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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Make yourself heard!

One week ago today, Dean Bernie Dobranski summarily fired Prof. Charles Rice from his position as Visiting Professor at Ave Maria School of Law. In the intervening week, we've done a lot of hand-wringing and well deserved finger-pointing at those responsible for the travesty. We've also learned of the impact this and other missteps of Dean Dobranski have had on the current and incoming student body.

Action is being taken by representatives of the various constitutencies at the law school, and more will be said about this in later posts. But there is action that you, as students and alumni directly impacted by the atrocious administration of our beloved law school, can be taking as well.

Talk to the Board of Governors. Be polite. Be direct. And most of all, be heard. The Dean has been blessed with a silver tongue and has apparently used that gift to convince remaining and new members of the BoG to forego their fiduciary duties to the institution by subordinating themselves to the will of the "primary benefactor" of the school, Tom Monaghan. The end result, as we have seen, is a de facto sole proprietorship which leaves the fate of a once-promising law school in the hands of one man of questionable qualifications for such a task. An objective Board, when faced with such a situation, would vote to dissolve the corporation before violating their duties thereto. Recent events have shown our BoG to be less than objective.

Will a letter, call, or e-mail to members of the BoG change any minds? Perhaps. The only way to know is to try. And -- whether or not minds are changed -- the BoG members should be clear on one point: students and alumni are interested, concerned, and want them to act in a fashion that is best for our alma mater. Leave them with the inescapable conclusion that we do not want any more of our beloved faculty terminated, and that it is the Dean who should be dismissed. Make it manifest that men and women of integrity should not cooperate in the Dean's breaches of fiduciary duty.

Look to the fate of Ave Maria College. Ave Maria Law does not belong to Tom Monaghan! Stop the Dean from dismantling our beloved law school! If the firing of Prof. Rice doesn't move you to act, what will?

Current Board of Governors

Reverend Michael Scanlan, T.O.R.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, OH 43952
740-283-3771 - main line

Professor Gerard V. Bradley
124 Law School
P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556
574-631-8385 (phone)
574-631-4197 (fax)

Dean Bernard Dobranski
6225 Wester Church Road
Dexter, MI 48130

Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan
5140 Turtle Point Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan
Office of the Cardinal
Archdiocese of New York
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022-4134
["Your Eminence" - no “Dear”]

Professor Helen M. Alvare
The Catholic University of America
Columbus School of Law
3600 John McCormack Road NE
Washington D.C. 20064

Professor Robert P. George
Princeton University
Corwin Hall 244
Princeton, NJ 08544

His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida
Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226
["Your Eminence" - no “Dear”]

Mrs. Kate W. O’Beirne
7014 Holy Road Dr.
McLean, VA 22101

Mr. William F. Harrington
Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP
One North Lexington Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601

The Honorable William H. Pryor
Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse
1729 Fifth Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203

Mr. Peter Carfagna
Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
1400 McDonald Investment Center
800 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114-2688

Michael Uhlmann, Ph.D.
Claremont Graduate University
150 E. 10th Street
Claremont, CA 91711

Mr. Bowie Kuhn
136 Teal Pointe Lane
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

Reverend Joseph D. Fessio, S.J.
1025 Commons Circle
Naples, FL 34119