University shuts down Rappaport Center

By Sam Humphrey and Melissa Hanson

The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service was shut down by Suffolk University on Monday, officials said, leaving an air of disappointment for some of those involved.

Alasdair Roberts, the center’s chair in law and public policy and a Suffolk Law professor, joined the Center in 2008, one year after its opening.

“I am disappointed and surprised by the closure of the center and the termination of the endowed chair,” said Roberts.

Suffolk University was one of six Boston-area schools to participate in the Rappaport Fellowship Program, which “is a bold attempt to attract, train, inspire, and connect the next generation of civic leaders and policy shapers,” according to its website.

“The Center had two main functions: to promote leadership and public service and to provide a forum for discussion about law and public policy in Massachusetts, like the gubernatorial roundtables,” which took place at the law school earlier in 2014, according to Roberts.

Greg Massing, the director of the center, was not available for comment on Tuesday.

The Center also ran “fellowship programs for Suffolk Law students, career counseling for those interested in public service, a pro bono program, and provided support for other students groups with public policy interest,” Roberts said, adding that “the law school students used the center’s services quite extensively.”

On Monday, university spokesman Greg Gatlin said Suffolk “is reallocating the resources to other Law School endeavors that will benefit Suffolk students.”

No further comments from the university were available Tuesday.

In an article by The Boston Business Journal, it was reported any of the $5 million endowment remaining from the opening of the center must be repaid by Suffolk.

A call to the Rappaport Foundation seeking comment was not immediately returned.