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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monaghan Deposition: Part 3

AveWatch has the final Part 3 of a deposition of Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan taken as part of discovery in the faculty lawsuit.

Fumed by Tommy More at 1:34 PM. |

Have the Alumni Thought About Filing A Lawsuit?

Just wondering.

Fumed by Tommy More at 12:43 PM. |

Observations on Monaghan Deposition #2

Here are my observations on Part 2 of the February 19, 2008 Monaghan deposition.

Pp. 114-116: Monaghan admits that Dobranski writes a report to Monaghan every single day about events at the law school. How many other law schools have their dean making daily reports to someone else? Is Monaghan now requiring Milhizer to write daily reports?
Q: How often do you talk to Bernard Dobranski?
A: Maybe once a week. Maybe twice a week.
Q: In person or on the phone?
A: Usually on the phone.
Q: And doesn't he apprise you of each and every important item that's going on at the law school every single day?
A: I get a -- I get a brief summary every day from him, and I assume everything that's important is in there.
Pp. 118-121: Monaghan admits that he is behind the move to Florida: "A: I would say that I have been trying to be persuasive in the Board making that move [i.e., a move of AMSL from Michigan to Florida]." And later, "A. It was my idea to persuade the Board to move the school."

Pp. 123: Monaghan seems to be unnecessarily difficult by refusing to admit that he currently wants to move the law school to Florida. I don't know whether Monaghan is being disingenuous because he thinks he can get away with it here, or whether he's aware that the ABA might not like the Florida idea and he doesn't want to paint himself as being 100% committed to Florida because the ABA might rule against Florida.
Q: You want to move the law school there [to Florida]; correct? That's uncontested in this case; right?
A: I did.
Q: Okay. Do you want to today?
A: I don't know.
Q: Why not?
A: I think so.
Q: You don't think so? Why not?
A: I said I don't know.
Q: Why don't you know?
A: Huh?
Q: Why don't you know?
A: I don't know.
Q: You've been looking at this since '02. You don't have an opinion today on whether you want to move it?
A: I would say I'd like to have it moved there, but I'm not obsessed with it.
Pp. 127-133: In an August 8, 2007 email to the entire law school community, Dobranski announced that 5 Board of Governors members were resigning "because of the term-limits policy and for personal reasons": Alvare, Bradley, George, Fession, and Scanlan. In the deposition, Monaghan is asked about who was on the original Board of Governors. All of the "original" Board members are now gone, including several people named in Dobranski's August 2007 email -- all except for one, Kate O'Beirne. At page 128, Monaghan says that O'Beirne was an original Board member. But as far as AMSL's website is concerned, O'Beirne is still on the Board of Governors today (in fact, in the deposition, Monaghan thinks that O'Beirne is even on the Executive Committee, see pp. 90-91.) If Monaghan is correct in saying that O'Beirne is an original Board member, why is O'Beirne still on the Board of Governors? Don't the term limits apply to her?

Pp. 133-143: Monaghan is ignorant about details surrounding the Nominating Commitee on the Board of Governors. Then Monaghan is ignorant about the mission statement for Ave Maria School of Law.
Q: Who set up the mission statement for Ave Maria School of Law?
A: I don't know.
Q: Does it have a mission?
A: I assume it does. ....
A: I think we have a mission statement.
Q: Do you know what it involves?
A: I couldn't give you any description of what it says now.
Then Plaintiffs' attorney reads the mission statement to Monaghan, and Monaghan is unable to intelligently discuss the provisions of the mission statement. I know Monaghan isn't well-educated, but Monaghan sounds like a despondent and sulky teenage kid who spent his entire 12th grade year playing video games instead of studying social sciences, and now finds himself looking blankly at his final exam and unable to answer the question "Discuss what you've learned this semester about 'natural law.'" Monaghan is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of AMSL, he is a sort of head for AMSL. It is ridiculous that Monaghan cannot intelligently discuss, in at least rudimentary manner, the unique mission and character of AMSL.

Pp. 146-154: Questions about the perception of AMSL as "Tom's school." Monaghan displays a supreme confidence that there is no way that AMSL is being run as "Tom's school," even if other people think so: "A: They couldn't have observed it was the way it's run [as Tom's school], because that's not the way it was run." and "A: The answer is that I don't dominate." Monaghan displays a dislike for Safranek throughout. Notice here that the roles of asking/answering questions are reversed:
A: Was he [Safranek] the one who said that I was running the law school, and it was my personal law school? Was he the one that said that?
Q: He didn't say that. He --
A: He never said that?
Q: He said, "The question is, is this --"
A: He asked that question?
Q: Yes.
A: Is he the one that asked that question?
Q: He's one of the people.
A: Okay. Well, I'd say that that question is as much a statement as a question ... if he said it, I think.
Q: So, you don't like being -- you don't like any suggestion that anything you do is wrong?
A: I don't mind it, because I know it's not true.
Q: You know it's not true, but do you know that some students and faculty think it is true?
A: Well, if it is, they've been told by somebody, because they didn't observe it in me.
Q: Do you think Steve Safranek exercises mind control over people?
A: I don't know.
These last lines hint at the conspiracy theory that I think Monaghan truly believes: the theory that all opposition by faculty, staff, alumni, and students is masterminded by a few disgruntled faculty. (A year and half ago, I posted 3 reasons why there is no subversive conspiracy.)

Pp. 156-158: Monaghan refuses to admit that Safranek's gift of $20,000 to help AMSL in the beginning was generous and instead speculates it was "persuasion to have me start the law school."

Pp. 166: Monaghan doesn't know what the term "fiduciary duty" means. [sigh...]

Pp. 170-171: Back to O'Beirne's long term as a Board of Governor member. Monaghan is asked why O'Beirne is still there. Monaghan speculates that her term limits are not up and that "I'm not sure that we didn't waive some of that temporarily because we were losing a number of Board members." Oh great, sometimes term limits are enforced, sometimes they aren't. How convenient.

Pp. 179-180: Monaghan's strange interruption about Safranek staring at him and trying to intimidate him.

Pp. 174-193: Questions about the faculty's no confidence vote, about the Alumni Board's no confidence, about the Mirror of Justice statement. Monaghan has no good answer as to what he did in response. (By the way, Alumni Board, nice work! At the time, you might have thought that the no-confidence resolution was pointless, but it was useful here in the deposition.)

Pp. 187-188 Monaghan's strange interruption about Plaintiffs' attorney pointing a finger. "A: Do you point at people as a habit? I've always -- Q: Yes, I do. A: I've always been brought up that that's impolite. Q: I'm sorry. A: And you've been doing that quite a bit."

Pp. 196-197: Interesting text of a memo from Janet Smith to AMC administration that I hadn't seen before: "It's regrettable that many are getting the impression that those who raise concerns about decisions are dismissed as hostile troublemakers and not team players."

Pp. 200: Interesting text of a July 30, 2007 email from Prof. Murphy to Dobranski that I hadn't seen before: "Your conduct, Bernie, this past year has been completely contrary to this declaration [i.e., AMSL being a vibrant Catholic community]. In particular, your persecution of Steve Safranek and the predictable effect on his family has been shameful."

Pp. 201-202: Discussion about a letter from Dan Kelly. Great work, Dan!

Pp. 203: When confronted by the fact that many students and alumni wrote letters objecting to events at the law school, Monaghan says "I think they can be persuaded and misled." Again, see my post why there is no subversive conspiracy.

Bring on Part #3!

Fumed by Thales at 11:01 AM. |

Positively The Paragon

I think the deposition is great. Here we see before our eyes *the* example of Catholic virtue and the mind that wants to create Catholic education like no other.

The leader, after all, is the one that defines the style and method of an organization, isn't he? Here, before your eyes is that leader and all of his method and example.

Is this deposition the model exemplar of how to be a holy executive?

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 8:53 AM. |

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Stop Looking at Me Swan!"

One exchange in the recently posted Monaghan deposition (part 2 -linked below) caught my attention:

"THE WITNESS: Steve, have you been staring at me the whole time like that? From the time being? Is that meant to intimidate me or something?
Have you been starting at me all along like you have been for the last minute or two?

Q. You want to explain how he's -- why don't you put on the record how he's staring at you, sir?

A. Well, just that -- he just -- he's just looking at me and totally focused on me.

Q. Well, is there something wrong with that? Aren't you the witness here today?

A. No, I am.
I am just wondering if that's --

Q. Are you intimidated by Steve Safranek?

A. No."

This all seemed very bizarre. No doubt Professor Safranek was trying to see if Monaghan had any facial reaction to Ms. Gordon's reading of the faculty no confidence vote. Not a weird thing for a lawyer or a plaintiff to do in a deposition, really. Monaghan - as he apparently did when the no confidence vote was originally passed - didn't really pay much attention to Ms. Gordon's reading of it but was focused on what he perceived as Safranek getting too big for his britches. There's a nice microcosm, no?

Still, the whole couple minute exchange of weirdness reminded me of some other nutty rich guy who was out of his depth when faced with running an otherwise successful enterprise that he had little understanding of. I'm looking at you Billy Madison.

Perhaps paranoia is common in these kinds of situations?

Fumed by TheLawDog at 6:37 PM. |

Monaghan Deposition: Part 2

AveWatch has Part 2 of a deposition of Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan taken as part of discovery in the faculty lawsuit.

Fumed by Tommy More at 2:36 PM. |

Monday, April 28, 2008

Observations on Monaghan Deposition #1

Part 1 of the February 19, 2008 Monaghan deposition is a fascinating read. Here are my observations.

Pp. 6-8: Monaghan comes off as being very obstinate and difficult. Right from the start, Monaghan is asked about when he was last deposed, how often has he been deposed, and on what topics. These are routine questions which would not compromise Monaghan's position, yet Monaghan is evasive and uncooperative.

Pp. 8-19: Monaghan is questioned about where he lives. Normally, this should be a simple question with a simple answer, but Monaghan isn't quite sure where he lives and who owns his houses.
Q: What is your address, sir?
A: [redacted] Gulfside -- Gulf -- Gulfside or -- I thinks it's Gulfside Drive. ....
Q: And do you own a property located at the address you just gave us?
A: I don't know.
Q: Why don't you know?
A: Because I don't know what -- whose name it's in.
A few pages later, after he is told to look at his driver's license, Monaghan gets it right: Gulfshore Drive, in Naples. Monaghan also has a house in Ann Arbor where his wife lives, but he doesn't know who or what entity owns the Ann Arbor house. When Monaghan is asked who lives with him in the Gulfshore residence, Monaghan says that he doesn't live in Naples, but "in a dorm on campus." And Monaghan doesn't know the address or the name of the dorm.
Q: "Okay. So, if somebody approaches you on campus and says, "Hi, Mr. Monaghan. I'd like to pick you up this evening and take you to dinner," what do you tell them when they say, "Where should I come?" How do you do --
A: I've never had that occur.
Q: So, you live in a dorm, but you don't even know the name of the dorm?
A: That's true.
Pp. 20-21: Monaghan doesn't know how to spell the name of the library (Canizaro) where his office is located or his secretary's last name (Sintic).

Pp. 23-38: Monaghan says that Fessio was removed as provost at AMU "Because I didn't think he was doing a good job." When Monaghan is asked what he means by that, Monaghan is unwilling to answer the question. After prodding, Monaghan gives another reason "I just didn't feel he fit in." Another reason: "unsatisfactory results" in terms of numbers of students attrated to AMU. Another reason: "He was difficult to work with... He was argumentative."

Pp. 76-89: Several pages of questions, trying to figure out the nature of Monaghan's role as Chairman of the Board of Governors at Ave Maria School of Law.
Q: What is your role as Chairman of the Board of Governors?
A: That's one I don't think I know how to answer.
Q: Why?
A: Because I don't know.
Q: Why is it you don't know?
A: Because I don't know.
After multiple iterations of this line of questioning,
Q: Since you don't know officially what you're supposed to do, what do you actually do, sir?
A: I consider myself just another member of the Board.
Monaghan then displays ignorance of many of his duties as Chairman of the Board, as set out in the AMSL bylaws.

Pp. 90-91: Interesting discussion about the mysterious Executive Committee. (Remember, the Executive Committee is the entity which suspended Safranek by official action on July 26, 2007.)
Q: Is there an Executive Committee at Ave Maria School of Law at this time?
A: Yes.
Q: And who's on it?
A: I don't -- I don't know.
Q: You don't know? Are you saying, no, you don't know?
A: I don't know all the members of it.
Q: Well, who do you know?
A: I think myself, I think Kate O'Beirne, and then I don't know who else.
Q: Who has appointed the members of the Executive Committee?
A: I think it's -- I'm not exactly sure how it's done.
Q: You're not sure?
A: No.
Q: Well, have you appointed any members of the Executive Committee?
A: I don't think I've officially appointed any members. I think I've been -- I'm sure I've been in discussions about who would be on it, but I think that it was a team type of thing.
My question: If Monaghan doesn't know who is on the Executive Committee, who decided to terminate Safranek?

Pp. 91-98: Discussion about Dobranski's employment contract. It appears that Dobranski doesn't have an employment contract with the law school because his employment contract was created before the law school existed. Yet, Monaghan seems to think that Dobranski is being paid by the law school. It doesn't make sense to me and it doesn't make sense to Ms. Gordon, Plaintiff's attorney, who spends some time pleading with Monaghan and Fink (Monaghan's attorney), to turn over the employment contract, which Fink has refused to do since October 2007.

Pp. 104-105:
Q: You're familiar with the American Bar Association?
A: Yes.
Q: And you realize, obviously, that the Ave Maria School of Law went through a lengthy and probably tedious process in order to become accredited?
A: Yes.
Q: And that was a very important milestone for the law school, was it not?
A: Yes.
Q: Because if the law school is not accredited, the students cannot sit for the bar exam; correct?
A: They can be provisionally accredited.
THE REPORTER: I'm sorry?
A: They can be provisionally accredited ... and sit for the bar.
I think this is VERY revealing. Here, Monaghan, without prompting, blurts out that provisional accreditation is fine for graduates when it comes to sitting for the bar. I suspect that Monaghan knows that full accreditation acquiescence for the Florida move is probably not forthcoming from the ABA, and I suspect that Monaghan is banking on provisional accreditation status in Florida.

I look forward to Part #2.

Fumed by Thales at 5:02 PM. |

Debbie Does Fumare, AveWatch

(pictured left-right, AveWatch, Debbie Reynolds, Fumare)

After reading part one of Tom Monaghan's deposition transcript, Debbie let her preferences be known.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 5:01 PM. |

Monaghan Deposition: Part 1

AveWatch has Part 1 of a deposition of Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan taken as part of discovery in the faculty lawsuit.

Fumed by Tommy More at 3:10 PM. |

National Law Journal Article About Vineyards Move

The National Law Journal has an article today on the recent announcement concerning Ave Maria School of Law's plans to move to the Vineyards campus in Naples instead of Ave Maria Town. The tone of the article is very interesting and is one that I haven't seen before: the article stresses the financial woes facing AMSL and speculates that the school's failure to sell the naming rights for $20 million is a cause of the school moving into "modest digs."
Ave Maria School of Law, apparently unable to sell naming rights to its planned new building in Ave Maria, Fla., will instead move to an older building in nearby Naples.

According to the Naples Daily News, Ave Maria made the stunning announcement in a press release April 17. The school cited "declining national economy and ongoing high construction costs due to the rising prices of raw materials" as reasons for the change in location.

When the school started by Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan first announced in February 2007 it was moving from Ann Arbor, Mich., to the town Monaghan was starting in southwest Florida, the plan was to relocate to a posh new building. Drawings of the new school were even released.

The first signs of financial woe came in December 2007 when Ave Maria announced it wanted to sell naming rights to the building for $20 million to fund construction.

Apparently, there have been no takers. Instead, according to the press release, the school will move into modest digs -- the former Ave Maria University temporary campus 35 miles away.
I don't think that "AMSL is in desperate financial need" is the type of impression Monaghan wants to be giving to the ABA these days.

UPDATE: Picking up on the National Law Journal story, the Wall Street Journal law blog reports on Vineyards and makes the same point: AMSL couldn't find a buyer for the naming rights, is strapped for cash, and now needs to move to an older campus. The WSJ law blog also states that AMSL was "compelled to change deans this month after U.S. News ranked it in the lowest tier," which unfortunately isn't true. I wish that there would be a change of deans because of the poor U.S. News ranking. That would then show that the Board of Governors is serious about improving the ranking. But alas, the Board of Governors is still content with the terrible job that Dobranski is doing.

Fumed by Thales at 2:15 PM. |

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Inductee to the Fumare Hall of Shame for Gyrene Disappointments

Let not Mr. Peter Carfagna's resignation from the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors pass without some acknowledgement.

When Mr. Carfagna started his term on the Board of Governors, we had high hopes. He seemed to show genuine interest in listening to the concerns of students, alumni, and faculty. Unfortunately, those hopes faded quickly. During his years as a member of the Board of Governors, Mr. Carfagna neglected to address the important concerns of the constituencies of the law school, flat-out ignored the petition and pleas of the alumni, contributed to the decline and instability of the law school by supporting the Florida move, and approved the immoral termination of three professors.

Mr. Carfagna, we wanted you to speak up in support of justice and truth, but we were sorely disappointed. For this, you are inducted into the Fumare Hall of Shame for Gyrene Disappointments.

Fumed by Petronius at 1:31 PM. |

Monaghan Email Re: Board of Governors Resignation and Appointment

From: Green, Rosanne
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 09:49
To: All Law System Distribution
Subject: FW: Announcement from the Board of Governors


From: Jeff Randolph

Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 9:46 AM
To: Green, Rosanne
Subject: Announcement from the Board of Governors

Rosanne –

I would be grateful if you would forward the below Announcement / Message from Mr. Monaghan to the Ave Maria School of Law Community.

Thank you!

April 25, 2008

Ave Maria School of Law Community -

The Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law wishes to report three significant events:

First, Peter Carfagna has resigned from the Board of Governors for personal reasons. Mr. Carfagna's service to the Law School during his three year term has been dedicated and exemplary, and the Law School Community has benefitted greatly from his many contributions to its leadership.

Secondly, a new Board Member has been appointed by the Board of Governors, Edmund F. Devine. Mr. Devine received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and his L.L.M. from Catholic University of America. Mr. Devine is Of Counsel at the Miller Canfield law firm, with his office located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Devine has had a distinguished legal career. He has held leadership roles in the American College of Trial Lawyers and served for many years as a lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School. The Board of Governors is very pleased to benefit from the background and experience of Mr. Devine.

Finally, the Board of Governors wishes to announce that it has formally appointed Associate Dean Gene Milhizer to serve in the role of Acting Dean during the period of Dean Bernard Dobranski's disability. Dean Milhizer has also been appointed as a Member of the Board of Governors for this period. Dean Milhizer had been serving as the Acting Dean by automatic action under the Bylaws of the Law School, and the Board of Governors wished to make this a formal appointment.

Thomas S. Monaghan

Chairman, Board of Governors

Ave Maria School of Law

Fumed by Tommy More at 1:05 PM. |

"Our Faith is SO Cool!"

As many of you know, St. Padre Pio has been dug up and put in a glass case in the Madonna delle Grazie Church in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia province, Italy. It is one of those interesting things that we do as Catholics - dig up the dead and put them on display (in addition to taking pieces of their body and chopping them up and passing them out to people). It is one of the ways that the fruit of the Faith shines forth.

This morning, I showed this photo of St. Padre Pio to my wife. It is the face of a man who has been dead for 40 years, and yet it looks as if he were simply sleeping, incorrupted and actually looking more youthful than when he was still inhabiting this body before his death.

My wife said, "Our Faith is SO Cool!"

Indeed, it is.

Fumed by Columcille at 10:40 AM. |

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ladies' Apparel from the FUMARE Catalog

Homeschool Mom denim jumper ($32.99)*, with dried breastmilk on collar ($42.99)*
Perfect for the homeschool mom who hearkens for the good old days of covered wagons and a rustic lifestyle! Nothing says matron like Fumare's Homeschool Mom denim jumper. Dress for success as you teach your children around the kitchen table. 100% cotton. Machine washable. (Mantilla sold separately.)

Hot Homeschool Mom denim jumper ($32.52)*
Contraception?--No way! This attractive ensemble tells the world that you love your husband, and your husband certainly loves you! Button down top allows you to be modest with the children in the morning, and edgy with your man in the evening. Perfect for the woman who takes care of her 9 children and herself. 100% cotton. Machine washable.

*Shipping and handling not included. MI residents add sales tax.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 5:15 PM. |

Stop Trashing Detroit!

Though I'm not from the great city of Detroit, Detroit holds a special place in my heart due to the fact that I lived 3 years in Southeast Michigan while attending AMSL. You may be aware of the ongoing controversy involving Kwame Kilpatrick, the Mayor of Detroit, which hit the national news a little while ago. To recap, Mayor Kwame has been accused of perjury, misusing city funds, having an affair with his chief of staff, and a lot of other things.

Now I'm quite upset, so everyone who has said negative things about Mayor Kwame, hear me loud and clear: Stop criticizing Mayor Kwame! You are trashing the city of Detroit!

The media, the City Council, the County Prosecutor, and everyone who is attacking Mayor Kwame: You are all hurting the City of Detroit! It is because of you, that the reputation of Detroit is suffering. Your criticism of Mayor Kwame is creating a scandal which hurts Detroit's image, affecting things like business and tourism.

The allegations against Mayor Kwame have not been proven in a court of law. Let the legal process go forward. It is simply un-Christian and slanderous to heap these unproven calumnies on Mayor Kwame's head.

Look, if you people have a problem, any disagreement with Mayor Kwame should be kept personal and quiet. The bravado of the media, publicly airing the details of the controversy surrounding Mayor Kwame, is unconscionable. And to all those people who are writing letters to the editor demanding Mayor Kwame's resignation, which are later published in newspapers: People, your letters are hurting Detroit! Resolve your differences with Mayor Kwame internally. Stop airing your dirty laundry for the entire world to see!

Mayor Kwame has done great things for the city of Detroit in the past years. Have you forgotten all that he has achieved? He has balanced the budget, built 75 buildings in the downtown area, 7 new hotels, 3 rec centers, and much more. You should be grateful for what Mayor Kwame has done. It is so hypocritical of you to be biting the hand that feeds you. Remember also, Mayor Kwame is the lawfully-elected mayor of Detroit. He has the authority to lead Detroit in a way he sees fit. If you do not submit to Mayor Kwame's authority, you are a dissident.

What is especially ugly is the way that the Detroit City Council has been in a pointless stand-off with Mayor Kwame. It is the job of the City Council to support the Mayor, and yet they spend all their time passing non-binding resolutions of no-confidence. Of course, Mayor Kwame ignored the no-confidence resolution. What did the City Council think it would accomplish? Nothing. All it did was further damage the relationship between them and Mayor Kwame, and bring more negative press to Detroit. The City Council needs to work with Mayor Kwame, instead of engaging in worthless acts of bravado.

Finally, it is disgusting how people ran and complained to the County Prosecutor's Office. Everyone knows that the Prosecutor's Office is a secular, liberal institution, that is looking for any reason to undermine Mayor Kwame and to cast Detroit in a negative light. If the Prosecutor succeeds in making felony charges stick against Mayor Kwame, Detroit will be the laughingstock of America, and it will all be the fault of those who ran whining to the Prosecutor.

So stop trashing Mayor Kwame and the City of Detroit! You call yourselves Christian citizens, and yet look at what you do: you spew calumnies and tear down a great city. If I were a mayor, I wouldn't want to have you as citizens in my city. Please leave Detroit! You are so bitter, and you obviously hate this great city.

Fumed by Thales at 5:05 PM. |

Why Hillary Will Win the Nomination

In the good old days, Democrats were Catholic and Catholics were Democrats - the champion of the working man and his family, the party of Catholic Social Teaching in an age when that meant labor issues.

However, the civil rights movement alerted the party leadership that if it became the voice of a "victim class" it would get the support of that entire class of voters. So, civil rights meant the "Black Vote" and patriarchally oppressed women meant the "Women's Vote" and minority rights meant the "Minority Vote". This is what the party is all about today - victim class special interests.

So now we have a contest between Hillary and Obama and the party is being split down the middle. Why? Because the party has to decide which victim class is more of a victim and therefore "deserves" to be in the White House more. The Democratic Electorate is trying to answer the following question:

Is the victim class collective "pain" of Women greater than that of Blacks? Or in another way, who is the greater oppressor - "Men" or "Whitey"?

This is what the Rev. Wright issue is all about. Rev. Wright is only saying what the Democratic leadership have been nodding their heads to for years, "Whitey is the reason your life is miserable."

Of course, no one pays attention to the fact that Hillary and Obama are both elite members of their respective genders and race. Facts don't matter in identity politics, nor do principles.

So who is going to win? Who is the greater victim: Hilary (for Women) or Obama (for Blacks)?

My prediction, is that it will eventually be Hillary. Why?

Because Hillary also represents another victim class - Homosexuals.

Despite her marriage to Bill, she has been campaigning with her daughter - visually this is a female couple campaigning for the presidency.

The subtext of this "politics of the image" is of course lesbianism. Like the subtext of "Two and a Half Men" is homosexual marriage and adoption.

Hillary is "reading" in the media as a member of two victim classes: Women and Homosexuals.

That's two victim classes for Hillary and only one victim class for Obama.

That is why Hillary will ultimately win the nomination of her party. She embodies more victim classes as a woman and a lesbian.

Fumed by Columcille at 1:07 PM. |

SHOCKING: Black's Law Dictionary Revealed as Hoax

This article has been around since 2003. AMSL lied to us about this too!

Read here.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:45 PM. |

Naples = Bathing Suits

From the Bavarian beer comments, Frau Blucher raises an important argument:
To those who cry "Fr. Hardon" and "6th Commandment":

Why have we not seen ANYONE argue that moving to Florida is immoral on the grounds that the beaches and weather there promote impure thoughts?

While Michigan AMSL women are bundled in coats, FL AMSL women will be in shorts, tight t-shirts, or worse. AMSL students will be exposed to all manner of undress far worse than the Bavarian Beer ladies.

Tom Monaghan isn't taking people to heaven. He is taking them to hell by putting them in a bawdy beach climate the promotes immodesty during a time in life (20's) where sexual maturity is at its peak.

South Florida = Sins of Flesh

Monaghan & Healy will have to answer to God for this!

Frau Blucher | 04.24.08 - 9:54 am | #
Isn't the Vineyards campus near the beach (and near bikinis)? The horror!!

Fumed by Petronius at 10:10 AM. |

Al-Qaida to 9/11 "Truthers": Give Us Credit!

I thought this article was interesting considering the recent 9/11 "Truther" discussions. Apparently the Muslim world has its share of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. (Shhhh.... it wasn't Al-Qaida, it was Israel!)

But Al-Qaida second-in-charge Al-Zawahri tells us that these conspiracy theories are untrue. Al-Zawahri explains: "The purpose of this lie is clear - (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it."

(.... but .... what if Al-Zawahri is a U.S. operative? Can the "Truthers" be right???)

HT: Volokh

Fumed by Thales at 9:49 AM. |

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

From Russia with Love

"Solyanka have nothing on Ivan and Milos. Ja vas lublu, Fumare."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 3:23 PM. |

6th Commandment

In a previous post, I was taken to task by a commenter named "6th Commandment." There he provided us with a rigorous theological and moral analysis of my post. As is common with commenters of this type, he once again displayed a Padre Pio like ability to see into my mind and divine the purpose not only of my post, but of my heart. Unfortunately, as he was providing the wider Fumare community with much spiritual succor, one of my colleagues (whom I do not know) edited his commentary. (As you all know, I never edit comments unless blasphemous.) For this, on behalf of the whole Fumare community, I apologize; and yes, 6th, I will post that picture that you sent me.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:12 AM. |

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Surprise Council Meeting

Apparently Ivan and Milos met in the large chambers today to discuss the status of Columcille's pictures.

Pictures are: Ivan (standing), Columcille (sitting) and Milos (standing).
Not Pictured: Advocatus Militaris, Thales, Ryder, Casimir Pulaski, Thursday, or Devil's Advocate.

Milos made minutes of the meeting that show that Ivan spoke for most of the meeting.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:04 PM. |

Time for Something Healthy, Good, and Beautiful!


Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 3:20 PM. |

Sonne Email Re: Plans Next Term

Here is the email Professor Sonne sent to AMSOL students regarding his plans for next year.
From: Sonne, James
Sent: Thu 4/17/2008 8:01 PM
To: Class of 2009; Class of 2010
Subject: Next Term

Dear Students,

Next term, I will teach a class entitled "Dignity in the Workplace." The class will be taught in a condensed format as I will be spending most of the year as a federal appellate law clerk - something I have wanted to do for some time and highly recommend. I hope some of you will enroll in the class and I look forward to seeing all of you in Florida.


Prof. Sonne

Fumed by Tommy More at 2:01 PM. |

Alumni Board Letter Re: US News Rankings

April 21, 2008

Dear fellow graduates of Ave Maria School of Law:

As you may recall, last year at this time the Ave Maria Alumni Association Board of Directors sent correspondence to you regarding the law school's 2007 rankings in the U.S. News & World Report. We have had a chance to analyze the law school's 2008 rankings, and to compare the 2008 rankings to last year's numbers.

-The law school's 2008 peer assessment score decreased from 1.4 to 1.3 of a possible 5.0, or -7%.
-The 2008 lawyer's/judge's assessment score remained 2.1 of a possible 5.0.
-The 2008 75th percentile GPA decreased from 3.02 to 2.93, or -2%.
-The 2008 25th percentile GPA decreased from 3.60 to 3.47, or -3%.
-The 2008 75th percentile LSAT decreased from 150 to 147 of a possible 180, or -5%.
-The 2008 25th percentile LSAT decreased from 158 to 155 of a possible 180, or -5%.
-The 2008 acceptance rate decreased from 52.8% to 51%, for a 2% improvement.
-The 2008 student/faculty ratio decreased from 16.1 to 15.7, for a 2% improvement.
-The 2008 nine-month employment rate decreased from 89.9% to 73.3%, or -17%.
-The 2008 bar passage rate in MI improved from 89.3% to 96.3%, for a 7% improvement.

In sum, the law school had marginal decreases in its peer assessment, GPAs, and LSAT scores, and marginal improvements in its acceptance rate, student/faculty ratio, and Michigan bar-passage rate. The law school sustained a substantial decrease, however, in its nine-month employment rate.

We have also analyzed the law school's 2008 rankings in comparison to other third and fourth tier schools ranked in the U.S. News & World Report.

-The law school's peer assessment was worse than all third-tier schools and better than or the same (better/same) as two fourth-tier schools, or 5%.
-The law school's lawyer's/judge's assessment was better/same as 7% of third-tier schools and better/same as 27 fourth-tier schools, or 64%.
-The law school's 75th percentile GPA was better/same as 7% of third-tier schools and better/same as 21 fourth-tier schools, or 50%.
-The law school's 25th percentile GPA was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 23 fourth-tier schools, or 55%.
-The law school's 75th percentile LSAT was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 26 fourth-tier schools, or 62%.
-The law school's 25th percentile LSAT was better/same as 5% of third-tier schools and better/same as 10 fourth-tier schools, or 24%.
-The law school's acceptance rate was better/same as 10% of third-tier schools and better/same as 19 fourth-tier schools, or 45%.
-The law school's student/faculty ratio was better/same as 33% of third-tier schools and better/same as 29 fourth-tier schools, or 69%.
-The law school's nine-month employment rate was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 3 fourth-tier schools, or 7%.
-The law school's home-state bar-passage rate was better/same as 100% of third-tier schools and better/same as 39 fourth-tier schools, or 93%.

In sum, it appears that these numbers indicate that the law school is somewhere in the middle of the fourth tier and will need substantial improvement in its peer assessment and nine-month graduation rate to move up from the fourth tier.

We also note the following points of interest: the law school's home-state bar passage rate was tied for tenth overall out of all ranked law schools. Also, the law school did not rank in the top ten of program specialties ranked by faculty who teach in the respective fields: clinical training, dispute resolution, environmental law, health law, intellectual property law, international law, legal writing, tax law, and trial advocacy.

We are certain that the members of the Alumni Association are anxious for the law school's ranking to improve. The Board of Directors has standing committees to address recruiting/admissions, career placement, and development. We welcome alumni involvement in these areas, which have the potential to positively affect the surveyed categories. Further, Assistant Dean Roboski has indicated that the law school has engaged in marketing/advertising campaigns in an effort to improve the peer assessment. We certainly recommend that members of the Alumni Association encourage the administration to continue and intensify such efforts.

We hope that you find this report informative and welcome your feedback, questions, comments, and concerns about this letter and anything else related to the interests of our alma mater.

Justin Berger '03
Peter Mansfield '03
Luke Reilander '05
On behalf of The Alumni Association Board of Directors

Cc: Assistant Dean Charles Roboski
Interim Dean Eugene Milhizer
Dean Bernard Dobranski

Fumed by Tommy More at 10:10 AM. |

Tancredo is an Ass

Fumed by Columcille at 9:01 AM. |

The Impact of Benedict's Spiritual Power - Real Hope

The rest.

Who could imagine how Jesus would use the sexual abuse crisis as a means of showing secular America the power of real hope rooted in Faith?

Those who have the most reason to hate pope Benedict are talking about their real newly discovered hope. Benedict came with the message, Christ Our Hope, and he delivered.

This is amazing . . . something big is happening in this country . . . Praise God!

Fumed by Columcille at 12:39 AM. |

FUMARE--Women Love Us, Men Want to Be Us!

pictured (left to right): Ryder, Columcille, Phlogizo, Thursday, Bendrix, Casimir Pulaski, Boko Fittleworth, Devil's Advocate. (not pictured: Thales, Advocatus Militaris, TheLawDog, Petronius)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:36 AM. |

Pope Spotting, AMSoL Grad

In watching the coverage of the pope's visit, how many times were you able to spot an Ave Maria graduate?

See if you can spot one here.

Fumed by Columcille at 12:21 AM. |

Monday, April 21, 2008

Says Healy to Dobranski: This Town Ain't Big Enough

Vineyards, shminyards, I'm surprised folks give any credence to the logic of the press release. Any incidental return on the building is even small change to the guy who has another billion hiding in the Allegra Network.

The real story is Healy sent Bernie a message on one of Healy's old album covers:

I don't care what anyone else says. It's obvious that there ain't enough room in AMT.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 10:32 PM. |

Is You In or Is You Out?

Jim Sonne to current Ave students: Stay the course! (That would be SSE.)

Jim Sonne to prospective Ave students: All aboard!

Jim Sonne to Ave: Include me out!

Jim Sonne thinks the move to Florida is a great idea. For you. For him, not so much. Ask him why. Ask him how long he's been planning to jump ship. Ask him why his planned unavailability to students for all but one week next semester was only revealed last week. (And while you're asking about timing, ask the interim dean why he waited until after incoming students' deposits were due to announce a major change in Ave's plans for its students' future.)

Jane Adolphe, too, appears to have better places to be than southwest Florida. (Heck, now it appears that even Mr. Dobranski won't be making the trip, but that's another story.)

Ave is under ABA investigation for faculty retention problems, but team players Jim Sonne and Jane Adolphe won't even stick around to pad the numbers. If Ave Florida is good enough for you, why isn't it good enough for them?

Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 2:33 PM. |

"You can paint a rainbow on your wall!"

Incense corrected my original post on the law school's new quasi-facility in Ave Maria Tow...whoops, I keep forgetting...Naples (see it here). They indicate that a prize goes to those who can guess the law school's new facility between the two pictures posted. (h/t Incense)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:18 PM. |

Friday, April 18, 2008

For All of You Who Enjoyed Paying Your Income Tax This Week

Fumed by Columcille at 9:55 PM. |

Vineyards Will Provide Students With Plenty of Pro Bono Opportunities

Moving to the Vineyards will prove to be a wonderful opportunity. A place where Catholic culture thrives and where there is plenty of need for pro bono work.

Just trust Tom Monaghan and the Ave Maria Foundation, they have your best interest always at heart. Nothing will happen to you while they are looking out for you.

For example, he wouldn't move the whole AMSoL community to the Vineyards unless the Blessed Virgin Mary told him that in a slumping housing market and national crisis, that he could get this property into the black by moving AMSoL down there.

Nor would he put AMSoL through the battery, divorce and destruction of the community for the promise of a dream campus and building that doesn't materialize for another hmm say 10 to 15 years.

Nor would he force AMSoL down there with the promise of a new building, and simply to turn around and say, "Well you are not officially part of AMU, so AMU will give you the land, but you will have to raise all the money yourself for construction costs."

He wouldn't do that, even if he was running out of money (which he is), you can trust him.

And he wouldn't simply put AMSoL on the back burner for as long as possible to collect rent from an institution that he is giving to (simply to save costs).

Tom Monaghan won't screw you, trust me, he won't. You can trust him to serve his own best interests, which are yours too, don't you know?

Fumed by Columcille at 5:54 PM. |

Naples News on Vineyards Campus

The Naples News has an expanded article on the announcement to move AMSL to Vineyards. Some excerpts:
A law school release cited a declining national economy and high construction costs as reasons that led the school's board of governors to its decision.
Last February, the school announced its move from Michigan to what was expected to be a permanent facility in Ave Maria. But with the current financial situation, the only alternatives for the school was to stay in Ann Arbor or use the Vineyards property, Milhizer said. Since the school had told its first-year and prospective students to expect a move to Florida, it wanted to follow through, he said.

"We wouldn't want to interrupt that momentum that was forming for the move," Milhizer said.
I think the first-year and prospective students were told to expect a move to Ave Maria Town, not to Naples. Also, interesting to see the administration admit that the economy is not as rosy as it once was. Remember, the southwest Florida economy was a prominent argument in support of a Florida move to begin with. Finally, did the Board of Governors make the decision by a meeting and vote, or did something else happen?
The law school will lease the property from the university, which owns it. Both schools were founded by former Domino's Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan and Monaghan is on the boards of both schools, but there's no official relationship between them.
Hee, hee, hee. "There's no official relationship between them." But there are a lot of unofficial relationships.
It is possible, Milhizer said, that the ABA approval could be needed a second time once the law school would take permanent residence in Ave Maria town.

"I don't know if the ABA would consider that a major change," he said. "If you consider it major, it will be a move to a state-of-the-art law school building. I can't see why that would be a problem."
Interesting to see Milhizer admit that we might be looking at 2 major changes and acquiescences instead of one. I just don't know why the administration has confidence that the ABA will give acquiescence to a move to a temporary campus. I would think the ABA doesn't want set that kind of precedent.
Milhizer said he didn't know how long the school would have to stay in the Vineyards and he wasn't sure when groundbreaking would occur in Ave Maria town.
I wonder whether the school might be in Vineyards for 2, 3, or more years.
The announcement does represent a solution of sorts for Ave Maria University's failure to sell the Vineyards site. The school thought it had a deal with a Chicago-based Catholic organization to turn the property into a retirement home, but it fell apart in May. After the deal fell through, university officials had maintained on a number of occasions there were other buyers, but apparently leasing the property to the law school was the most viable option.
Interesting. I didn't know that there was a controversy over trying to get Vineyards sold.
Reaction from law school alumni was disappointment on Thursday afternoon. Jim Fox, a 2003 graduate who works at the Roetzel & Andress firm in Naples and sits on a committee that is facilitating the school's move to Florida, said he was hoping the school's transitions would end after 2009.

"Frankly I was looking forward to the law school being in the permanent facility and having the moves and transitions behind it," Fox said. "That's clearly not the case now."

But Fox said some benefits to the temporary site would be the ability to have on-campus student housing and a closer location to the area's legal community as it begins to build relationships.

Matt Bowman, also a 2003 graduate who had spearheaded a petition drive supporting the three professors that filed suit against the school, was upset at the news.

"You have to expect disappointments like this one from people who are destroying a once-successful law school for no other reason than to serve Mr. Monaghan's desires," Bowman said.
Looks like the Vineyards decision was a surprise to everyone, including Mr. Fox. Mr. Bowman, that is a succinct yet hard-hitting soundbite. Thank you!

Fumed by Thales at 9:56 AM. |

Transcript of Student Town Hall Meeting with Milhizer

Fumare has obtained a rough transcript of yesterday's AMSL student Town Hall Meeting with Dean Milhizer. The main body of the text is Dean Milhizer speaking, with questions posed by students. Note that this is not a word-for-word transcript but rather a rough paraphrase.

Milhizer: Lots of information today. I think it's good news, or at least the vast majority, is good news. Some is neutral.

Would have liked to meet earlier this week but was in D.C. for the Pope's visit.

1. I can confirm that the Law School will move to Florida as promised for the 2009-10 academic year.
It's important that we keep our commitments and build on our relocation momentum. Under the leadership of people like Dean Roboski, etc., I think it's important that we move on schedule and we're able to do that.
One thing that I've worried about is the building has not been begun. Over time a number of issues have surfaced, which put moving on time in jeopardy. Everybody knows about the economy and housing market, construction costs, and the whole permitting process in Florida. When issues became apparent, I started and the BoG started looking at a contingency plan. Someplace else to stay on schedule? Providentially, an option came up. "Vineyards Campus." Where the University was for a while before moving to AMT. We will move there temporarily, probably not move again in back-to-back years but we will move again to AMU campus.
It will be an absolutely fine facility for the law school. 5 major buildings and 8 "villas" (duplex housing units). More classrooms and seats than we have in A2. Footprint for each facility (bookstore, chapel, library) comparable to here. Housing will be available in East and West halls. Some will be available to students. And villa/duplexes also available for housing. (An advantage to the housing situation in AMT). Not sure if it will be a mix of faculty, staff, students yet.
Another advantage of the Vineyards campus is proximity to Naples and the legal community. Fine facility. We can be there while the university expands and builds.
Slideshow - 12 acres 5 major structures - artistic renderings - etc etc
Question: What's the ABA say about this?
A: We couldn't seek acquiescence until the facility issue was settled. Now that it's settled we can move forward. I think it's a fine facility in some ways superior to what we have now, and also the ABA can see a hard building rather than a conceptual building. Just needs to be retrofitted (as this A2 facility was retrofitted). Again I would vote not to move again within a year.
Question: But do you have a vote?
A: I was speaking in the vernacular.
Q: So you don't have a say?
A: No I think I have a say. I definitely think I have a say.
Q: Will we move ahead on the building in AMT?
A: I think once we get down there this will enhance our ability to build the law school we really want to have.
Q: Was this considered in the feasibility study? If not, how would that affect this?
A: I don't think Vineyards was discussed in the feasibility study. Can't speculate any more about that.
Q: Has there been a Board resolution on this? I believe the Board originally resolved to move to AMT. How can we know that Mr. Monaghan isn't simply directing this change in plans by fiat?
A: Can't get into specifics on that but I can tell you the Board is completely supportive of this.
Q: Is there adequate space for the library and will the campus be wireless?
A: Hard-wired for exam security, maybe wireless also, I'm not sure. The library will have almost the same lineal foot space for stacks as we have here and the rest will be converted to electronic. Seating will be less than we have here.
Q: Who owns the property, and will it be leased, who pays for retrofitting?
A: We will lease it from the University. Payment for retrofitting: I'm not at liberty to talk about this.
Q: As a 2010 class member, we always understood we'd be moving to the University campus. Why the push to move us when we're not ready to do just that? Why not stay here?
A: When I hosted Dean's coffees, many 1L students expressed desire to stay on schedule. Important to move as the commitment was made. There may be some disagreement about that. All the relationships and momentum we're developing in Collier county, we don't want to lose. It would be different if we were moving to an inferior facility but we're not.
--more slides of photos and artists renderings--
Q: Lots of promises have been made. Part of the promise was being the first class in the new facility. We now won't have anything permanent and 2010 will be a forgotten class.
A: How do you answer that? I mean certainly the law school experience and your law school identity is more than the facility you're in. I think this facility can serve the needs of the students for the educational purposes we're committed to.
Followup: But it's not Ave Maria Town, Catholic community, and that's what we were promised.
A: I don't want to quarrel with you. It isn't like we're in a situation where we could keep that new building promise if we wanted. It's not a matter of choosing between Vineyards and the new building.
Q: I don't know why we're behind schedule but...
A: National economy, housing market, construction costs...
Q: Why not spend all this money for retrofitting on a new campus?
A: Retrofitting is not nearly as expensive as new construction. Just need a moot courtroom, etc. I don't have figures.
Q: Will our graduation be at Vineyards or at AM campus?
A: I don't know, but the students should have input.
Q: How long have you known that this is Plan A, as an administration?
A: I was aware of the possibility for at least a few weeks. Question reiterated. When decided? Within the past couple weeks. Maybe less. I had hoped to announce this earlier this week but I was in D.C. with the Pope and the President.
Q: Why not wait until 1L oral arguments were done to announce this?
A: I can candidly tell you that 1L oral arguments did not even cross my mind. I wanted to provide interest to the community.
Q: Has the ABA given us anything at all? We students want to know whether we should transfer. How long is the process - that's a fair question to ask them for our benefit. So we can make plans, this is our future.
A: Part of any discussion with the ABA would be about a timeline for a decision.
Q: How is rent in comparison to AMT?
A: There wasn't a lot available in AMT. Rent is probably across the board in the Vineyards area.
Q: Demographics - right now we're in A2 which is perfect for a law school - what about the Vineyards area?
A: Naples/FortMyers area has restaurants, symphony, sports, etc. It's rated as one of the most livable areas in the country. It has a coast which we don't have here. Restaurants. [Yes, he said it twice.] Movie theaters, etc. Growing Catholic population. Younger growth. Some is seasonal population, many midwestern transplants...
---more slides and photos---

2. ABA-related matter.
Will be of comfort to some of you. Some of you have had questions about the State Bar of Virginia and what would happen if we lost accreditation after your matriculation?
I have a letter from Virginia Board of Bar Examiners saying Virginia follows ABA standards and that means anyone who matriculates to an accredited law school is considered to have graduated from an accredited law school and may sit for the bar in every state.
Q: Arizona has the exact same language in their court rules. I did more research and most states (7 of 10 that I looked at) say must be accredited the day you graduate. Should seek letters from all 50 states.
A: We can try. Can't say that every state would respond but I'll look into it. Usually any departure from ABA guidelines would be the
Q: Tennessee will not let you sit for the bar if not accredited day of graduation. I called them and talked to them.
A: This is the problem that VA folks said to me. Several bar-related organziations exist and not all are authoritative. I will check on it.
Q: And check Florida please.
Q: Faculty retention/complaint: when will the ABA decide this issue?
A: I'd like to tell you more than I'm able to tell you. I can read a statement. "We intend to honor the confidentiality..." [The same statement from before.] Annual site visit will take place this fall.
Q: Is that a proceeding which student representation can be present at?
A: I think so.
Q: Would you be open to student representatives participating?
A: I have no objection to students meeting with the ABA if they're open to that.

3. Fall Academic Schedule
Later today the fall schedule will be released for registration next week. Keep in mind this is just a snapshot in time and there are potential faculty members who may come on. I was inclined to wait until all that happens, but I'd rather get registration done.
1L courses are covered. 2 sections of Trial Ad in the fall. We have some new adjuncts - for State & Local Gov't, potentially others. Ted Afield an expert in tax law will join faculty on tenure-track. Mike Kenney an old associate dean will be joining as visiting prof. A prof. DeJesus will teach law/children, family law as a visiting prof. Sonne will teach a compressed course and will be clerking for a federal judge most of the year. O'Callaghan will be visiting elsewhere. Myers still civ pro but not upper level courses. We have a number of candidates in various levels of negotiation so in the fall there will be a more expanded schedule and we'll take care of that in drop-add.
Q: We're losing Sonne?
A: He will send an email and it says he's looking forward to joining us in Florida.
Q: Losing anyone else besides Sonne, O'Callaghan, etc?
A: Adolphe will be compressed somewhat due to Vatican work but not to the extent of Sonne
Q: Commitments to move to Florida from any Faculty members?
A: We're going to be working on package offers. Not fair to ask for commitments when we haven't offered packages yet. Now that Vineyards is settled I'll turn my attention to it.

Thank you all. Also, Dean Dobranski was released from Hospital and is now in rehabilitative facility. We'll make sure he gets your cards. Also, there's been good news - we won Michigan moot court competition for instance. Joe Vanderhulst was here - law review will run a 3rd issue which is unprecedented. Hope this doesn't get lost with the clutter. Lastly, I had the honor of being at the White House when Pope Benedict was welcomed. Inspirational. Want to share that Pope Benedict's remarks were on faith and reason, natural law, dignity of human person, immutable truth, rejection of relativism...they were talking ABOUT US and what we do here. I look at that and see how important this law school is, and the real impact we'll continue to have in the culture. It was inspirational to me to realize how important we are as a school.

Fumed by Tommy More at 9:37 AM. |

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Understanding the Papal Mass Music

If anyone saw the papal mass today, you might have a combination of shame and embarassment.

Over at The New Liturgical Movement there is a wonderful discussion of this debacle.

Here is a taste:

In the name of "multiculturalism," the Pope was subjected to music more suitable to dingy dance halls than Churches. The Psalms of David were distorted to the point of ear-splitting dissonance. The congos, pan flutes, meringue rhythms, the jazz and blues and rock, the swaggering vocals, the puffed-up soloing, went beyond even the most pessimistic predictions.

Indeed, when Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation finally came on at the Sanctus, it was a moment of dignity—so much so that I want to take back all my negative comments back when I thought that this Mass setting was unsuitable for a Papal Mass. I don't think anyone knew before this what the phrase "unsuitable" could really mean.

I personally feel the greatest hurt toward American Catholics of diverse races and ethnicities, who have been quite viciously caricatured here. How wounded they must personally feel by this presentation done in their name.

Check it out.


The blogsphere is united in the opinion about yesterday's mass. The message of the music was, "It's all about ME! (Opps, I mean WE!)"

Christ was forgotten in the music, so too was the meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Not to mention Benedict XVI's clear writings about the subject).

Either this is a turning point, the last disco mass, or it is a sign that our culture has completely collapsed.

There was an earthquake in the midwest last night, could this event and the terrible papal music be related?

Fumed by Columcille at 5:59 PM. |

Milhizer Email Re: Vineyards Campus

From: Milhizer, Eugene R
Sent: Thu 4/17/2008 4:55 PM
To: All Alumni
Subject: Vineyards Campus

Dear Alumni,

I write to inform you that the Law School will be locating to the Vineyards community in Naples, Florida in summer 2009 instead of the facility planned for the campus of Ave Maria University. The Law School's Board of Governors recently arrived at this decision in light of the declining national economy and the high construction costs resulting from the rising prices of raw materials.

The Vineyards Campus, which served as the campus for Ave Maria University from 2002-2007, will undergo a series of renovations to meet the particular educational needs of law students. Renovations include the reconfiguring of space for classrooms that will seat 75 students, the construction of a Moot Courtroom and Clinical Offices, and the refurbishing of facilities to include the Law School Bookstore and Computer Lab. Other potential enhancements to the campus include the addition of a limited-hours deli and the replacement of the outdoor swimming pool with an expanded patio/courtyard. With renovations completed, and pending acquiescence from the American Bar Association, the relocation will occur in summer 2009 and fall-semester classes will begin at the end of August 2009.

Our External Affairs and IT staffs have developed a series of web pages that offer additional information about the Vineyards Campus. I invite you to review these pages so that you might learn more about our new location: http://www.avemarialaw.edu/index.cfm?event=florida.future

I appreciate your continued support of the School of Law.


Eugene R. Milhizer
Interim Dean and Associate Professor of Law
Ave Maria School of Law

Fumed by Tommy More at 5:56 PM. |

Will a Temporary Location in Florida Affect AMSL Accreditation?

Dean Milhizer announced today that Ave Maria School of Law remains on track to move to Florida during Summer 2009. He also announced that because ground has not yet been broken on the new Florida law school building, the law school will be using the "Vineyards Campus" in Naples as a temporary facility. (This campus was earlier used by the AMU undergrads for several years before the main AMU campus was built.)

Wait a second. A law school's facilities are seriously considered by the ABA when it comes to issues of accreditation.

Check out the ABA Standards:
Standard 701: A law school shall have physical facilities that are adequate both for its current program of legal education and for growth anticipated in the immediate future.

Interpretation 701-1
Inadequate physical facilities are those that have a negative and material effect on the education students receive or fail to provide reasonable access for persons with disabilities. If equal access for persons with disabilities is not readily achievable, the law school shall provide reasonable accommodation to such persons.

Interpretation 701-2
Adequate physical facilities shall include:
(1) suitable class and seminar rooms in sufficient number and size to permit reasonable scheduling of all classes and seminars;
(2) suitable space for conducting its professional skills courses and programs, including clinical, pretrial, trial, and appellate programs;
(3) an office for each full-time faculty member adequate for faculty study and for faculty-student conferences, and sufficient office space for part-time faculty members adequate for faculty-student conferences;
(4) space for co-curricular, as opposed to extra-curricular, activities as defined by the law school;
(5) suitable space for all staff; and
(6) suitable space for equipment and records in proximity to the individuals and offices served.

Interpretation 701-3
To obtain full approval, a law school's facilities shall be completed and occupied by the law school; plans or construction in progress are insufficient.

Interpretation 701-4
A law school must demonstrate that it is and will be housed in facilities that are adequate to carry out its program of legal education. If facilities are leased or financed, factors relevant to whether the law school is or will be housed in facilities that are adequate include overall lease or financing terms and duration, lease renewal terms, termination or foreclosure provisions, and the security of the school's interest.

Interpretation 701-5
A law school's physical facilities should be under the exclusive control and reserved for the exclusive use of the law school. If the facilities are not under the exclusive control of the law school or are not reserved for its exclusive use, the arrangements shall permit proper scheduling of all law classes and other law school activities.
So many questions arise:

1. Does a move with AMSL's facilities unfinished and in construction violate Intepretation 701-3? (Obviously, the permanent campus is not complete, and I don't think that Vineyards is ready right now to hold a law school. They'll have to renovate Vineyards.) Will AMSL's full accreditation status be affected?

2. Does a move to the Vineyards Naples campus constitute one major change, and then a future move from Vineyards to the unfinished AMU campus constitute a second major change? Will AMSL have to obtain ABA acquiescence twice, once for each move?

3. In AMSL's application for acquiescence to the ABA, is the request for approval for a move to Vineyards or a move to Ave Maria, Florida?

4. Is there a problem if the Vineyards Naples campus is not "under the exclusive control and reserved for the exclusive use of the law school"? (See Interpretation 701-5)

5. Vineyards wasn't considered in the Florida feasibility study. When was the Vineyards option brought to the table?

6. How long will the school be at Vineyards? Current 1Ls and incoming students for next year were told that they would be living and going to school in the Ave Maria Town and University community, not in Naples an hour away. What about the broken promises made to them?

This is a perfect example of Monaghan's haste creating significant problems, which is a flaw Monaghan has succumbed to many times before. The reasonable thing to do would be to first ensure that there are adequate physical facilities in Florida before moving; delay the move and remain in Michigan if you have to, but don't move if there are no adequate physical facilities. Why did the Board of Governors approve such a hare-brained idea, or did Monaghan make this decision on his own?

UPDATE: AveWatch has commentary.

Fumed by Thales at 3:14 PM. |

AMSL Announces Move to Naples, not to Ave Maria Campus as Planned

The Naples News reports:
The Ave Maria School of Law will move to North Naples in 2009 instead of the town of Ave Maria, the school announced in a release today.

The release cited the "declining national economy and ongoing high construction costs due to the rising prices of raw materials" as reasons for the change in location for the school from a planned home in Ave Maria to the Vineyards community in North Naples.

The Vineyards campus served as Ave Maria University's temporary home until the university's permanent campus opened last summer.

Fumed by Tommy More at 2:50 PM. |

AMSL Announces New Home in Florida

Acquiescence on the way!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:26 PM. |

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Benedict XVI's Speech at the White House

Fumed by Columcille at 8:38 PM. |

Want to Celebrate Pope Benedict's Visit?

Are you sitting home, excited about our beloved Pope Benedict's visit to America, wishing you could do something significant to celebrate his coming, but just don't know what it is?

Well, worry no more.

Why not start a Benedictine Revolution in your very own parish by starting a Gregorian Schola? Call it St. Benedict's Schola Cantorum. Post a notice in your parish bulletin and watch the young and very old come flocking.

Want to do something even more radical, make it a all MEN'S Gregorian Schola Cantorum! (Just wait and see how the lesbian nun in your parish gets her polyester pants in a twist over it. When she complains, tell her it is an effort to have the men in the parish get in touch with their inner women, and aving actual women in the schola would only impede the dynamic and process.)

Recently, a group did this at our own parish.

At first we only sang in the rectory, drinking very strong German beer and telling jokes about how the Jesuits don't how to sing because they are incapable of singing una voce. We laughed, we sang, we could all sense that something bigger than us was taking place.

Soon the pastor stumbled across our little fraternity and joined us. Next thing we knew, he was celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite in our parish with all male altar servers and us as the schola.

Women began showing up to mass with veils over their heads.

Children began to genuflect toward the tabernacle.

Soon, we were being asked to sing at the regular Sunday mass. Old parishioners began coming us to us with tears in their eyes saying, "We have been praying for so many years . . . now we can die knowing that the Faith lives on."

One Sunday, custom cushions appeared on the marble in front of the altar rail (that some how survived the 1970's but hasn't been used since). People began to use them and only receive communion on the tongue.

This past Lent, there was a rally in the parking lot where hundreds of parishioners brought their contraceptive pills, devices and condoms and threw them into a huge bonfire before getting into the confession line, all while the schola sang "Miserere mei, Deus."

Your parish could also join the Benedictine Revolution, but I hear you saying that you would like to take up the banner but you don't know how to read square notes, or how to get your hands on Gregorian Chant. Well, rest assured there is hope.

This June, The Parish Book of Chant will be published. Have a listen to this description by Jeffery Tucker, the editor of this revolutionary manual.

And if you really want to press ahead with this revolution, sign-up for the 2008 Sacred Music Colloquium. Believe it or not, it is actually being held at Loyola University's north shore campus at the recently renovated Madonna Della Strada (not a terrible renovation, but not too great either). I have even heard that some Jesuits will be attending!

Do something radical to celebrate Pope Benedict's visit - start a revolution in your parish!

Fumed by Columcille at 4:13 PM. |

A Great Moment in History

"In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred and that each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary." --President G.W. Bush to Pope Benedict XVI

"From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the "self-evident truth" that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles...

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that "in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation", and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent "indispensable supports" of political prosperity."
--Pope Benedict XVI to President Bush and the American People

Keep up with the coverage at EWTN.

Fumed by Petronius at 1:40 PM. |

Pope Benedict XVI in America

Happy 81st Birthday, Pope Benedict! I thought that we needed a post up on the occasion of the historic event of Pope Benedict's first trip to the United States. (The picture is the Pope arriving at Andrews Air Force Base.)

Check out the American Papist for full coverage of the event over the next several days: pictures, text of the Pope's addresses, live blogging eyewitness accounts, and more.

Fumed by Thales at 1:32 PM. |

Upcoming AMSL Meeting

From: Milhizer, Eugene R
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 15:01
To: All Students
Subject: Meeting

Dear Students,

There will be a short meeting on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at 12:15 p.m. in Room 269 to provide an update on a number of matters of interest to the law school community. If you are unable to attend, information will be made available to you via e-mail.


Eugene R. Milhizer

Interim Dean
Any news, any speculation about what will be said? If you're at the meeting, let us know what happened.

Fumed by Thales at 12:01 PM. |

Monday, April 14, 2008

AveWatch and Naples News: Quasi-Parish and Fessio Interview

AveWatch has some good commentary on several interesting articles in the Naples News.

First, Naples News has an article on Fr. Tatman, who has been assigned by Bishop Dewane to be the priest administrator of Ave Maria University and Ave Maria Town. Naples News also has a lengthy article discussing the issues involved in the relationship between Ave Maria and the local diocese. AveWatch has commentary on these articles here.

Second, Naples News has an article interview with Fr. Fessio, on the 1-year anniversary of Fessio's firing/rehiring at AMU. AveWatch has commentary here.

Some interesting excerpts from the Fessio article:
In the past year, Fessio said his relationship with Ave Maria University President Nick Healy has become virtually nonexistent. Fessio now acknowledges the two didn't agree on liturgical matters prior to his dismissal. Fessio's university office space is a shared room in the corner of the academic building.

Though he's asked for one, Fessio hasn't been given a reason for his dismissal, other than "irreconcilable administrative differences," the ambiguous statement which Fessio recently paraphrased from a March 2007 university press release.


[Mark] Brumley, the Ignatius Press president, said Fessio rarely talks about his firing, and that he's unsure why the university hasn't given him a reason for it.

"It's bizarre," Brumley said.

But Fessio said Monaghan has personally apologized to him for the way the situation was handled. Fessio believes the apology was sincere.

"He didn't undo it though," Fessio said.

Monaghan confirmed that he apologized to Fessio, but declined further comment.

Fessio said his current relationship with Healy isn't tense. Fessio acknowledged a difference of opinion with Healy about liturgy at the university.

"I know we didn't see eye-to-eye on things liturgically," Fessio said.

One issue that illustrated this divide was whether Ave Maria chapels should have altar rails to facilitate kneeling, as opposed to standing, during communion. They're not a norm in United States churches, and according to Fessio, Healy said having them would hurt the school's ability to attract a wider group of students which he called "the broad Catholic middle." Fessio countered that many other common orthodox occurrences at the school, such as much of the community stopping every day for noon prayer and students' high daily Mass attendance, could be just as off-putting as altar rails.

"If a student is going to be somehow repelled by pious practices of that nature, not kneeling at communion is not going to stop them," Fessio said. "In fact, I imagine that most students who are the broad Catholic middle would not be in the chapel at 7 in the morning or 8 in the morning."

Healy declined to speak about Fessio after he was read the priest's comments.

"I think it's better if I don't try to respond to that," Healy said.
Healy's argument about catering to "the broad Catholic middle" is a silly one and is similar to the argument made by other so-called "Catholic" institutions (especially those "in the Jesuit tradition") about staying in the "mainstream" of academia in contrast to "narrow-minded" Catholic orthodoxy. In my experience, the new wave of orthodox Catholic colleges (Christendom, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Wyoming Catholic, etc.) are having great success by embracing counter-cultural Catholic orthodoxy instead of being lukewarm, middle-of-the-road Catholic schools.

Fumed by Thales at 11:09 AM. |

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Answering the 9/11 Truthers

I'm sure many of you have seen this already, but I hadn't until today. Since a few of the flat-earth, global-warming-is-real types out there still ascribe to the "9/11 was an inside job" mode of thinking, and I use that term loosely, I thought this video was instructive. Enjoy.

Fumed by Ryder at 8:38 PM. |

The Papal Prayer at Ground Zero

Washington, D.C. (AP)--The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have awarded its prestigious Sowers of the Harvest Award to a group of oustanding individuals who composed a prayer to be read by Pope Benedict XVI at Ground Zero during his visit this week to the United States. "We feel that this group of dedicated laypersons and religious are most deserving," said Sr. Jacqueline Kuminiak, O.S.U., a spokesperson for the Bishops Conference. "Ever since the tragedy of 9/11, our conference has sought to find peaceful resolutions to the misunderstandings that are, sadly, still a part of our world. We want to recognize these talented people who have given us a prayer of peace and understanding and have contributed to the building up of the human family."

The group, commissioned by the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for the Papal Visit, is composed of a wide cross-section of Catholics in the United States. Larry Doyle is a retired school board president from Passaic, New Jersey. "I've kinda returned to my faith after many years of just going through the motions. I became active in our parish's Peace and Justice Commission and when our Pastoral Associate, Carol O'Sullivan, asked for my help in composing this prayer, I jumped at the chance! It feels really good to contribute to the pope's visit, and after all, liturgy is a work of the people. This prayer expresses what the people feel." Sister O'Sullivan who assembled the group received a Master's Degree in Liturgy from the Graduate Theological Union in Chicago. A Sister of Mercy for 40 years, her ministry has transitioned over the years from teaching elementary school to specializing and consulting in liturgical matters. "When the USCCB approached me and asked me to compose this prayer, I was honored. I am working on developing a Peace and Water Liturgy for use in the American Lectionary and that has provided much inspiration for our group's work. I hope that our group's contribution in commemorating 9/11 helps to break down sinful structures that contribute to conflict in our land and across the world."

The remainder of the group is as varied as the church itself. Ted French took a month off from campaigning for Barack Obama to assist in the effort. "This prayer is not about the past," said French, "it is about the future! About building a better world!" JoAnne Prendergast is a self-described soccer mom who writes a weekly column for her parish bulletin entitled, "Peace at Home". The twice-divorced native of Schaumberg, Illinois, attends--aptly enough--Our Lady of Peace Catholic Community. "I have found a welcoming and open community at OLP and I was delighted to contribute my unique gifts to this project." Joe Birely typed the prayer on his iMac and Kathy O'Brien-Schuster proofread and offered suggestions amidst her busy schedule managing the Pier One Imports in Chappaqua, NY. The imprimatur and nihil obstat duties were performed by Janice Czjak, C.S.J. who works in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in the Archdiocese of Cincinnatti. Sister Czjak is the author of the soon to be released, A Place at the Table: Authority in the Catholic Church and Shifting Paradigms.

The Sowers of the Harvest Award is given annually to worthy recipients who embody the principles of the US Bishops' 1983 Pastoral, The Challenge of Peace. Past recipients include, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass (2001), Daniel Berrigan (2002), and Gwyneth Paltrow (2006).

(pictured left to right: JoAnne Prendergast, Larry Doyle, Kathy O'Brien-Schuster, Carol O'Sullivan, R.S.M., Joe Birely, Janice Czjak, C.S.J., and Ted French.)*

*Any resemblence to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 2:16 PM. |

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In Honorem Principis Fumaristorum, Bokonis

I, like Boko, tire at the debates raging in the two most recent posts here. Everybody who has an active intellect realizes that it takes a more mysterious faith in a more mysterious doctrine to hold that the US Governement is responsible for the carnage of 9/11. Likewise, it takes an unhealthy amount of "believing in oneself" to hold positions of significant disciplinary and doctrinal deviation from the Holy See.

So, on to more important things.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:18 PM. |

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Some News Will Be Forthcoming . . .

Fumare has a scoop on a story . . . but will not be breaking it until the right moment.

Until then, please enjoy this short documentary.

Fumed by Columcille at 2:50 PM. |

Quasi-Parish Designation Is a Step in the Right Direction

The great deception surrounding Ave Maria University and related entities is that they are "Catholic" and “known for faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church." The reality is that the Ave Maria "life-style brand" is a mockery of the Catholic Faith and exploits the honest good will and trust of the "meek" - meaning those Catholics who are faithful but are of little means and power.

The fruits of the Ave Maria leadership are a wake of destruction and folly. In pursuit of Shangri-La, Monaghan has made us all pay a price, or more accurately a recurring tax, because forever our careers are "branded" by what he has done and continues to do.

But, the dedication of the Ave Maria Oratory is a bit of good news in this tragic epic and a step in the right direction.


Because it represents a modicum of surrender by Monaghan to the
Magisterium of the Church. Ave Watch has reported that the Administrator of the Oratory is a Diocesan appointee. This means that Monaghan has permitted power sharing with Bishop Dewane, something he was likely loath to do and was likely at the heart of the disagreement between AMU and the Diocese. As Fumare reported, the "oratory" strategy was all about wresting the power to appoint the pastor (and the power of collections) away from the Diocese. This would have been a spiritual disaster for the students, staff and home owners of Ave Mariaville because the spiritual counsel would be compromised because they are ultimately there at the will of Monaghan.

Back in the Christendom day, a citizen under a feudal lord would have recourse to the church to redress a grievance and injustice that was not addressed under the civil authorities. The Church acted as a "check" on the power of the feudal lord. Anyone who took Frohnen's class knows that this is the origin of our modern human rights system.

Whether the Diocese will act in such a capacity on behalf of wronged students, staff and homeowners is yet to be seen, but this is clearly a welcome development because it represents a check on Monaghan's power.

Further, it is reported that Ave Maria will create an office of Campus Ministry. The implication is that this office will also come under the authority of the Diocese and not AMU/Monaghan. Surely AMU has an office of campus ministry already. What this press release seems to say is that this new office will be under the control of the Bishop's administrative appointee and not Monaghan.

This is the normal arrangement that a Catholic Diocese has with secular universities - the Church serves the spiritual needs of the students and staff. Most Catholic Colleges are run by religious orders and so the local diocese doesn't run their ministry offices. Basically, this is saying that Ave Maria does not have the competence or authority to run their own campus ministry offices. The Bishop is correct in this assessment considering the number of reports that suggest an abusive atmosphere created by some of the priests employed by Monaghan.

We can all rejoice in the dedication of Ave Maria Oratory because it represents a "check" on Monaghan's over reaching power. However, only time will show whether this is an effective check. One thing is for sure, the students, staff and everyone else who is under Monaghan's thumb have won a victory here.

Fumed by Columcille at 10:30 AM. |