Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Now here is another example of ridiculous Muslim overreaction. A British teacher in Sudan teaches a class of 7-year-old Muslim students. Some of the students happen to like the name Mohammed because that is their own name or the name of a friend or family member. The classroom has a teddy bear and the teacher asks her students to vote on a name for the teddy bear. The students name the teddy bear Mohammed.
What happened? The Sudanese government prosecuted the teacher for insulting Islam. She has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation. But that isn't all. Thousands of Sudanese protestors are now demanding for her execution. Ridiculous. Also, why aren't the protestors calling for the heads of the schoolkids who named the teddy bear in the first place?
Read it here or here.
The point of this excursus is that bad blogging, like bad graffiti, cancels itself out by simply adding to the background noise it pretends to comment on. But it doesn't have to be that way. Occasionally I'm moved to wonder whether the most sanctimonious critics of blogdom are not so much concerned with the spread of alarm and despondency as they are tormented by the possibility that someone, somewhere, might be having a laugh at their expense.In other news, it looks like Tom Monaghan beat out JPII and Our Lady for the top spot again! This time it is for the memorial giving designations at AMU. (See here and here.) This guy is great--he receives awards at his own dinners, establishes AMU's school mascot in memory of his days with Sergeant Carter, controls just about everything in AMT, and is the beneficiary of having a donor's society named after him. Did I miss anything? Feel free to articulate in the comboxes.
Pauper et humilis.
Tee hee hee!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Gordon arrived in Detroit undaunted by the school's declining enrollment or its listing in the bottom tier of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings.......This last area is one in which I've always thought Dobranski did very little.
In five years, Gordon helped overhaul the school's curriculum, moving the students away from desks and tests to hands-on work. For one year, they are so-called partners in a mock law firm filing documents, and even determining their billable hours.
Under his watch, the school has established legal clinics that offer hands-on work experience to students and legal help to the area's poor and underserved people.
And while shoring up the school's foundation, Gordon also was screaming from its rooftops -- recruiting attorneys from the nation's most successful law firms as members to his advisory board and convincing law firms to consider UDM students for new hires.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Phlogizo reported a little while ago about the faculty vote of no confidence in the President of Oral Roberts University. On November 23, 2007, the President tendered his resignation. A statement from the Chairman of ORU's Board of Regents is here.
From the Associated Press:
For many, the resignation of Oral Roberts University's embattled president, Richard Roberts, seemed to be a question of when, not if, amid the financial scandal that hit the school nearly two months ago.This is hard, but good news for ORU. A resignation like this is often the required first step for re-establishing trust and confidence in an institution. I know of another institution that would benefit from a similar action.
Roberts, facing accusations in the lawsuit that he misspent school funds to support a lavish lifestyle, resigned Friday.
"Those who have seen what we have seen won't have any surprise about the fact that Richard has stepped down," said attorney Gary Richardson, who brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against Roberts last month on behalf of three of the university's professors. "There was no option, period."
His resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement e-mailed from George Pearsons, chairman of the school's Board of Regents.
Roberts said in a statement that he loved the university. "I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God's best for all of them."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The facts are straight out of first-year Property class. Couple #1 buys a piece of land in Boulder, Colorado. They do nothing with it for 23 years. During this time, neighboring Couple #2 (a former Boulder mayor/judge and his lawyer wife) trespasses on the land, regularly taking walks and having parties on the property. Couple #1 then decides to do something with the land, and Couple #2 sues to take the portion of the land that they've been using through adverse possession. (Colorado has a 18-year time period for adverse possession claims.) The state court judge agrees with Couple #2 and gives them the portion of the land they've been using.
Outrage ensues. Check out the various news articles, blog comments, and newspaper editorials, screaming bloody murder about this "obscure" and "little-known" legal doctrine. The decision has generated loud protests with people claiming that the former judge and his wife are liars and thieves, and claiming that the local legal community is corrupt and in cahoots with their former colleagues.
Couple #1 filed a complaint for a probe into the actions of Couple #2. Not surpisingly, the ethics board found nothing wrong; after all, a court of competent jurisdiction had found that Couple #2 had a viable legal claim for the land under Colorado adverse possession law.
It looks to me to be a clear-cut, and completely legal, case of adverse possession. (Okay, maybe in Christian charity, Couple #2 shouldn't have staked a claim to the land or should have offered some compensation to Couple #1.) It appears that I'm in the minority, but the facts don't strike me as particularly outrageous. Then again, maybe I'm just a cold-hearted attorney. Should I be outraged?
Here are the gems I've mined:
*Who is teaching your classes next semester? Has the school told 1Ls that Howie Bromberg is leaving Ave at the end of this semester and won't be teaching propertty II? Have they told you about the other losses yet?
Anulled 11.20.07 - 2:38 pm
*Word on the street is that Eisenberg is not returning for the spring semester.
Anonymous 11.20.07 - 3:28 pm
*Completely off topic but I don't think anyone will see this if I post it further down the blog. The AMSOL posting for a new director of development just showed up on law crossing. Not quite as funny as when a posting for Dean of Wayne State Law School popped up there, but I did find the omission of any reference to a certain relocation in the posting amusing. To find it search job type field: attorney and location: Michigan
anonymous 11.21.07 - 1:11 am
*While on the topic of AMU here:I went to the campus last week on vacation to see for myself the setup. No comments on the buildings...but I will comment that I do not think there are "600 students" at the school. At most, there are more like 200-300. Does anyone know for sure how many? It was a relief when I did see a student. I think firing Fr. Fessio really hurt the enrollment numbers there. I think firing Fr. Fessio was the final straw for many parents concerned about AMU as a whole.
AMU numbers 11.19.07 - 4:46 am
[Boko again:] So what's the word re faculty retention? And why don't we have a Director of Development (all we have is an "interim Director")? And what happens if you build the first new Catholic University in 40 years and nobody comes?
Don't forget to vote! Congrats to Dean Kessler for his hard-hitting expose on southwest Florida in the new issue of the Advocate! Happy Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving I'm grateful to Dean Dobranski for creating the mission of the law school, and grateful for my friends and family, for my solid fantasy football team, and for the motu proprio.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Univ of Michigan first time takers had 96% pass (27 of 28)
Wayne first time takers had 95% pass (130 of 137)
MSU first time takers had 90% pass (137 of 153)
Univ of Detroit first time takers had 87% pass (97 of 112)
Cooley first time takers had 74% pass (101 of 137)
Ave Maria first time takers had 72% pass (26 of 36)
Interesting to see a similar number of people taking the Bar from U of M and AMSOL with U of M handily winning the competition, and AMSOL having more failures than Wayne even though Wayne had 4 times the amount of test takers.
UPDATE: From the comments, "According to an Associate Dean for Student Affairs' (of another in-state law school) email sent on 11/5, the statistics listed in your main post are correct."
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
For whatever else it was worth, I decided that it was at least part of my role to tell people what it was. Thinking of how I wanted my role to be remembered when that Last Accounting of the Theater of Redemption is laid bare for all to see, I put together a plan. I had some small hope that it might change things. I also had some small hope that what I thought was going to happen might not happen to AMSoL. After all, even Dean Dobranski was distanced from AMC and AMU in those days, and made it clear that the law school was its own thing and not to be confused with the mess of AMC/U. I was still slightly cynical, but played my hand according to the role and how I wanted all of you to see me on that day when there are no secrets.
Perhaps in all of it, the drama of his change is most lamentable. At least in those days, he spoke in defense of AMSoL from the tragedy of AMC/U, and he spoke as a leader who was bringing the school places. Today, he justifies all of it and lets all of it happen to his people. A tragedy of the pressures of leadership today, I suppose.
I decided then that I was not to be remembered for what happened because of what I did, but rather that I made it clear that what was to be and what was happening were divergent. My hope was that those whose hands have been operating in the dark might be tempted to come out in the open and play above the table. So far, that is merely a hope. Things have happened in the open, but for the most part, the motives and actualities are kept in the dark -- that place which will be illumined some day, but for the most part we are left to fill in by inference and circumstance.
It's obvious to me that the trail of destruction begun in 2003 is now irreversible to some extent, but unrecoverable. I hope that, when that day does arrive you'll see me as the guy who had the flashlight and kept trying to light up the corners of this mess, and that on that day you'll remember that I wrote this blog entry.
It's not the success of the effort after all, that pleases God, but rather that you stood on the right side of any question. Not just for my own sake, but for those of others, I've tried to stand on the promises that induced me and others to build a great school. I may have made the mistake of relying on the words of others -- but those other people told me that they were Catholic and that to a Catholic lawyer words mean something.
Since then I've found out that to them it doesn't mean a thing. A word is merely something used to induce another to act. What's sad is that it looks as if they've won the success, as much as my cynical mind told me they would when all of this started in 2003. What I find sadder, however, is that there are a lot of people who now think they stood on God's side and that words don't mean anything.
That's sad. I hoped in my selection of a role some 4 years ago now, that there would still be some mitigation of the damage caused by those who justified lying and manipulation in the name of a greater Church, a more-Catholic-than-anyone-else school. It looks, however, at least from what is happening currently, and from the language of their supporters, that evil (and I mean that word sincerely) performed in the name of God, Church, and all that is good will get you somewhere in the world. At least, it'll get you a temporary billion and a playground east of Naples.
All I want, and wanted, is what I was promised -- an institution where the words are true, and the people who utter them stand by truth. Truth hasn't destroyed the school -- the evil of lies and manipulation has. Sadly, it seems to be destroying the people who justify it in order to preserve some lesser good as well. I hope they wake up from the slumber imposed by that justification.
I went to a school that was supposed to fight for promises. It was school that was supposed to stand up for truth, justice, and the Catholic way! Morevoer, it was a school that was supopsed to stand up for the idea that some things are not ruled by the economic calculus. It said things like, "babies aren't expendable to the economic situation" and "Catholic moral values are to be upheld against utility."
Today it is a school that is slave to the economic and to utility. It's not what it was. It's sad -- today it is teaching people by its own example that abortion is OK if you are doing it for economic stability, and that lying can be OK if you have a good goal in mind, and worse, it is teaching lawyers that zealous advocacy has no limits when your client has pockets deep enough for any retainer.
It's not the school I was promised.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Fumare blog is in violation of copyright infringementHeh. Oh no, we're going to be banished. Heh, heh.)
The Fumare blog copied my template. I demand that they take the site down immediately or I will banish them to Naples, Florida for life.
It appears that the Class of 2010 is not united behind the good Senator. (Maybe they're not particularly fond of the Class of 2010 theme song decreed by Senator Hamilton: "Paradise City" by Guns 'n' Roses.) Two other blogs have sprung up in response: Silent Majority 2010: To demystify and debunk the chronic rumors about Ave Maria School of Law and the class of 2010 and Impeach Hamilton: because normal people go to AMSoL, too. They are worth a glance as their grammar, spelling, and general coherence seem to be a step above that of the good Senator's.
Personally, part of me suspects that "Senator Hamilton" is not an actual person. I mean, he claims to be real and he claims to despise anonymity, but he operates a blog, which as we all know, are always outlets for anonymous venom. Also most of things he says are outlandish. How do we really know that the operator of the Senator Hamilton blog is not an anonymous blogger posting under the fictitious name "Senator Hamilton"? Unfortunately, I happen to be too far away to visit the law school and view the famed Senator Hamilton with my own eyes. I'll have to rely on on our trusted readers in the Ann Arbor area to confirm the existence of the good Senator. (Come now, Boko, admit it: you've created a parody of a Monaghan supporter, just as commenter "Brick" is a vulgar parody of a faculty supporter. Or is "Senator Hamilton" you, albert anon?)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The lack of recognition for the oratory is the clearest sign yet of tension between Ave Maria and the local Catholic hierarchy. More than three years ago, university officials requested the oratory receive parish church status within the diocese, which would allow for the performance of sacraments such as baptisms and weddings. That request also has gone unanswered.
Also the diocese has thus far rejected Ave Maria’s claims to be known as a "Catholic university," instead calling it "a private university in the Catholic tradition."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
An excerpt from the accompanying memorandum:
We believe that there are two main reasons for this state of affairs. First, Dean Dobranski has lost the trust and confidence of the faculty, and we believe significant numbers of students and graduates. He no longer has the credibility necessary to lead this institution. Second, Dean Dobranski has undermined the essential role of the faculty and threatened their academic freedom.Go read the rest. It is astounding to think that the Board of Governors did not meet with the faculty as requested, and instead unprofessionally gave the faculty the back of their collective hand with a one sentence written response saying that they had confidence in Dobranski. Can you imagine this happening at any other institution, where the Board refuses to listen to what the faculty has to say? (I don't remember, what did Kate O'Beirne say about this when she visited the school? That the faculty deserved no response? That Falvey was a nobody?)
We want to emphasize that, although the way in which the Florida issue has been handled has provided a portion of the basis for our two principal conclusions, our judgment (that we have lost confidence in the Dean to properly lead this community of scholars) is independent of our individual views about the "Florida issue."
In closing, we believe that it is important that the Board meet with the faculty at the earliest possible time. We look forward to your response. We will continue to pray for everyone in the Ave Maria School of Law community and in particular to seek the intercession of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, on behalf of Ave Maria School of Law.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
When a football team goes on a terrible losing streak, who is to blame? Maybe it's the fault of the players; after all they're the ones playing poorly and losing all the games. Maybe it's the fault of the assistant coaches and trainers not doing their job. Or the fault of the scouts who are recruiting bad players. Or the fault of the offensive/defensive coordinators who are calling stupid plays. Sometimes, looking at all the circumstances objectively, it's not the fault of the head coach.
Yet, more often than not, it is the head coach who is fired. And the head coach rightfully deserves to be fired. Ultimately, the head coach is responsible for the team at every stage: recruitment, training, game strategy, motivation and morale building. The very fact that the team is losing creates a situation that demands the firing of the head coach. Losing creates a lack of confidence in the head coach's leadership and morale problems that can only be remedied by getting fresh blood into the head coach position.
Dobranski is the head coach of AMSL. Even assuming that Dobranski has done nothing wrong and that others are to blame for the poor Bar passage rate (like the students, as Dobranski suggests), the very fact that the school is losing means that Dobranski should be fired. Dobranski is ultimately responsible for how the team is going, and if it's losing, Dobranski needs to be removed and a fresh face needs to be made dean. That's the way to instill confidence and to get a new start.
The same argument can be said for the faculty's "no confidence" in Dobranski. Set aside who is more blameworthy or which side is right in the faculty-administration dispute. No matter who is to blame, it is a fact that that there is significant faculty no-confidence in Dobranski. This very fact means Dobranski should resign or be removed, because he is the leader of the faculty, and cannot effectively lead without their confidence.
AMSL is in turmoil, there is no confidence in the leadership, and our AMSL team is losing the Bar passage game with the other Michigan law schools. It doesn't matter who is to blame for this. A leadership change is required NOW.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Click any image above for the larger, fuller image.
Sent: Tue 11/6/2007 10:13 AM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: Michigan Bar Results
11-06-2007 Michigan Bar Exams.pdf
As some of you may have heard by now, our graduates' performance on the Michigan Bar Exam this year was not as strong as we would have hoped for and have been accustomed to in the past. Although over two dozen of our graduates passed the Michigan bar, and reports received so far indicate that our test takers have performed better in other states, we had a higher percentage of failures in Michigan than in past years. This July, 26 out of 36, or 72 percent, of first-time test takers in Michigan passed. This ranks Ave Maria sixth among the six Michigan law schools. Obviously, this is disappointing to all of us. Strong bar passage rates have, since our beginning, been a hallmark of Ave Maria School of Law, and we are rightfully proud of our graduates' past succes and want to continue this tradition of achievement.
I, the Board of Governors, the Faculty, and the Administration at the Law School all take bar exam passage rates seriously. Unlike rankings and other more subjective evaluations, the bar exam is an important objective measure of the quality of our program of legal education and our students.
I believe it is useful to share with you some of what we at the Law School do to help prepare our graduates for success on the bar exam. First, and most importantly, we continue to provide a first-rate legal education. As you know, we are heavily focused on required classes, most of which address key subject areas tested on bar exams. In fact, Ave Maria requires its students to take more core classes than most other law schools. This curriculum has served our students well and I am committed to continuing it.
In addition, through the Academic Support program, the Career Services Office, and the Office of Student Affairs, among others, we offer extensive programming designed to help prepare students for the bar exam. For example, we bring several bar review companies to the campus to inform students about their products and what they can expect as the bar exam approaches. We present a panel discussion with alumni, faculty, and staff who share their advice on how to succeed on the bar exam. And, we bring character and fitness representatives from the State Bar of Michigan to discuss preparing the application to sit for the test. The unfortunate reality is that these lunchtime presentations are often sparsely attended.
Each year I, and members of the administration and faculty, emphasize to recent graduates the importance of taking the bar exam seriously and passing it the first time. I also strongly suggest that graduates enroll in a structured, formal bar review class and avoid working if at all possible. During Dean Castro's exit interview with each graduating student, she emphasizes the importance of taking some bar review course and encourages students to study hard for the bar exam. Dean Keesler and Dean Zyskowski repeatedly warn students of the importance and difficulty of the bar exam, and Ermin Gornik in alumni affairs has several initiatives each summer to help students even up to the day of the test itself. Finally, we have often helped students who are appealing their results in states that allow appeals.
Even with all of this support, however, it is obvious that we can and need to do more. Here are some more recent initiatives. First, I have for a second time recommended to the faculty Curriculum Committee that we offer a for-credit, elective class addressing bar exam preparation, which students could take in their third year of law school. Professor Jane Adolphe, the Chair of our Curriculum Committee, is already hard at work at this within the Committee. Second, in early September I established a new ad hoc committee dedicated to making our procedures more formal for helping students with bar exam appeals. This Committee just completed assisting a former student who took and failed the bar exam in another jurisdiction, and it stands ready to assist our Michigan test takers. In this regard, every Ave Maria student who failed the Michigan Bar Exam has already been contacted by a member of this Committee and offered assistance. We already know that at least three test takers were within two or three points of passing, and I am hopeful that the Committee can assist them in successfully appealing. Third, I have instructed Dean Keesler and others to increase their efforts to emphasize to recent graduates the importance of taking the bar exam seriously. Fourth, I will again emphasize to our faculty, especially those who teach first-year courses, that they must familiarize themselves with the bar exam questions in their subject areas and ensure proper coverage during their classes. Finally, we continue to contemplate what other forms of assistance we can provide to our students and graduates.
In summary, the Law School is committed to doing whatever it can to help students pass the bar exam. This is our institutional responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for properly preparing for the bar exam, however, resides with the test takers themselves. If test takers do not take advantage of the many opportunities we provide or respond to our many admonishments to prepare well, there is little else we can do to assist them.
Over the past few years, I have been made aware of anecdotal evidence that suggests that some of our graduates have not taken the bar exam seriously, as they should have. Accordingly, I have directed that we collect data about our test takers in Michigan and other states, focusing on the type and quality of bar preparation undertaken and other circumstances that may have contributed to bar exam failures. We should all remember that a strong performance on the bar exam is not a birthright or a gift that our graduates receive simply by attending Ave Maria. Our graduates have traditionally prepared intensively for the bar exam, and this hard work was reflected in prior passage rates. We continue to believe that we are offering an outstanding educational program and are preparing our students well for the bar exam. But strong performance on the bar exam is closely related to the quality of the test taker's preparation for the test, and without that hard work the results will likely suffer.
In conclusion, I challenge everyone in the law school community to work together and redouble our efforts, so that we can continue our tradition of strong results on bar exams.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Early word on the street is that Bernie has lost the capacity to claim best bar passage rates in the state.
I'm sorry Class of 2007, but it is being rumored already that your class had the lowest passage rate of any Michigan-based law school.
It's not your fault -- I blame Bernie and Tom. Some commentors here on FUMARE blame us -- they have the luxury of such psychosis. For you and for me, however, we've been screwed by these idiots.
I hope the early reports are wrong. I really do.
If you have been leaning toward Ron Paul, but haven't given a donation, today is the day to be part of history.
Ghandi has been attributed with the following quote:
Ron Paul's campaign has recently moved into the attack phase. He is being accused of being a racists and his campaign is being accused of using "bots" to gin up polls on-line and post debate.
The reality is that his message is popular with people who "get" the complexity of his message on monetary and foriegn policy. The on the ground support is impressive (just look at this video of the democratic debate).
He is the only candidate talking about the issues that matter to American voters, and his impact is real, despite what the illusion mongers have to say.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
Family and Friends Visitation: A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward Avenue (between 13 - 14 Mile), Monday, November 5, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 6, 2:00 - 9:00 p.m. Rosary, Monday, 7:00 p.m. Scripture Service, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.
The Funeral Mass will be on Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. at St. Valentine Catholic Church, 25881 Dow, Redford, and visitation begins at 9:15 a.m. Rite of Interment at Holy Sepulchre. Family suggest memorials to the charity of donor's choice.
AMSL Mass - November 5, 12:20 p.m.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
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