Western Michigan University to end affiliation with Thomas Cooley Law School by 2023

The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees recently voted unanimously to cut ties with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. 

The partnership did not last long. The affiliation started in 2013. 

"The affiliation with Cooley made sense at a time when new ventures for extending the University’s reach could be explored and given time to mature," said WMU President Edward Montgomery. "Today, the pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives. It is transforming higher education in ways that will have lasting effects on our sector and WMU. As a result, we are focusing on our core mission as we chart a course for an even stronger post-pandemic WMU."

When the affiliation agreement was established, the school adopted the name Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. As part of the original agreement, there will be a three-year transition period meaning WMU’s name does not have to be removed from the law school until 2023. 

Both institutions say the dissolution will not affect either one as they move forward. Western Michigan is based in Kalamazoo, while Cooley’s main campus is in Lansing. 

“I appreciate WMU's need to focus on its core mission during this period. WMU-Cooley is also refining its program in the face of COVID-19 and these efforts will expand upon our recent innovations,” said WMU-Cooley President James McGrath. “Since my arrival last year, we have embraced modern teaching techniques, increased our admissions profile, decreased tuition by 21% and consolidated our footprint into two campuses. The end of the affiliation will not affect our ability to continue to deliver a quality student experience as we have over the course of our 48-year history.”

WMU said both institutions have remained independent entities, which was something the original agreement outlined. Additionally, WMU says each institution has retained independent governance. Overseen by separate boards, the two entities have not exchanged funds or provided financial support to one-another. 

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