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

Monday, October 09, 2006

Questions for the Dean

If these questions seem a bit disjointed, please keep in mind that they were formulated and asked over a period of 5-6 months.

1. At the regular April meeting, the Dean explained why the post-tenure review had been postponed. In this post-tenure review, what type of behavior merits revocation of tenure? Would opposal to a move to Florida be behavior that merited a removal of tenure?

2. At the regular April meeting, the Dean mentioned that, as late as last February, he was under the impression that Ave Maria would not be ranked in the US News rankings. What representations supported this impression? Also, when was the first time the Dean learned about the rankings, e.g., when the magazine came out on newsstands or earlier?

3. In the first years, incoming student GPAs and LSATs were comparable to top tier schools. The recent Winter 2006 Advocate profile about the Dean and Mr. Monaghan states that this is a "remarkable achievement" for a new law school, and that a big challenge facing Ave Maria is to maintain the high quality of the school. The current US News rankings indicate that these scores have dropped, to levels comparable to 3rd or 4th tier schools. Is the law school still committed to getting top-tier quality students? How can incoming student quality be improved? In the Dean's opinion, does the reopening of the feasibility study and the resulting potential school instability hurt this commitment to attract top-tier students?

4. If the Board of Governors decides against moving to Florida, will Mr. Monaghan continue to support the law school with his generous donations? Are Mr. Monaghan's donations dependent on the school's future in Florida?

5. The recent Winter 2006 Advocate profile about the Dean and Mr. Monaghan gives a history of the school which does not mention the founding faculty who suggested the creation of a new Catholic law school to Mr. Monaghan, which seems to contradict the history of the school given in the 2002 Advocate profile of Prof. Safranek and a Fall 2004 University of Toledo Law Review written by the Dean. How can these two seemingly contradictory recountings of the school's history be reconciled? Why does the recent 2006 Advocate article neglect to mention the contribution of the faculty who first suggested the idea of a new law school to Mr. Monaghan?

6. Because of the term limits on members of the Board of Governors, the term of several members of the Board may be up this summer. Replacements for them and for the empty seat from Judge Ryan will probably have to be filled before a decision on the school's potential move to Florida is made in September. That means that perhaps up to eight members of the Board will have been on the Board for nine months or less at the time of the vote. The decision concerning the school's future is a weighty one, and some alumni have expressed concerns that some of the new Board members may not have sufficient background and familiarity with all the issues surrounding this important decision. What are your thoughts on these alumni concerns?

Questions related to the reopened feasibility study
7. Why is the Lord & Associates company not being used to conduct the re-opened feasibility study? Did Lord do an inadequate job last time, or do Deans Reed and White bring a greater level of expertise to the job, or is there some other reason for the change?

8. Once the feasibility study is completed, when do you believe the Board plans to consider the results of the study and take a vote on a move to Florida? Also, do you believe that the Board will entertain comments from, or have meetings with, various interested constituencies after the feasibility study has been finished and submitted to the Board, but prior to voting on a move to Florida?

9. What was the result of the recent Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, which considered the updated feasibility study accomplished by Deans Reed and White?

10. Apparently, at the recent student Town Hall meeting this week, it was said that the term limit rule for the Board of Governors would not be enforced in the coming months, in order to retain the services of some members of the Board of Governors. Is this true, and if so, what is the reason for the non-enforcement of the term limit rule?