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

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dobranski Statement on ABA Inquiry

The following statement regarding the ABA inquiry was sent by Dean Dobranski to all members of the Ave Maria Community today, Friday, August 24, 2007.
To Members of the Ave Maria Community

The American Bar Association has reviewed the numerous allegations against Ave Maria School of Law filed by undisclosed faculty members. Of all of the various allegations regarding school governance, academic freedom, and other issues, the only matter on which the ABA has asked us to report regards faculty hiring and retention. We will, of course, provide the ABA with all of the relevant information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the ABA Standard.

Although the ABA treats this process confidentially - and it is our intention to do the same - a brief update on where the near-completed process currently stands was warranted, given the level of misrepresentation and speculation which has surfaced regarding the ABA's inquiry.

We look forward to completing this process in the months ahead in cooperation with the ABA, and to moving forward with all members of the Ave Maria community -faculty, students, and graduates - in pursuit of our shared mission and vision.
The ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools state the following:
Standard 405. Professional Environment
(a) A law school shall establish and maintain conditions adequate to attract and retain a competent faculty.

Interpretation 405-3
A law school shall have a comprehensive system for evaluating candidates for promotion and tenure or other forms of security of position, including written criteria and procedures that are made available to the faculty.

Interpretation 405-4
A law school not a part of a university in considering and decidind on appointment, termination, promotion, and tenure of faculty members should have procedures that contain the same principles of fairness and due process that should be employed by a law school that is part of a university. If the dean and faculty have made a recommendation that is unfavorable to a candidate, the candidate should be given an opportunity to appeal to the president, chairman, or governing board.

Rule of Procedure 13 of the Standards is the following:
Rule 13. Action Concerning Apparent Non-Compliance with Standards
(a) If the Committee has reason to believe that a law school does not comply with the Standards, the Committee shall inform the school of its apparent non-compliance and request the school to furnish by a date certain further information about the matter and about action taken to bring the school in compliance with the Standards. The school shall furnish the requested information to the Committee.

Update: Rule 13 goes on to state the following:
(b) If, upon a review of the information furnished by the law school in response to the Committee's request and other relevant information, the Committee determines that the school has not demonstrated compliance with the Standards, the school may be required to appear at a hearing before the Committee to be held at a specified time and place to show cause why the school should not be required to take appropriate remedial action, have sanctions imposed upon it or be placed on probation, or be removed from the list of law schools approved by the Association.

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