William and Mary closes coastal planning center
Ten years ago, William and Mary established a hands-on program for students interested in environmental law and policy. It had, according to one graduate, provided critical information and guidance in an area where we don’t have much law or policy.
“The center’s leadership are working hard to provide policy analysis and potential solutions for our elected officials, our local government staff, our state agencies,” says
Mary –Carson Stiff, deputy director of Wetlands Watch.
She notes the Virginia Coastal Policy Center was so valuable that it was written into state code as an advisory body.
“The center was doing so much to build the capacity of local governments who are on the front lines of this issue, They were working on a community’s resilience in the most traditional sense, the ability for a local community to bounce back after a disaster.”
So she was dismayed to learn William and Mary is ending the program.”
“We’ve really seen a tremendous value in students graduating from the center and going on to work in the coastal policy and the resilience space, so we’re losing that workforce development. That is a massive loss, because it’s an emerging field," Still argues. "I cannot tell you how many times I am contacted by people who are interested in working in this space or are already working in this space who reference the Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s white papers, their conferences. It’s not just Virginians who are going to lose the benefit of this high caliber, trusted resource.”
William and Mary says it will centralize and expand its coastal resilience research, scholarship, education and advisory work -- hiring an assistant vice provost and a policy analyst. Four current positions in the law school will be eliminated.