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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dobranski Nervous, Sucks Butt

Ann Arbor (AP)--Where once blogs were negligible, now they are a part of a new strategy for Bernard Dobranski, Dean of the troubled Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL). After a two-year period of thrashing by the "new media" that even noted PR firm Robert Falls & Co. could not overcome, Dobranski has taken his message to a blog!

Various commentators speculate as to the reasons for this major shift in policy of the administration, but AMSL insiders consider the effort spearheaded by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's former law clerk and Alumni Board Member Matthew Bowman'03 to be having a significant impact on the Dean's new direction. In a resolution passed by the AMSL Alumni Association Board of Directors on Tuesday, a Petition was initiated by the body to call for the immediate reinstatement of Professors Stephen Safranek, Edward Lyons and Phil Pucillo who were eliminated from the faculty a mere several weeks before the start of the fall semester on spurious grounds. The deep rift in the community became even more pronounced, when Dobranski made a call for prayer for the law school--initiated by Professors Richard Myers and Mollie Murphy and echoed by the Alumni Board--a point of contention and division by stating that it was "...further evidence of the breakdown between the Alumni Board and the Law School and a continuation of the adversarial relationship many on the [Alumni] Board have created."

Dr. Ernst von Fulhaber, Professor of Canon Law at the Collegio San Ignazio, was flabbergasted: "Prayer as 'evidence of an adversarial relationship?' Of a 'breakdown between the Alumni Board and the Law School?' This is a very sick man. I pity him. To discourage people from praying for grace and knowledge of God's will, demonstrates that this problem is spiritual and points to a man in deep inner turmoil." Fulhaber continued, "We must be careful not to assume or judge what is going on in Dobranski's soul, but what is clear is that his statement contra orationem defies any sort of Catholic sensibility." Another take on the issue came from an AMSL insider who wishes to remain anonymous: "Dobranski is nervous. He knows that Monaghan has not ruled out the option of ditching the law school altogether. Given Monaghan's track record, it is not unlikely that he would give Bernie is walking papers in rather short order--if anything, because Bernie has embarrassed him beyond repair." When asked about the unwavering support of the Board of Governors, the source commented, "I cannot be sure, but it seems that as long as they feel they are insulated in this whole thing, they don't give a damn. Hence the resignations. C'mon, if term limits are in effect and one's time as a governor is up, why would you bother to send in a resignation?" He continued, "Now Robbie George can go back to Princeton and raise money to throw dinners in honor of himself; Helen Alvare can go back to Catholic University and continue living off the capital she gained as the USCCB's pretty pro-life face; Gerry Bradley can say from his plush position at Notre Dame that he voted against the move, but we will always remember that he was an apologist for the current governance up until the time of his vote."

So what is next for AMSL? Nobody knows. A recent observation seems to sum up well the governance of the school: Every day, before he walks into AMSL's building on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, Dean Dobranski can be seen smoking a cigarette outside his vehicle. Not only does he merely smoke the cigarette, but he smokes it to the very last--to the end of the butt. Perhaps, he needs courage; perhaps, he really likes cigarettes. But what is clear is that it is the vision of a shell of a man--one who has labored on the wrong side. It is the vision of a man who has put forth all for an unworthy cause, to the point of discouraging prayer on August 15, the feast of the law school's namesake. Perhaps, he needs a Hail Mary just as much as the law school.