On Aug. 23, Bradley President Stephen Standifird hosted a faculty budget forum to discuss the $13 million dollar budget deficit for the 2023-2024 school year. This forum highlighted budget cuts to be made at the university.
Less than a week later, the Bradley administration closed the Center for Legal Studies. This center helped students find internship opportunities, resources and guidance for LSAT preparation and additional support with classes.
“I know the center provided a lot of free testing materials and it provided me [with] the job I currently have,” senior English and philosophy double major, Hailey Keeton, said. “Had I not had the center, I wouldn’t have stayed at Bradley.”
Center director Brigette Lobacz also had an impact on students. Lobacz started her job as Bradley’s Pre-Law advisor in Oct. 2022, and created a helpful and friendly environment for all students in the program.
“The thing about Brigette is she served in four capacities,” senior political science major Logan Caudill said. “She was the director of the center, she was our professor, she was our advisor and she was most importantly our friend.”
Lobacz had to break the news about the center closing to the students. She emailed students the same day she found out the center was being cut and provided her personal email.
The closing of the Center for Legal Studies has left many students feeling frustrated and confused regarding the sudden decision.
“I’m very angry. I feel very blindsided because they [the administration] told us this three weeks before school started,” Keeton said. “This is the head of a lot of Pre-Law students’ senior year when we’re all trying to apply to law schools.”
Caudill further expressed his discontent regarding the center’s closing.
“I kind of felt like I lied to them [freshman] because here I am talking to all of them about it and then right before they get to campus, none of that exists anymore,” Caudill said.
The petition received 880 signatures from students, staff and other supporters and was closed on the first day of classes. The efforts of this petition shed light on the impact of the loss of the center, but inevitably was not enough to save it.
“There’s nothing we [students] can do unfortunately except express our disdain, which I think we have,” Keeton said.
Keeton added that she hopes that these signatures will help Bradley see the impact that this loss has on students.
In lieu of the Center for Legal Studies, students are being directed to former political science professor Dr. Craig Curtis and the Smith Career Center, along with the Political Science department as a whole. After retiring last year, Curtis returned to advise students.
Though these resources are available, students feel that this assistance isn’t the best to support their career endeavors and preparations.
“Now I have to make connections with a new faculty member that doesn’t know me, my goals and doesn’t know my personal issues that I’ve had with studying for the LSAT,” Keeton said.
Bradley’s administration has yet to make a statement about the closing of the Center For Legal Studies.