I’m happy for Campbell University’s law school (officially the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law), which moves into fancy new digs in downtown Raleigh this week. Moving the school from bucolic Buies Creek to the capital city was a good move for Campbell and for Raleigh, which had been the largest state capital without an in-town law school.
What I’m not happy about is the way student life at Campbell University was portrayed in the Raleigh News & Observer’s reporting of the move, at least in the opening sentence. The story began this way: “Last year, Campbell law students emerged from their windowless basement study area each day for the same three lunch options: Chick-fil-A, Quiznos or Chinese food.”
In the first place, the basement study area, windowless though it may be, is in one of the nicest buildings on campus. It’s not at all unusual for study rooms, on any campus, to be located in basement or interior rooms where distractions are few. When I was in graduate school at Duke, study carrels for religion majors were located deep in the dank sub-basement of the school’s labyrinthine library.
Secondly, the reporter and her editors were either ill-informed or have not visited Campbell, where lunch options aren’t nearly as limited as implied. Meals may not be as fancy as Raleigh’s uptown restaurants like Sono or The Mint, and corner bars are thankfully lacking, but eateries are not limited — as the article states — to “the same three lunch options: Chick-fil-A, Quiznos or Chinese food.”
The campus also hosts two large cafeterias: at Marshbanks students (and faculty) can gorge on a daily smorgasbord of all-you-care-to-eat buffet options, and at Shouse students can choose from a changing cafeteria menu or satisfy their fast-food cravings for pizza from Papa John’s or Mexican from Jole Mole (pronounced “Holy Moley,” of course). The university also operates a popular grill and sandwich shop called the Oasis. Many other options are available in Angier, Lillington, or Dunn, all of which are within five miles — and in an area with no traffic, that’s equivalent to a few blocks in Raleigh.
Buies Creek fare may be more pedestrian than the sushi, buckwheat noodles, or truffled mac and cheese that law students can find in Raleigh, but it’s certainly not lacking. As for the absence of neighborhood bars in Buies Creek, I’m prudish enough to think that’s a blessing. For the past 20 years, Campbell law has led the state in the number of students passing the bar exam: that’s the bar to celebrate.
Meanwhile, students and faculty in Buies Creek may miss their colleagues in the law school, but they also get their former space: after suitable renovations, the cramped Carrie Rich library and the English department will move into the vacated Kivett and Wiggins halls. The former library space will then be renovated for a new Physician’s Assistant program — and they’ll all have plenty to eat.