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

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two Common Misconceptions About Ave Maria School of Law

1. Because Tom Monaghan owns Ave Maria School of Law, he can do what he wants with it.

Incorrect. Tom Monaghan does not own AMSOL. He is two things: 1))a donor, and 2) a member of the Board of Governors. As a donor, Tom Monaghan is no different from me or you or anyone who sends the school a check. As a member of the Board of Governors, Tom Monaghan is only one member of a larger group that "may establish general policies" for the law school. (ABA Standard 207). Tom Monaghan cannot act as an individual in control of the law school. Also, as a Board member, Tom Monaghan has a fiduciary duty to the law school to act in the best interests of the school. The best interests of the law school are NOT equal to the best interests of Tom Monaghan or the best interests of Ave Maria University.

2. The faculty are like employees at a private corporation, have no say in the governance of the law school, and so, have no right to complain about what is happening.

Incorrect. The faculty are professors at a non-profit, ABA-accredited law school, and as such, the faculty have an important role in the governance of the law school. The faculty have a "significant role in determining educational policy" of the law school. (ABA Standard 207). Also, the law school is not a private corporation and it is not a entity run as a sole proprietorship. It is a non-profit entity governed by a Board of Governors and run by the dean and the faculty. The Board of Governors "may establish general policies that are applicable to a law school if they are consistent with the Standards" but it is the dean and the faculty who "shall formulate and administer the educational program of the law school, including curriculum; methods of instruction; admissions; and academic standards for retention, advancement, and graduation of students; and shall recommend the selection, retention, promotion, and tenure (or granting of security of position) of the faculty." (ABA Standard 205).

The ABA Standards for accredited law schools are here.

Note: I reserve the right to edit comments that get out of hand. I will not edit opposing viewpoints but may edit comments for tone if they fall below my own personal standard of what is reasonable discourse. I also reserve the right to be too busy to do anything about the comments and to leave comments which you might feel are inappropriate.