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

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What Did the ABA Really Say?

(I know that I'll probably be attacked by the pro-Monaghanians as being someone who wants to destroy the law school out of spite. Of course, that is far from the truth. I want the school to succeed. I just happen believe that this is only possible if the the school is free from Monaghan's influence. So here goes.....)

I'm disappointed by Milhizer's email. For those of us who are familiar with the events at AMSL, it seems incredible that the ABA would approve what is happening at AMSL. To recap: a majority of AMSL faculty stated "no confidence" in the administration and alleged violations of academic freedom and an unbearable environment for a law professor; many prominent Catholic faculty at other law schools concurred in these allegations; three professors were fired on bogus charges and sued the administration for wrongful termination (the lawsuit is still in the middle of discovery); several other professors resigned due to the unbearable environment; several new hires were made, although some of these professors were previously rejected by the faculty hiring committee and are presumably of poorer quality than the earlier faculty who left; and the school continues to hire an abnormally large number of visitors and adjuncts in order to fill the teaching gaps. How can there be "conditions adequate to attract and retain a competent faculty"? I was hoping that the ABA would see this and would require changes in the way AMSL is run. In my opinion, that is the only way that AMSL has a chance of surviving.

This got me to thinking. We don't have a copy of the ABA's actual correspondence. All we have is Milihizer's interpretation of what the ABA said. So what did the ABA really say?

If you remember, back on August 23, 2007, Dobranski sent out an email stating that the ABA had reviewed all the faculty allegations, and that out of all of them (like school governance and academic freedom) the school only had to report on faculty hiring and retention. Dobranski didn't quote the text of the ABA correspondence and Dobranski's report sounded quite rosy.

Two weeks later, on September 7, 2007, Dobranski sent another email "in the interest of clarifying my August 24, 2007 statement." In that email, Dobranski actually quoted the ABA correspondence which had a much more ominous tone than what Dobranski had let on earlier, with the ABA stating that it had "reason to believe" that AMSL was not in compliance with ABA Standard 405(a) on faculty hiring and retention.

So, here was one time where the actual correspondence from the ABA was a little different than the administration's intepretation of the message. Could that be the case here? What did the ABA really say?

There are two radically different ways of interpreting the ABA message in Milhizer's email:

1. That the ABA has done a full investigation of the complaint; that the ABA found that the allegations of the faculty are completely without merit; and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with AMSL and it is in full compliance with ABA standards.

2. That the ABA has determined that the AMSL is currently in compliance with ABA standards regarding faculty; but that the faculty complaint is not without merit and does raise important areas of concern; and that the ABA is going to continue to monitor AMSL's compliance with ABA standards, with a close scrutiny of the school when the ABA comes for the fall site visit.

So what did the ABA really say? Let's see the ABA's language in their correspondence.