The N.C. Senate's budget proposal would cut $3 million from the UNC School of Law's budget.
The amendment, added to the budget by N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Buncombe, Wednesday night, directs the funds to the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville instead. The center is both a health care provider and an educator of health professionals.
N.C. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, said he was surprised by the move, as were many of his colleagues — both Democrats and Republicans.
"It just seemed to be an unfair choice that (Apodaca) was making," Woodard said.
Chancellor Carol Folt expressed concern with the Senate's decision.
"We are disappointed and surprised with the Senate’s proposal to reduce funding to the University of North Carolina School of Law," Folt said in a statement.
"Our incoming dean Martin Brinkley and I will continue to meet with state lawmakers to underscore the importance of state support in maintaining a premier law school that provides great value to our state.”
UNC law professor Alfred Brophy said the value the law school adds to the state can be found in the impact of graduates — whether it's directly defending the state or bringing needed skills to wherever they end up.
"The people who've had the opportunity to come here go back to, often times, whatever little community they're from, and then they're leaders of that community," Brophy said.