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

Monday, July 30, 2007

For the Monaghan Yes-Man: Might Makes Right

As you've read in the recent posts, there is activity afoot at the law school that has little to do with following principle on the part of Dean Dobranski, but it has everything to do with the attitutde that might makes right.

Founded on Catholic principles, the law school was meant to be a place where people who act on wisdom and truth convene and pursue wisdom in the context of law. It was also meant to be a school that "truly follows the Magisterium" -- even quoting "fides et ratio" on the logo blazon. But, if such a thing were true, why does the chief executive of the school have a need for lashing out and erratic behavior that some might be tempted to call psychotic?

The activity is not so new, but it has a scent of neurosis about it now. Perhaps if this were Hamlet, the Dean would be washing his hands continually. Maybe he is. Some may recall the manner in which Charlie Rice was disposed, even down to mailing his personal effects in boxes. Some other may recall his son walking around on the way to the gym. Others yet may recall the way the Dean subtly beat up students who expressed concerns to the ABA committee on accreditation. But that brings me around to my point: the ABA.

Leaving aside for a moment whether a person who acts on wisdom must be a bully to tothers in order to make them do what is right, and leaving aside the Dean's erratic past, let's look at why he'd be after Safranek now. I will premise my thesis on the idea that for every bully there is a larger enforcer in the universe. In the case of the Dean, the next larger enforcer is the ABA. The ABA has been investigating a faculty complaint. The ABA is also looking at the prospect of allowing the school to close in Michigan and reopen in Florida. There must be some evidence in front of the ABA regarding the erratic behavior and the manenr in which the Dean operates.

This situation alone, not even considering health, family health, his son's teaching faculties, or his dealings in the world of Monaghan finance (look up the 990 for the Ave Maria School of Law Foundation), must place considerable pressure on the Dean. If, as we experienced in the first couple years, he gets all bent out of shape at the idea of people mentioning unexpected issues to the ABA in accreditation reviews, then we know he has to be beside himself with the prospect of a looming ABA investigaiton on the faculty complaint. Likewise, the Monaghan empire is bearing down on him expecting some results for the retirement community there. The poor guy, having relied on his crafty expressions and slippery methods throughout the years, must surely be at wit's end to find a solution. Enter firing Safranek.

Safranek, as many of us know, is a guy whose yes means yes and who strives to be above board with each step of his life. I'm not sure if you catch the contrast I am making, but I am making an important contrast between the players. If Safranek told me that the sky in Ann Arbor was green today, I'd wonder what caused it. If the Dean told me the sky was green today, I'd wonder what he was hiding or what other fact he wanted me not to notice. As such, the Dean needs a way to cause Safranek to have less footing in possible impending fact findings. After all, what better way to make an otherwise credible witness less credible than to place a motive on him?

You got it. In my calculations, it is conceivable that the Dean wants to make it such that when the $__t hits the fan, he can color Safranek as being motivated bny nothing other than retaliation for being fired. Plus, he wants to get rid of Safranek because Safranek is a symbol of what is right with the school. The conscience can get prickly, and, when one's eyes are darkened by some problems, one fails to see what is really pricking someone. Thus, someone speaking truth may be confused with that which actually hurts: the truth. In other words, I surmise that because Safranek has been a truthful and forthright player, the Dean, who acts as though he may have a troubled conscience , needs to rid himself of any reminders that principles have a different conclusion than his own.

Sheer speculation on my part, but we'll see.

I also speculate that any reasons the Dean may put forth will be as laughable as his usual logic. Missing facts, twisted story lines, and assertions that many will see as palpable lies.

The shame in this, in my mind, is that the worldly continue to follow the same storyline: use worldly power to kill truth. It's what they did to Jesus, so I guess, as at least one saint said, who are we to expect less? Meanwhile, let us fight to preserve truth in this battle, as that is what most of us who helped found Ave Maria School of Law sought to do.

It may take a while, but Truth Incarnate will make a show -- this tragedy is at a head. Join me in asking Him, not that things stop, but that the truth, all of it about the school, will be revealed for all to see. Then, reasonable minds will see the good names, and the bad.

Veritas vincit omnia!