence is more important than diversity. Not entirely sure how we got here, but it's not answering the initial question.
1:42 - "I came so Boalt could be a top 5 law school. Not so Boalt could slip to being a top 25 law school. If you provide access to a mediocre law school, you don't accomplish anything." Where are all the "I agree" signs?
1:43 - I think the signs are throwing everyone off. Now we're arguing about increasing fees. I knew last fall they were going up. Where was everyone else? (Not that they should to these levels, necessarily, but the info was out there for enterprising 0Ls).
1:45 - So, if NYU raises fees to $75k, we can expect to see our fees at $68k, is basically what we're being told at this point. "Market minus 10%"
1:45 - "The biggest risk that I see right now is that the head room between what we charge students and where the market is get gobbled up by UC fees that Boalt doesn't get." More Celtic Poetry shit talking.
1:47 - Edley's considered doing a simple income test LRAP, but apparently we couldn't afford it before. They want to revise the "law related" test that will loosen it. "Any job that it's not very unusual to have a lawyer."
1:49 - Say it with me. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. I think we're at like 3-4 in this meeting. Not too shabby over an hour.
1:50 - Ok, here goes the 1L complaining. We're getting a lot of facts in this question that Edley seems skeptical about. And here come the I agree signs. And a little clapping. Edley's going to focus on the bad figures that he gave. Skeptical silence. "While I calm down, do either of you want to address that?" Dean Tom's now on the hot seat, "Every year we don't get final fee amounts until fairly late in the game." They're building a new website. That always works.
1:51 - "I don't read the materials myself." - Awesome! "Come talk to me and you can see how I spend my time." Let's just say, there is a small minority of pissed off students about this. I think it makes sense.
1:53 - "It should not be a surprise to you that tuition goes up." According to Edley, 80 -85% of us will go into private sector jobs and will be making more money after a few years than anybody on the faculty. "When you graduate your median income will be roughly five times the median income of all CA state taxpayers."
1:54 - "So yes, your tuition is going up and you deserve fair warning...but the background uncertainties are there." This is some forceful stuff. The big closing. He's practiced this and it's effective.
1:55 - Edley goes on - Boalt today is a good deal. And I really regret it if folks think it's not.
1:56 - If we decrease fees internally for Boalt, we will have to slam the brakes on improving Boalt. It will make us less competitive, it will reinforce the anxiety that Boalt will go down the tubes because CA is going down the tubes. He got some "I agrees" on that one.
1:57 - "Most people on the faculty are very supportive and excited by student activism around fee issues. Not necessarily because we think the substance is right, but because we'd rather have a student body that's alive not soporific." This is true.
1:58 - Final message. Take this energy, use it to change politics.
Well, there you have it. Thanks for following along and we look forward to your thoughts in the comments.