You just never know what can happen when you search for a cure for cancer in your spare time.
Mr. John Kanzius, while working on a cure for cancer, has discovered how to burn salt water. That's right, SALT WATER.
Consider for a moment the impact our thirst for oil has had on our civilization. Energy is costly to source, deliver and use. It shapes our economy, influences our foreign policy, and impacts our environment.
What would happen if that all changes? What if there is a radical paradigm shift in energy supply that is akin to the impact of the Internet on "old media", where instead of energy being rare and costly, centralized in a cartel and dirty to use, it becomes cheap and plentiful, decentralized and clean?
How would the world change if energy was basically free?
Before getting your hopes up too much, one thing the story doesn't address is the amount of energy needed to generate the radio waves necessary for this energy supply to work.
The latest from AveWatch shows the interesting dynamics of the Ave Maria world. What are the restrictions/limitations of interplay between for-profits and not-for-profits? TSM a benevolent benefactor or "rogue philanthropist?"
The great French preacher Lacordaire once said the vocation of the soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.
Sergeants are proverbially believed to be hard and tough. It is not likely that they were any different on Calvary. It was a Roman sergeant, so used to scenes of blood, who ran a spear into the side of Christ.
But he was converted on that battlefield, and in that very hour he declared his faith: "Indeed, this is the son of God." Maybe [our soldiers] can find Christ on the battlefield too.
[from Fulton Sheen's Wartime Prayer Book (originally published as The Armor of God, 1943)]
To all our Soliders, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Let's ignore for a minute the fact that the Transition Team tacitly admits that AMSL is a subsidiary of the Ave Maria Foundation. (That being said, I leave it to the Michigan Attorney General to check this out.) Nevertheless, since the "package" of incentives for faculty and staff are being dealt with by the Foundation, it might be nice to check out who they will likely be dealing with.
Indeed it is Mr. Paul Roney, Treasurer of the Ave Maria Foundation. What do we know about this guy? Well, besides his perfect hair, wicked cool tan and longstanding affiliation with Monaghan, we have discovered a tidbit that merits some reflection by all interested parties. For ease, I call it the Roney Philosophy; he describes it as the way the Ave Maria Foundation does business. It is useful to consider this philosophy to see how the Foundation puts it in practice. Consider some signficant passages:
Given the obvious connection of AMSL to the Foundation, I consider the Roney Philosophy to be significant. Setting aside the fact that he sounds like a damn Protestant with all the "ministry," "Lord's work b.s.," and "feelings talk" his prescription for integrating the faith with one's profession isn't all that bad. The only remaining question is: "What gives? Why does the Foundation boast this way of doing business, but the practical experience of those in its affiliated entities indicate something different?" It may be one of the following:
Either: (a) Monaghan didn't get the Roney Philosophy Memo, (b) Roney has the whitewashed tomb syndrome, or (c) the lessons learned in business are appropriate and necessary for spreading the Kingdom of God--if the Church doesn't agree, She should probably stick to theology and leave business to the professionals.
This was sent by Dean Milhizer to the Law School Community this morning. He sent it as a word document to all. (I anxiously await Advocatus and Casimir's witticisms regarding this latest communication.)
Dear Law School Community:
Please find below an update regarding the activities of the Transition Team.
A display containing floor plans and watercolor renderings of the new facility in Florida was set up in the second-floor hallway near the elevator, before students departed for the summer. The plans incorporate several significant changes to the facility based on input from faculty, staff, and students during the design process. A box for suggestions and questions is included as part of the display. We continue to receive constructive questions and recommendations regarding the new facility. Those addressed to us by name have received a personalized response.
Two frequently asked questions about the display and our answers to them are set out below:
• In the watercolor rendering of the new building, why does the sign in front of it say “Ave Maria University?” What does this mean regarding the Law School’s affiliation or attachment to the University? Has something changed? Nothing has changed regarding the relationship between our Law School and the University. The two will remain separate legal entities with separate governing boards. Because the Law School will occupy a prominent site near the entrance to the campus along the main thoroughfare, we would expect that some sign announcing the entry to the University campus would be located somewhat near the Law School (the perspective of the drawing distorts distance, however, as preliminary plans have the University sign located hundreds of yards away from the Law School). In any event, the Law School will have its own prominent signage. While the matter of signage was initially raised during the design meetings, this involves a level of detail that would not be directly addressed as part of the initial facility design and construction process. Any signs appearing on renderings in the display are simply notional.
• Regarding the timing of the display, why was it posted before final examinations were completed? Couldn’t this be distracting to some students? The display was set up as soon as possible after the completion of a series of design group meetings, which resulted in several substantial changes to the plans for the facility. To set up the display earlier would have been premature and not nearly as informative. To wait until after final examinations to set it up would result in the information being unavailable to most students, many of whom had previously expressed interest in the facility plans. This would have been inconsistent with the Transition Team's goal of providing prompt, accurate, and useful information about the relocation. Accordingly, we believed that the preferred course was to set up a display that allowed those who were interested to view it and those who were not (or would find this to be distracting) to ignore it or defer viewing it until a later time.
Regarding another matter, the Law School continues to work with the Foundation to develop and finalize a package of relocation and other possible incentives for faculty and staff. It will be announced to the community once this is determined in a more concrete form.
The Transition Team encourages questions and suggestions regarding the relocation and transition process. These can be emailed to the Transition Team at email@example.com.
Because of commencement, final examinations, and other events and demands of the previous few weeks, the monthly meeting of the Transition Team scheduled for May 21 was cancelled. The next meeting of the Transition Team is scheduled for Monday, June 25.
A perceptive observer of all things AMSL recently wrote to me:
Why, given the Board's decision [to move the school to Florida], were none of them at the Press Conference? Why don't we have quotes from Helen [Alvare] and Robby [George] about how great this move is on the AMSL website? Why have they all distanced themselves from this entire project? The only quotes are Bowie, Bork, Dobranski.
That is "no confidence" no matter what anybody says.
In your alumni mailboxes today was a shining gem of inductive persuasion and conclusory logic that once again Uncle Tom can do no wrong, but you meddling kids are f'ing up the cabin.
Wow! The non existent blogs are suddenly important when they can be the cause of Uncle Tom's bad decisions. External Relations efforts? To whom? The little old biddies in SW Florida? Maybe he means the extra picnics on the back deck. External to what? Maybe he means the dean was talking to people in the hall instead of in his office. Nevertheless, he thinks they have been talking to people, about what? we don't know. Only thing they talk about anymore is Florida. Florida ruined the reputation, not the blogs.
The common denominator is not the blogs, it's not Florida, it's the governance, stupid. (but you're just a caveman, and say that you are new to the scene, so you know better than all of us).
It took them this long to admit this? Several alumni have been hearing this message for YEARS. Sorry, Charlie, you lose again.
"Clearly" We learned in law school that the word clearly is used to disguise a conclusory statement by lazy logicians and those who are inducing an audience to reach an otherwise unsatisfactory conclusion. Maybe you should learn the limits imposed by morality on zealous advocacy. Oh wait, that only applies in class. Like Uncle Tom says, Mother Church should stick to morals and stay out of business decisions. Cheap rhetoric is for businessmen, like you.
The "I'm just a caveman" argument got old on Saturday Night Live years ago. After two years, you should have informed your mind far more than you say, and you should be able to rationally discuss the objects, as opposed to playing coy with now seasoned attorneys. Sorry Charlie, the jury just noted that you're trying to be a shyster. Are you going to cry for us too? John Edwards uses that one a lot during closing argument.
Business Orgs: F. The Board may be recognized, but that does not mean they are acting within the bounds of their authority, nor does it mean that they are following the charter of a Michigan nonprofit entity. It also doesn't ensure they haven't breached a number of fiduciary and moral duties. Nice try, Charlie, but try again. Are you gonna cry now? (John Edwards would, John Kerry might, too).
accrue to Collier County? Who the F cares about Collier County? Are you working for the County? We are concerned about AMSOL, not some freaking county in a distant state, nor about padding Bernie's love parachute behind a Florida bungalow, aka Uncle Tom's cabin. Face it, Charlie, you don't even care about AMSOL, at least your rhetoric doesn't say that you do. I suggest that you cry now -- the jury is waiting for it so they can at least say that you made a good show.
Stop expecting to spoon feed us as if we were morons and perhaps we won't fight. There's an idea. Oh wait, this isn't about the law school, you want want to accrue benefits to counties and Uncle Tom.
By the way, Chuck, we're tired of being treated like morons by idiotic rhetoric like yours. Try approaching us like the reasonable adults that we are and perhaps we won't make a parody of your lunacy then.
Sometimes history repeats itself. The exact manner and circumstances of the repetition are not always identical, but the similarities are significant enough to allow us to say that it is a "repetition." Such is the strange case of eccentric Catholic millionaire Harry John. Harry John was the grandson of Frederick Miller. All good Catholics in the midwest should know Miller as the founder of the Miller Brewing Company. As heir to the Miller Brewing fortune, John amassed great wealth and decided to dedicate that wealth to Catholic causes. For that purpose, he founded the De Rance Foundation.
The De Rance Foundation was the brainchild of Harry John....The gangling, eccentric Harry John looked more like a homeless man than a millionaire....In the 1950's, this wild visionary, compelled by faith, plowed his entire 47 percent stake in Miller Brewing Company stock into the De Rance Foundation....Harry John later sold out to Phillip Morris for $97 million. With the cash, he underwrote deep-sea treasure expeditions, collected reams of religious art, fed his personal obsession with the Sacred Heart, and built a plum-colored headquarters for the foundation on the outskirts of Milwaukee.
....Racks of religious art, pickaxes, and bowls of exotic nuts littered Harry John's office. Though fascinated by [Mother Angelica], he was not convinced that she could start a TV network.
Arroyo recounts the story of Mother Angelica's relationship--albeit brief--with Mr. John. He was extremely generous in donating some of the start up cash for EWTN. After the initial donation, Mother Angelica returned to Mr. John again. From Arroyo's book:
[The nuns] abbess headed to Milwaukee to meet with Harry John. This time, she asked for $700,000 to pay off a portion of the satellite dish. So long as he could control the dish, John was willing to donate the money. It was a deal that Angelica refused to accept, even as her options dwindled. Convinced that she needed independence, she accepted a bank loan for the money at a prime interest rate that could have been as high as 23 percent.
Willing to bet what was left of his stake of the Miller Brewing Company fortune, Harry John impetuously founded Santa Fe Communications, a twenty-four-hour state-of-the-art Catholic cable network. Never mind that he knew virtually nothing about television. Inspired by the example of Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and, yes, Mother Angelica, Harry John believed that he could improve the Christian TV genre. He immediately purchased Gower Studios in Hollywood and a chain of satellite studios...Top-flight writers, producers, directors, and technical staff were recruited to man the facilities. The very best equipment lined Santa Fe's control rooms.
Harry John would eventually spend more than $2 million a week on his television colossus....Santa Fe Communications had seriously drained John's financial wellspring by that point. In little more than a year, $100 million of his De Rance Foundation assets were gone. Hard up for cash, John borrowed against his home and raided his children's education funds, until his wife had had enough. Concerned about his judgment to say nothing of the wild spending, Erica John petitioned the court for a restraining order, essentially removing Harry from the Board of De Rance.
Sound familiar? Replace the Miller Brewing Company with Domino's. Replace the De Rance Foundation with Ave Maria Foundation. Replace deep-sea treasure expeditions with buying a major league baseball franchise, antique cars or Al Jolson recordings. Replace plum-colored headquarters with Frank Lloyd-Wright inspired architecture. The art fetish seems to be a common denominator. One millionaire who knows nothing about television thinking that he could improve the Christian TV genre with the best equipment and facilities; another millionaire who knows nothing about university education/legal education thinking that he could improve Catholic higher education with the best equipment and facilities. One millionaire who would donate with the proviso that he would control...ok, two millionaires who would donate with the proviso that they would control. One millionaire who drained his Foundation's assets...two?
What are the odds of two Catholic eccentric millionaires in such similar circumstances? Are the supporters of Monaghan attempting to save him from the same fate as Harry John: a mentally imbalanced man abandoned by all--even by those he loved? We are tough on Mr. Monaghan to be sure, but a similar end we do not wish for him. It would be shameful if those closest to him did not prevent such an end.
The objective of the [Read and White] feasibility study was not to look at the financial aspects of the move, but was focused on demographics and economics, [Dobranski] said. The board created its own task force to examine the costs and financial benefits, and the task force's results were shared with the entire board, Dobranski said, adding that those results were not shared with the faculty because information from board meetings is confidential.
We all know that the Read and White study merely stated that the demographics/economics of Southwest Florida could support a law school, while explicitly declining to address whether a move for AMSOL was a good idea or not. In this quote from the article, it sounds like Dean Dobranski is admitting that the actual reasons for the move, the pros/cons and costs/benefits of a move, continue to remain confidential. WHY? If the move is a good idea, please tell us the benefits of the move and how they outweigh the costs!
Another quote from the article:
Ave Maria School of Law has no affiliation to Ave Maria University, but shares Monaghan as its founder. He also chairs the board of governors for both schools.
Isn't this quote illogical? "No affiliation" means having "no connection." But both schools are headed by the same person (not to mention "founded" by the same person, share names, share some board of governors members, and share locations come 2009.) It's ludicrous to say that there is no connection between Ave Maria School of Law and Ave Maria University.
You may remember that we recently gave word that one of our esteemed AMSL grads had landed a very impressive position as EWTN's first official General Counsel. Well, in case you still have no idea who that AMSL grad is, allow me to inform you that it is none other than John Manos, Class of 2003!
For those who know John, you know him to be a thoughtful, fun, and insightful man. He brings good humor and a colorful spin to every situation, and, in my view, has a rare ability to see problems from angles that the Average Joe misses. These skills will no doubt serve him well in his new post at EWTN, and I congratulate John on this accomplishment. Not only is it a great thing for all of us as AMSL grads - the position of General Counsel at such an important entity for one of our grads can only help the school's prestige - but it is a testament to John's skill, background and great personality that he takes on this important role at a relatively young age (don't be fooled by the gray hair).
Good choice EWTN, and best of luck to you, John!
Here is the press release from EWTN on John's hiring:
If you are in Alabama, stop in and see John at EWTN. If you don't get that channel at home, shame on you!!
And there is some speculation that MSNBC and CNN misreported the winner of the previous debate.
There is something refreshing about a real point of view in these debates, and a candidate that isn't perfectly polished with canned answers.
Oh, and given the historic issues of the day, there is something powerful about a candidate who leaves no confusion about the dignity of life from conception to natural death especially when he has delivered thousands of babies.
UPDATE: The chairman of the Michigan Republican Party is trying to have Ron Paul banned from all future debates . . . odd considering that he is doing so well in the debates. The issue is his blowback analysis of our foriegn policy as contributing to 9/11.
Me thinks the real issue is Ron Paul is deviating from the acceptable Republican script and advancing traditional conservative positions rather than neo-conservative positions.
My post from yesterday on "Pope Giuliani" got me thinking more about conscience--what it is, its proper formation and how it has been understood. The intent of yesterday's post was not to engage in an exhaustive treatment of conscience , but rather to point out--by way of example--what Chesterton would call the "thoughtlessness of modern thought." Today, I submit a selection from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In 1991, Ratzinger gave an address to the College of Cardinals entitled "The Problem of Threats to Human Life." This is a document that should be in every Catholic's arsenal to provide the intellectual framework to combat the dominant culture of death. In light of my post of yesterday and as the politicians ramp up their campaigns, I submit this particularly timely and important passage to our readers from the mind of the reigning Pontiff:
There is much here to address. First of all, a legitimate question might be "whence the lack of philosophical acumen and theological sophistication?" For a person who thinks himself qualified to speak on the great issues of the day, his statements demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of basic terms and principles. It is one thing to clearly and honestly state that one rejects the Catholic faith, but it is quite another to attempt to sell oneself as a contradiction in terms.
Let us address Mr. Giuliani's statements. His first statement is in the indicative, i.e., he is making an objective statement (not unlike "Grass is green."). Unfortunately, his definition of religion is inaccurate. Religio in Latin literally means, "supernatural constraint," "worship," or "obligation." The noun may also etymologically come from the Latin verb ligare which means "to bind." The various English words used as translations of the Latin imply a certain attachment to something higher. Indeed, etymologically, it seems to be proper conduct in accord with the directives of a divine superior. The definition of "religion" in its simplest terms is thus: The moral virtue by which a person is disposed to render to God the worship and service He deserves. In other words, the proper conduct owed to God by virtue of one's binding himself to Him. This is much different than the theological articulation provided by Mr. Giuliani. First of all, it seems that Mr. Giuliani cannot articulate the true nature of religion and therefore merely relegates it as "something" between one and one's "conscience" and one's "spiritual advisers." Note the Clintonian rhetoric. Use words that resonate to Catholic ears--"conscience," "spiritual advisers," "confessors" and "God." But notice that he doesn't define what religion actually is and rather serves up an entree of seemingly innocent language that appeals to Americans' appetite not to offend.
Likewise, Giuliani doesn't know the meaning of "conscience." Conscience is the judgement of the practical reason to a particular circumstance based upon principles known to the intellect either through the light of natural reason or through faith responding to divine revelation. Given the context of the statement made by Giuliani and the similar statements made in the past by politicians under similar circumstances, it seems that these folks understand conscience as an exercise of the will to choose a particular course of action; or perhaps one's particular feeling without recognition of the first principles that should guide the judgment of the intellect. At bottom, a confusion between intellect and will.
In his desire to assert that religion is a private matter, he contradicts himself by including other persons--namely God, spiritual advisers and confessors. How can religion be private if these others are included? Further, Giuliani identifies himself as a Catholic. Is he not identifing himself as a member of a larger group, i.e., the Church? And if so, how can he exclude the Pope or his significance to that larger group from the equation? Finally, and most obviously, as soon as he opened his mouth to talk about religion, Guiliani admits that it is not a private matter--he is discussing it with the American people! By his own words, Guiliani cannot claim that religion is private.
I need not get into the theological inaccuracies of Mr. Giuliani's position. He has shown himself to be, at best, woefully ignorant of basic terms and principles; or, at worst, a liar. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. I don't know what motivates Giuliani, I cannot see into his soul nor do I presume to know. Likewise, he is a human person endowed with freedom to choose what position he wishes. But legitimate questions should arise: Is this indicative of his governing style? Will Giuliani govern in accord with right reason or will he rule by sheer force of his will? Can we trust him to make sound decisions or is this another case of empty rhetoric?
Cicero once commented that "knowledge of the principles of right living is what makes men better." I am not confident that Giuliani has that knowledge.
I surmise from others that it was because the Alumni Board of Directors continually ripped his head off at each Alumni Board meeting. Nothing against Mr. Kelley--he was merely doing his duty (hmmm...). Poor old Dobranski was too much of a coward to actually come to the meetings so maybe Kelley was sick of being his "designee." I guess this also leaves an opening in the Transition Team.
It is fitting that Commencement takes place today--Mother's Day. All of us have several mothers: our natural mother; Our Blessed Mother; Holy Mother Church; and our alma mater. Professor Rice, in his jurisprudence course, always reminded his students that the things of this world--governments, constitutions, etc.--will eventually pass away; but there is one thing that will not pass away, the human person. We are endowed with an immortal soul and we are made for a life of everlasting beatitude with God. It is our faith in this reality that shows us that we are never alone. All those who have gone before us and who are in the friendship of the Lord are ready to help us in our every need and advocate for us before the throne of God. Who could doubt that our own mothers, after their deaths, would not intercede for us before the Heavenly Throne? Who could doubt that others of the deceased faithful would do the same? Yet, the most powerful and gracious of our heavenly advocates is Our Blessed Mother. How wonderful it is that God's own Mother loves us as she loves her own Son!
Stay close to Our Most Gracious Advocate. Turn to her in your needs. Rattle your beads during your studies for the bar. Entrust your children to her. Remember that Our Lord gave her to us so that she might return us to Him. Be of good cheer and recall that Our Lady will always be with you in whatever you do, if only you ask her. Professor Rice was correct, all things of this world will pass away--even Ave Maria School of Law. Take what you have learned--the nuts and bolts of the law as well as the Church's teaching--and do good. Remember the incarnation of those principles in the lives of your professors. Recall their humility, their courage and their conviction. Fight like them for what is right. Imitate them and their unselfish lives. Imitate too Our Lady. In imitating her, you imitate Christ. If you do that Ave Maria School of Law will never be "a failed experiment."
One of the most important international events of our time is taking place this weekend in Warsaw, Poland. It is the World Congress of Families IV.
Here are the basics:
More than 3,000 pro-family activists from over 65 countries are expected in Warsaw this spring for World Congress of Families IV. World Congress of Families fosters an international network of organizations, leaders, legislators, scholars and activists seeking to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and seedbed of a civil society.
What is the goal of the World Congress?
To shift the public policy debate: From “The Family as an obstacle to development” to “The Family as the source of social renewal and progress” • From “overpopulation” to “under-population” as the demographic challenge of the 21st century • From “The small family and voluntary childlessness as good” to “The celebration of large families as a special social gift” • From “religious orthodoxy as a threat to progress” to “religious orthodoxy as the source of humane values and cultural progress.”
The World Congress of Families has created The Natural Family: A Manifestoas a kind of guide for the new radicalism and activism that is emerging through out the world as a kind of counter-revolution to the sexual revolution. You can download it for free here (have to register) or purchase it in book form here. It is must reading for the Natural Lawyer (aka, Catholic Natural Law Attorney).
To keep tabs on the on-going talks and events have a look at Vital Signs, as they are on the ground and posting updates from the Congress. Also, have a look at a spy that is there from the enemy's camp. This ought to give you an idea of how effective the World Congress of Families is in making the enemy tremble.
What to say to the graduating 3Ls of Ave Maria School of Law. I have been thinking about this all week. Originally, I was going to write something like "An AMSL 3L's Guide to Commencement." Included would be instructions to be followed for an enjoyable graduation. For example:
This is simply stunning! The good folks over at AveWatch have done their homework in documenting Mr. Monaghan's strange career in academia. It seems, based upon these comments, that Dean Dobranski knew of Monaghan's instability in the exertion of influence in these academic settings and actually tried to shore up some academic credibility to an otherwise dysfunctional institution. Again, from AveWatch:
It is all very strange. If there is one thing that we do know it is the following: (1) Monaghan demands loyalty, (2) Monaghan has a record of getting rid of peoplehe perceives to be disloyal, (3) Bernie wasn't loyal to Monaghan (as demonstrated above). What next?
Scheidler credits his faithful attorney, Thomas J. Brejcha [left], for seeing this case through to a triumphant conclusion over its long 21-year history. Brejcha is lead counsel for the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, specializing in defending the rights of pro-life activists.
Anyone who knows Tom Brejcha knows that he is a class act! A superb attorney, a man of impeccable integrity, and truly, a modern day Thomas More. He has been a friend and mentor to many in Chicago and to several from Ave Maria School of Law. Having won this case awhile ago, it is gratifying to finally see the District Court finally enter the order of final judgment.
One faculty member who is fighting the move says that he and his colleagues have found at least one university willing to acquire the law school and allow it to remain in Ann Arbor, but that the administration won't present the idea to the board for consideration. Mr. Dobranski said no one had presented a viable alternative plan to finance the law school.
"The idea that a group of faculty could take the law school and give it to another university is absurd," the dean said.
Spokesman for the Association of Ave Maria Faculty:
Leo L. Clarke is a spokesman for the faculty members who oppose the move. He was a tenure-track associate professor at Ave Maria from 2001 to 2003, when he left to return to private practice. He said he expected few faculty members would be willing to move to Florida. "The student body turns over every three years, but if you lose the faculty, it's not the same entity at all," he said. "The alumni see this move as a desertion of what they invested in."
Statement of Chris McGowan '03:
Chris McGowan, a graduate of Ave Maria's 2003 inaugural class, agreed. "We started with so much promise and potential, and today I believe the community is severely fractured and increasingly polarized," he said. "Many alumni are absolutely stunned that the board has been so dismissive of our concerns."
Stressing that he was speaking for himself and not the alumni board he serves on, he added: "I was excited that we were going to be engaging in a secular society, but moving to Ave Maria, Fla., would be running away to live in a cocoon."
This information was already posted below in one of the comments, but it deserves more prominent attention. When reading the following, remember that it is the FACULTY who came to this young student's defense against a dossier prepared by functionaries in the Administrative wing, a dossier designed to destroy this man's career right out of law school.
Why? Because supposedly this student was critical of the unethical and frankly illegal activities of the Board of Governors and Dean.
This isn't the first time students and graduates have been targeted in the most vicious and ugly manner.
If anyone has a copy of the dossier, please e-mail it to me at st.columcille[at]gmail[dot]com and I will post a redacted version of it.
I received a VERY interesting email from a friend who graduated last year. I have redacted his name, just because there's no reason to have it splashed around. He wouldn't mind people reading this, as he sent this same email to hundreds of his friends. Anyone familiar at all with AMSL knows where this comes from. Congrats to him. He's a true fighter.
Dear Friends & Supporters Affiliated with Ave Maria School of Law:
It has been since last December, 2006, that I have last communicated with many of you via this famous e-mail list.
I write now to inform you of good news! After receiving a passing Bar Exam score over six months ago, it is today, May 8, 2007, that I have finally received my license number. Now, at last, I have officially joined the State Bar of Michigan, fulfilling my dream of becoming a practicing attorney to build up the Kingdom of God.
[Redacted at the request of the author.]
And, of course, outside of the office, I remain active in political, Catholic, and pro-life/pro-family issues.
As you already know, I had passed the Bar Exam in July 2006 but my Bar admission was held up because I had not received character and fitness clearance from the State Bar. Back in October 2006, I wrote to tell you that I suspected that something was not right. I was suspicious in part because on March 30, 2006 I had received an anonymous threatening e-mail, which, among others things, stated:
"How do you expect this law school to sign off on your character and fitness if you criticize every move that the Dean and the faculty, who sign off on your character and fitness, makes. Think about it. I assume you are knowledgeable of this requirement."
This anonymous threat was referencing the many public (read: non-anonymous) critiques of the Law School administration’s actions, from 2005-2006, that I distributed via my e-mail list – a list to which approximately one-third of the Law School community voluntarily subscribed. (To this very day, I have never posted or commented on any anonymous blogs, such as the infamous Fumare, since I detest such forums.)
So after receiving notification the day after Election Day, 2006, that I would have to appear before a three-member panel of a District Character and Fitness Committee of the State Bar for an informal interview, I requested – and received – a copy of my Bar file.
It was at this point that I learned that the Ave Maria School of Law Administration had composed (what one reviewer described as) a vicious 10-page memorandum about me, which was accompanied by 56 separate so-called exhibits (totaling more than 250 pages in all), and submitted it to the State Bar’s Character and Fitness Section.
It should be noted that during my time as a student at Ave Maria School of Law I was a strong believer, defender, and follower of the Law School’s stringent Honor Code and was in fact never formally disciplined by the Law School – academically or otherwise. Moreover, as you are all aware, the Law School faculty certified my character and fitness, allowing me to graduate last May 2006.
Accordingly, after the close of my informal interview with the District Committee panel, I received a unanimous favorable decision within 10 minutes.
I would like to publicly thank the several Ave Maria law school professors who reviewed the 250-page manifesto and proceeded to submit outstanding letters of support to the State Bar on my behalf, as did many others of notable reputation.
In the end, the Truth always triumphs.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:10).
For the Kingdom,
[redacted] AMSOL Class of 2006
“Never Underestimate the Motivation of a True Believer”
No more doubt or wiggle room. Catholic politicians must have integrity as Catholics in the Public Square . . . let us pray that our bishops have the courage to get "blood on the shirt" like Bishop Burke did this past week.
Bishops should know that when they speak the truth and get stoned within an inch of their life in the media, the faithful grow stronger and the bishop's support grows at its most authentic base.
If you are going to be a hero, you must be willing to get "blood on the shirt" when fighting the good fight. . . . isn't that why they wear hues of red in the first place?
To: Mr. Monaghan and the Board of Governors From: David Krause, Class of 2003
The following letter contains nothing but my personal opinion. It has no affiliation with my position as Alumni Association Chair, other than the fact that I have been privy to what transpires during our monthly public meetings, as well as to the sordid hearsay regarding what you(Mr. Monaghan) and the Board have done or failed to do in regard to moving our school and jeopardizing our accreditation. Again, these are my opinions.
There are two "sections" to this email; the first is addressed to you,the Board, and the second to Mr. Monaghan. Frankly, I'm writing this letter to assuage my own conscience more than anything else, because I do not expect anything positive to come of it.
To the Board of Governors, and particularly, any of you who have referred to our School as a "failed experiment":
You who have voted to move the School without any accountability for your vote to those of us who have a real interest in the School have failed. To those (allegedly two) of you who have referred to the School as a failed experiment, you disgrace yourselves by remaining on the Board and should resign immediately. You have no place voting on the future of a "failed experiment."
As to the Board as a whole, justify your voting to move the School to Florida. I should hope that your reasoning is not so blunt as "Tom Monaghan's money." If that is it, as your silence ostensibly indicates, then you all have demonstrated a severe lapse in judgment, a lack of faith in our Lord who has graced favor on our school, and a blindness to the faculty whose dedication can inspire other donors and create a successful school again if you would let them. It is your refusal to stop Mr. Monaghan's crippling efforts over the last four years that has caused any failures in the School, such as in student scores, faculty recruiting, and an administration that spends its time crushing disagreement with Mr. Monaghan instead of working to cultivate a respectable law school ranking.
To Mr. Monaghan:
I decided to become a lawyer for one reason: I read about you years ago, about your childhood rise and Catholic identity, and I believed that you were beginning something incredibly important in benefacting a law school. I claim to be the first person to inquire about the School; I was sitting in my office in New August, Mississippi (I was a mechanical engineer in a pulp mill) when I read in USA Today that you were benefacting a law school. I called the Foundation that day to inquire, and the Dean and founding faculty were attending Mass. A year later I was committed to attending. That was a long time ago, and my belief in you has dwindled.
Before I further opine, let me say to you (and to the Board), that although I have given no more than the "widow's pence" in relation to your financial capacity, my contribution it is equal to or greater than your own. I have incurred over $130,000.00 in debt in attending, and I have given up a salary of over $220,000.00. That makes my financial contribution, in a round about way, $350,000.00. If I include my three years of attending, which equates to approximately 10 hours a day, my time commitment has been equally substantial. Mr. Monaghan, my contributions required a hell of a sacrifice for and by my family in addition to my own. Nor am I alone among my fellow graduates. Thus, I am reasonably able to assert my right to address you without concern for your reaction of feelings.
In my opinion, Mr. Monaghan, you are not told what you should hear. A law school is not a toy for asserting one's ego. Frankly, sir, you are not qualified to run our school, or make decisions in its regard. You are not a lawyer, you have never administrated any academic institution, not even an elementary school, nor were you educated as an administrator. You are a benefactor. That word is defined as a "kindly helper," or one who "makes a bequest or endowment." But you have shown to not be so altruistic. You and our founding faculty together put forth a commendable "vision" for what our school was to be, and at least for the first few years that I attended, you appeared to step back and help promote Ave Maria as an independent law school. But you apparently had ulterior, grandiose plans. Several factors altered those plans, such as an uncooperative Ann Arbor Township Council, and the lure of real estate ventures in Florida. So you apparently decided that the Blessed Mother (or whomever) was calling you to pick up your things and move near Naples.
However, our School is not one of your "things," and your "use" of it to benefit other projects has been catastrophic. You had no right to cause us harm, not matter how much money you had given. We are a Catholic academic institution whose interests are unrelated to your other projects and your personal desires. You apparently have no qualms about destroying communities and projects when you think it will benefit your other desires, because you also destroyed two colleges in Michigan (not to mention the people and families that invested in those colleges) and left numerous elementary schools in financial hardship.
So you must ask yourself whether you have done more harm or good to the Catholic academic community overall. I believe you are harming our School and other institutions, and there is no logical reason for us or the Board of Governors to think you will not continue to do so down in Florida. What kind of educator would be so naive, given your track record in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, to believe that you are creating some kind of great Catholic academic institution in Immokalee?You are likely to attract educators who are off-kilter, who do not fit in wherever they are currently employed, and who are social misfits.
That is what your actions promise. We are called to engage the world, Mr. Monaghan, not retreat from it. Your retreat from Ann Arbor and your iron-fisted demolition of "your projects" there have demonstrated, in my mind, a position contrary to Church teaching.
If you would merely have fulfilled the funding you had promised and gone off to other activities, I would have no quarrel with you. Our School would have phased into other funding and built success upon success, and even now we could do so. But I believe you knew we would flourish without your funding, and you didn't just part ways amicably because then our success would not be under your influence or to your benefit.
You were willing to cripple our School with a four year campaign to exert complete control over our administration and to cannibalize our assets and what is left of our reputation. If you and the Board of Governors remember nothing else, remember this: the decimation of our once successful School was never necessary or likely, but was a direct, foreseeable, and intended result of your efforts to prop up an unstable college and eccentric town. The Board of Governors is at fault for refusing to stand up to you to defend our School's best interests. They handed the reigns of our School over to the man who has done it the most harm. Such acquiescence is shocking.
Like me, the people who actually made your colleges and schools a reality believed in the vision you shared with our founding faculty. They also believed that you were sincere and stable in your generosity, that you were a benefactor of the most kindly sort, and that you were building a Catholic community of scholars rather than a cutthroat sole proprietorship.
I believe that my trust in you was misplaced. I am asking you to resign from the Board of Governors, to fulfill any financial support to the School in Ann Arbor that you have promised, and then to phase out your involvement completely so that the faculty, credible administration, alumni, students, and donors can repair the damage you have caused and rebuild a school founded on the community that your conduct, by the grace of God through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, has not yet destroyed.
cc: Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors
Here's an interesting New York Times article on Down Syndrome, prenatal testing, and abortion. The article estimates that 90% of children with Down Syndrome are aborted. One of the points discussed in the article is something that I've thought about before, that we are entering a world where there will be very few people with disabilities:
A dwindling Down syndrome population, which now stands at about 350,000, could mean less institutional support and reduced funds for medical research. It could also mean a lonelier world for those who remain.
Not only will the world be a lonelier and less welcoming place for those with disabilities, but it will be a lonelier and less welcoming for the rest of us "normal" people, as we will have lost many opportunities to learn some of life's most important lessons in love, forgiveness, and compassion.
The Administration has put up a display right outside 269 showing Ave town and water color renderings of the proposed law school building. A few students have noticed that the sign on the watercolor outside the proposed law school says "Ave Maria University." More evidence we are really affiliated with Ave Maria U.
Probably the worst thing about this administration is that they have such a blatant disregard for the law school that they have been extremely careless in the propagation of this insanity. Whether its the mispellings in the feasibility study report or this gaffe, these guys are careless to the point of extreme arrogance.
He said: "We will increasingly see the use of embryo screening for severe cosmetic conditions."
He added that he would seek to screen for any genetic factor at all that would cause a family severe distress.
When asked if he would screen embryos for factors like hair colour, he said: "If there is a cosmetic aspect to an individual case I would assess it on its merits.
"[Hair colour] can be a cause of bullying which can lead to suicide. With the agreement of the HFEA, I would do it.
Dr. Leo Alexander wrote a piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1949 entitled "Medical Science under Dictatorship." He discusses the "Hegelian cold-blooded utilitarianism" of the physicians in Nazi Germany. For his work, Dr. Alexander was also a consultant at the Nuremberg Trials for the prosecution. One of the money quotes:
Back in the good old days--when there was no need for Ex Corde Ecclesiae (because Catholic schools knew how to be such)--students would need to blow off steam from time to time amidst the rigors of reading Herodotus and Xenophon. Reminiscent of a more human and godly era, I submit--for your enjoyment--a contest worthy of the Greeks themselves:
Readin' 'Ritin' 'Rithmetic is a thing of the past, say the 20th or 19th centuries.
Today's school faces new challenges -- a world where multinationalists who study world demographics and large corporate interests bear down on the educational structure in order to make them operate as transnational corporations. Indeed, new times are upon us... times that have forced the basics into an accountant's ledger to be balanced against the gain to primary shareholders and the chairmen of these large modernistic fiefdoms. For these meganational minds, the new paradigm is the three O's: Obedience, Obesience, and Operations. But, for the rest of us who are still worried about making one's yes mean yes and making right with people, it comes down to the three F's:
It has come to our attention that there are still a lot of folks out there who don't know the story of the founding of AMSL. There are lots of naive "puffs" that have come forth since the faculty released their statements. In order to clear up any misconceptions and as a public service, we recommend the following:
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.
The story about what is going on at Ave Maria School of Law is getting out and the blogshere is asking questions. Here are a few of the blogs that have picked up on the story (not all friendly to Ave Maria's mission):
Some of the more interesting posts are indicated above in asterisks; those with animus to the mission are indicated by a pound sign.
This is a great summary from Totus Tuus Maria:
I've been following this for awhile. Obviously as an outsider, I can only tell you what I've noticed. I'm sure the truth is more balanced than my take on it. Much of what I know I learned from newspaper articles and from witnessing it second hand in my home town. I apologise for any misinformation, but I think the general picture is clear: Tom Monaghan has a pattern and history of doing exactly what he's not doing [sic] with the law school.
You can see how dreadful the situation in Ann Arbor really is. Tom Monaghan has had the misfortune of running nearly every project he started into the ground. I remember back with the Tigers when he fired presumptuously the great Bo Schembeckler. He had all sorts of administrative problems with the team, and by the time he sold a team which had, in his early years, won the world series (1984), the team was in a slump which lasted until last year! He had a car collection which he had spent all sorts of money on, and then decided he was no longer interested in it. His plans to build the biggest building in Ann Arbor, the "leaning tower of Pizza" never came into fruition though he commissioned a model still there. He invested for awhile in Catholic media, supporting Credo, a great magazine which gained enormous circulation but was never able to development a working economic model. He dropped support and it folded. He got into Catholic radio twice, but pulled out. He supported Catholic lower education, starting the Spiritus Sanctus academies and acquiring my alma mater, Huron Valley School, but suddenly pulled out of lower education to concentrate on higher education -- in so doing he condensed all the academies he had started into one school. He started a college in Ann Arbor and a law school, then decided to move the college to Florida. He fired much of his Ann Arbor staff (including one of my relatives), illegally appropriated the property of Ave Maria College, not only ceased funding the college, but raised the tuition of the students and sent the proceeds down to Florida, fired a woman for blowing the whistle on his illegal financial activities and was subsequently fined over a hundred-thousand dollars -- the case for firing the whistle blowing woman is right now before the Michigan Supreme Court --. He then shut down the college and appropriated the rest of its possessions. He had already shut down St. Mary's which, from all appearances, had been a success story. During the meantime he acquired a campus in South America which, it is rumored, acts rather as a cash-cow for the whole enterprise. The situation with the Latin American campus is dark and complicated and I will not try to rehash it especially since I have no first hand experience with it. He partner shipped with realtors to build Ave Town, and now it seems very much like his major emphasis has shifted from Catholic Higher Education to realestate.
Just let someone try to tell me that the move of AMSOL to Florida is really just Monaghan and the board acting in the best interest of the Lawschool! Tell me it doesn't have anything to do with realestate and the insane desire of Monaghan, whose mind always thinks in terms of "biggest" to build himself a Catholic empire. He is killing the project! I pray very often for Ave Maria and its success, but I cannot see how it can be successful with Tom Monaghan and Nick Healy at the helm. I predict the school will fold within the next dozen years.
One of the more telling aspects of the Statement of the Association of Ave Maria Faculty ("The Association") is the following:
Most disappointing is the conduct of the Board, which has (or had) among its members two cardinals and four prominent Catholic professors.(emphasis mine)
I choose today to bring attention to the "four prominent Catholic professors." As FUMARE has been linked on an academic blog geared towards academics, I wonder if ruminations concerning these professors are not inappropriate for the consumption of not only our readers but those academicians who choose to visit here. As a caveat, I write as a non-academic. Pardon my rustic backwardness.
Over the last two years it has befuddled me how the "four prominent Catholic professors" ("The Four") who are members of the Board of Governors have behaved throughout this controversy. It seems to me that Profs. Alvare, George, Bradley and Uhlmann should have at least some sympathy with faculty concerns and faculty issues. As professors in an academic environment, there are many issues that are of concern. One of these concerns is academic freedom. Another is institutional freedom. Sometimes the two conflict. It is not the purpose of this post to explore these issues in depth. Nevertheless, it is important to look at both of these issues to gain an understanding of the position of the Association of Ave Maria Faculty and any faculty member in any school or university. Fr. Paul Quay, S.J. has written well on this topic in his paper "Towards a Christian Understanding of Academic Freedom." (Required reading for those in the academy and Catholic lawyers on the contractual nature of professors and institutions.) Regarding academic freedom, Fr. Quay states:
Given these serious allegations, one would think that fellow academics would be concerned about the conditions at AMSL. Perhaps, meeting with the faculty to discuss whether and if these issues were and are true would have been warranted. One could hardly imagine Profesor George standing for such an atmosphere at Princeton. The fact that The Four have presided as Governors over the seeming institutional dimunition of academic freedom over the past two years is a stinging indictment of their concern for AMSL as an academic institution, not to mention their concern for the seeking of truth--which as Catholics they would seem to have an especial interest.
I suppose, though, in their positions as Governors, they focused more on the institutional freedoms of AMSL. The institutional freedoms are the right of the institution to govern itself as it chooses. Quoth Fr. Quay:
"Full and up-front manifestation of real goals and real purposes." "Concealing or fudging one's institutional aims." Sound familiar? Did The Four, as Governors, give a "full and up-front manifestation" as they no doubt would require from their own governing boards? Were there some sub rosa agreements as to a change in the terms of the original contract without letting the other parties to the contract know? Given that invincible ignorance may exculpate one from responsibility in a particular matter, are we to believe that The Four were invincibly ignorant as to the nature or ideal of AMSL? Its goals? Given Father Quay's explicatio--of which only a portion was presented--and the standing The Four have in the Catholic world, can we say that they have an adequate Christian understanding of academia? Perhaps they shouldn't be considered all that prominent after all.
"Four Prominent Catholic Professors" on the AMSL Board of Governors: Professor Helen Alvare, Professor Robert George, Professor Gerard Bradley, and Professor Michael Uhlmann...the realfailed experiment.