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

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Ignorant Editorial Calling Catholic Legal Academics "Mutineers" and "Philistines"

In a recent editorial at Townhall.com, Mr. Emmett Tyrrell displays a horrendous amount of ignorance about the Ave Maria School of Law controversy. From the editorial:
After a two-year ordeal orchestrated by a group of mutinous faculty members, the Ave Maria School of Law has been given a clean bill of health by the American Bar Association and can continue with its work. I spoke on the campus last autumn and departed burdened by gloom. I feared the mutineers might win. They were the typical professorial grumblers, and such unhappy philistines so often have the upper hand on campuses.........

When [Tom Monaghan] and his board of governors decided to move the campus from Ann Arbor, Mich., to be closer to Monaghan's other project, Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., a minority of faculty rebelled, sending a dozen or more charges to the American Bar Association.

Their hope was that the ABA would revoke the Ave Maria School of Law's ABA accreditation. The ABA boiled the mutineers' complaints down to one. Now, after a comprehensive investigation, the ABA has found that contrary to the surviving complaint, Ave Maria is fully capable of attracting and maintaining competent faculty. With this, it is considered highly likely that the ABA will acquiesce to the planned move to Naples in 2009, over the howls of the irritable profs who filed their nuisance complaints.
Mr. Tyrrell, here is some advice that I hope you take to heart for the future:

1. Don't speak when you don't have all the information. Oftentimes, you will end up saying something foolish. Let me correct your version of the story: A majority of AMSL faculty had legitimate concerns that AMSL was being destroyed by mismanagement and violations of ABA standards. So, the faculty asked the ABA to look into the alleged problems.

2. You have just labelled a significant portion of American Catholic legal academia as "mutineers" and "philistines" (including prominent Catholic academics such as UCLA's Bainbridge, Notre Dame's Garnett, Villanova's Dean Sargent, Univ. of Oklahoma's Scaperlanda, Notre Dame's Rice, Fr. Robert Araujo, and AMSL's Myers, Murphy, Frohnen, and Falvey.) I don't think these law professors and deans like being called names. It's kind of mean, so you shouldn't do it. (Though I was glad to see that you didn't use Mongahan's favorite name for these types of people: "academic terrorists.")

Thank you.

HT: AveWatch.com