A local legal center may file suit against the University, claiming it does not abide by a city ordinance requiring it to provide scholarships to needy Philadelphia residents, President Sheldon Hackney announced yesterday. Hackney said at yesterday's University Council meeting that the Public Interest Law Center may be filing a suit against the University, charging that it is not holding up its end of the agreement with the city and demanding that it offer more "Mayor's Scholarships." A series of city ordinances and agreements starting in 1882 require the University to give out the monetary equivalent of 125 full scholarships each year in exchange for land. Hackney said at the meeting that he met with Mayor Wilson Goode this summer about the scholarships, and both the city and the University agreed the University is complying with the ordinance. And General Counsel Shelley Green said the University has abided by the agreements. "We have been working with the city for a long time," Green said. "Recently we have been discussing with the city whether they are satisfied and the city has said it's satisfied." Legal Center attorney Thomas Gilhool declined to comment yesterday. In the last academic year there were 162 Mayor's Scholars enrolled at the University, and according to Green, and the scholarships were valued at over $1.5 million. In 1882, the University agreed to establish and maintain 50 scholarships in exchange for land near what is currently the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Green said. The scholarships amounted to a total of $7500. This was increased in June 1910, when a city ordinance required the University to establish and maintain 75 additional scholarships in any department of the University. The scholarships were designated for deserving students who attended any high school in the city. In exchange, the University acquired additional land. On August 1, 1977, the University entered into a new agreement that consolidated the two plans so the city could remove deed restrictions that prevented the University from mortgaging the land. The University agreed "to establish and forever maintain at least one hundred twenty-five four-year, full tuition scholarships, or their equivalent, in any of the Departments of the University, to be awarded annually by the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia to deserving students from all of the schools of the City." Staff writer Christine Lutton contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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