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

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

FLASHBACK: Dobranski Praises Faculty Governance -- Feb 2000 article reveals a different story

In February 2000, the Ave Maria School of Law was still a buzz. Not yet open, but with students already signed up top start in the Fall.

At that time, the PR machine was touting what the law school was to become. Not just the differences in what it is today, but also listening to the representations made by Monaghan and Dobranski back in those days can be a refreshing revelation that these guys are the problem.

Take, for instance, Ave Maria: a 'Seriously Catholic' Law School. By: Mangan, Katherine S., Chronicle of Higher Education, 00095982, 2/18/2000, Vol. 46, Issue 24 (yes, that's the same Ms. Mangan who is writing today. She wrote a story about us back then.

In it was this gem from Barney about his happiness to be coming to a Catholic school.

"The idea of being a founding dean of a law school is very exciting," he says. For one thing, he will be able to avoid battles with liberal faculty members who, he says, haven't always appreciated his attempts to strengthen the Catholic identity at both Catholic and Detroit Mercy.

"Over the years, a lot of Catholic law schools began to hire people who didn't care about the Catholic mission of the school, and these people are now tenured, full professors," he says. "In this situation, it's difficult to reaffirm your mission because faculty governance is so important." By seeking out scholars who support traditional Catholic views--on issues such as abortion, divorce, and the death penalty--he hopes to avoid that problem.
READ THAT AGAIN! -- "these people are now tenured, full professors, [...] In this situation, it's difficult to reaffirm your mission because faculty governance is so important." Uh, is that the same Barney that is speaking today?


Barney must fight with Faculty everywhere he goes.

Monaghan has some gems out there, too.

With the backing of leading conservative politicians, Mr. Monaghan set out to create the best law school that money could buy. In April, his publicist announced the start of a "world-class Catholic law school" that would attract top legal scholars and students. Those were grandiose claims for a school that was at least two years away from possible accreditation by the American Bar Association. And students hadn't exactly been beating down the doors of existing law schools, which have seen applications slide each year since 1991.

See this post about the LSAT score drops since 2003, when Monaghan announced he wanted to make a fourth class law school in the rural Everglades.

STANDARD 405(a) anyone?
Remember these claims of the school's future ability to attract law professors?

To that end, the dean and his advisers have drawn up a "dream team" of about 36 superstars in Catholic legal education, and the dean says he has contacted each one personally. None of them has joined Ave Maria yet, but Mr. Dobranski says he is in "serious negotiations" with several. Included on the list is G. Robert Blakey, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who is one of the nation's foremost authorities on racketeering and criminal law. "I'd certainly consider spending a year as a visiting professor, but we haven't gotten to the point of discussing Specific terms," says Mr. Blakey, who helped advise the school on its curriculum.
Professor Blakey probably saw what happened to one of the other superstars, Charlie Rice.

I love this quote, too, about Monaghan's intentions of staying out of the school's affairs:

Several law professors who are familiar with Mr. Monaghan find that hard to believe, however, and some predict he'll play an active, behind-the-scenes role. Mr. Dobranski concedes that when he has a hot faculty prospect, "Tom's not shy about getting on the phone."
Tom must not be shy about getting on the phone when he doesn't like faculty, either.

Check out this quote on MORALITY.

Mr. Dobranski says he welcomes the addition of the St. Thomas school, and doesn't view it as a competitor. "The more of us who are trying to offer an education that integrates law and morality, the better," he says.
Actually, I'm glad St. Thomas is there to show everyone how a real founder works and how morality is not something positivistic depending on what the founder says this week. A tale of two cities.

For all the hubbub raised about Ave Maria's mission and curriculum, one University of Michigan law professor who helped evaluate the school for the Michigan Department of Education came away impressed. [...] He says he was told that students and faculty members would be free to discuss views at odds with those of the Roman Catholic Church.
They can, but they can't disagree with Mr. Monaghan, or Barney will remove them, strip tenure, deny tenure, insinuate things about them and otherwise make a bad name for Catholic education.

To get your one copy of the full article, check out the citation above, or go to the website, or toll free phone: Katherine S. Mangan. The Chronicle of Higher Education: (http://chronicle.com) 1-800-728-2803