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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Duquesne Law Dean Dismissal and Student No Confidence

Recently, at Duquesne University School of Law, Mr. Don Guter, the apparently successful and competent dean of the law school was removed by the President of Duquesne University. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
During Mr. Guter's tenure, the law school has seen gains in a number of indicators including its bar-passage rate, which rose to 97 percent from 68 percent. But there have also been tensions between the law school and university President Charles Dougherty, including the president's initial refusal to grant tenure to professor John Rago despite a favorable faculty vote and backing of the dean.

The president's refusal sparked a student protest before Dr. Dougherty reversed couse and granted Mr. Rago tenure.

Reached today, Mr. Guter said he was given without explanation the option to resign in 24 hours or be removed.

"My reaction to this is shock. The school -- really by a lot of people's accounts, not just mine -- has never been in better shape," he said.

Bruce Ledewitz, a law school faculty member since 1980, called the move by the university unimaginable.

"This is an appalling decision. It shows that performance means nothing at Duquesne," Mr. Ledewitz said. "All that matters is if President Dougherty personally likes you."
Sounds eerily similar to the controversy at Ave Maria School of Law.

Though the President gave no reason for the dean's removal, it appears that the President was motivated by "personal animus" against the dean. (Check out the dean's letter to the President, which gives some background.)

Even more interesting is that the Duquesne student government passed a resolution stating that it objects to the removal of the law school dean and that it has NO CONFIDENCE in the President. We'll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops. (Those pesky kids! Stop complaining! They shouldn't be issuing no confidence statements! They are being unnecessarily confrontational and creating bad press! And, what's more, they are acting ultra vires! Don't they know that they have submit to the lawful authority of the President?)