Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Alumni Resolution to Board of Governors

UPDATE: The following email and alumni resolution was sent to Dean Dobranski yesterday (Wednesday).
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Dear Dean Dobranski,

Attached is a resolution addressed to the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors signed by many of the AMSL alumni. Briefly, I would like to present a little background concerning this resolution.

1. This was a grassroots alumni effort.
2. This was sent out to a few alumni late last week, and all alumni early Tuesday morning
3. It was sent mainly only to alumni email accounts, which many alumni do not check on a regular basis
4. Alumni were only given less than 36 hours to respond
5. Of the responses received, there was a ratio of 7-1 in favor vs. against. (49 for and 7 against overall)
6. The number represents about 27% of the approximately 185 alumni of the law school
7. The signatories will be supplemented at the alumni meeting on Saturday with additional names.

On behalf of the signatories, I look forward to your response and for a productive discussion at the alumni meeting this Saturday.

Respectfully Submitted,
Terrence McKeegan
Class of 2003


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Resolution
To:
Dean Bernard Dobranski and the Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law
From: Undersigned Alumni of Ave Maria School of Law
Subject: Recent and Upcoming Decisions by the Board of Governors; Annual Alumni Meeting
Date: 11/1/2005

In the light of the recent memos from respected members of the Ave Maria School of Law administration and respected members of the law school's Board of Governors, many of alumni have been compelled to proactively address what we perceive as divisive issues within our law school community.

There have been two very different views concerning recent votes by our Board of Governors, as well as concerns regarding potential votes anticipated in the near future. In the spirit of Catholic charity, and recognizing our roles as lawyers, we wish to approach these issues in a civil, open, and thorough manner. To that end, we offer the following resolution, with specific requests of the Board of Governors to ensure a judicious process and full disclosure of the relevant information so that each individual person can determine what is in the best interest of the long-term viability of our beloved Alma Mater based upon the facts, and not upon conjecture and hearsay.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

1. All of the undersigned have concerns about the direction of the law school and the prospect of moving the school from Michigan to Florida. As alumni, we are directly impacted by a move of the law school as it could seriously compromise the value of our law school degrees and our ability to obtain future employment. We recognize that these same concerns apply to current students.

2. We ask for all relevant documents and information concerning the recent Board votes in relation to term limits, as well as all any future vote on moving the law school to Florida. To meet this standard of full disclosure, we ask that the Board, through the Dean, provide the following information at or before the November 5th Alumni meeting:
  • The Minutes and the Agendas of all Board, Committee, and/or Sub-Committee meetings for 2005.
  • The Minutes and the Agenda of any Board, Committee, and/or Sub-Committee meeting where a move to Florida was discussed, including the September 2003 meeting of the Board.
  • The most recent ABA Feasibility Study for Florida. Included with this request we wish to see the most recent internal reports from the administration and faculty regarding such a proposed move.
  • The most recent five-year financial plan for the law school created by the Financial Affairs and Endowment Committees of the Board. Further, if the information is not found in the five year financial plan, a detailed statement of the law school's finances, including how much money our primary benefactor has pledged to the school, what percentage of the school's operating expenses are presently covered by his contributions, and what conditions and or restrictions may apply to this financial support.
  • We also request detailed and specific reasons why the law school is considering a move from Michigan. Specifically, what are the details of the proposal for moving the school from Michigan, with respect to the proposed site and whether the law school would be incorporated into Ave Maria University? We presently assume that financial considerations are the primary motive for relocation. If there are other valid reasons, we respectfully ask that they be shared with all alumni.
  • If the law school has obtained an opinion from the ABA regarding a move from Michigan to Florida, does the ABA consider this a "major change" under ABA Standard 105, or a transfer of assets under Standard 101?
  • As an alternative to moving the school from Michigan, has the Board of Governors considered opening a satellite campus in Florida, independent of, but in cooperation with Ave Maria University, while keeping the Michigan campus fully operational? If so, have they rejected such a possibility?
  • We respectfully call for a delay of the implementation of term limits to any current Board members until a final vote on the potential relocation of the law school is recorded. We call for the recusal of members of the Board who serve on both the Ave Maria School of Law and Ave Maria University Board of Governors, as membership on both Boards, when a question of vital importance to both institutions is under consideration, constitutes a de facto, and quite possibly, a de jure conflict of interest. In the event that an AMSL Board seat becomes open, we recommend that the replacement be as close a professional match as possible to the person leaving the board.


3. We call on the Board to add two ex-officio seats with all voting privileges and responsibilities to be filled by a founding law school faculty member and by a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law. We further suggest an ex-officio, non-voting student representative be added to the Board.


4. We call on the Dean, the administration and the Board of Governors to promote a full, frank and open process in any decision concerning a potential relocation of our Alma Mater. This includes the right and responsibility of free and open student, faculty, and alumni comment, without fear of disciplinary measures, both collectively and individually, on issues of import to the law school.

54 Comments:

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Kate said...

This sounds eminently reasonable. Good luck to you!

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

Florida is only one symptom of a deeper problem. As long as the sole proprietor has the ability to shut-down the institution by taking his marbles & going home, he will exert undue influence over the entire AMSL community. Even in a non-voting Life Governor position, the sole proprietor still exerts a "fear of disciplinary measures" influence (financially).

What other law school in the country has its Dean make weekly reports to the school's primary benefactor?

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

I think that the most intelligent way to achieve clarity and success in these issue is to funnel them through the duly constituted Alumni Board. I know that those folks are on our side. Perhaps we need to speak with one voice. I think it is something to consider. Try contacting President Negri. Surely this ought to be submitted at the annual alumni meeting this saturday.

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger mrbooks said...

I agree with all three previous comments.

Certainly ample information is needed to avoid hysteria - easy to foresee re mscience's comment if one keeps in mind all that has ocurred at AMC. But it is alos imperative that the alumni are unified.

Many prayers are being offered up in your behalf - especially from AMC folk now seeking new employment.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Uhaul said...

The biggest risk to alums, students and administration is if faculty are unreasonable and dig in their heals. We then may see the destruction of Ave Maria School of Law.

Who came up with the idea for Ave Maria first???? The founding faculty? Tom Monaghan? Give me a break!

God came up with the idea. And we all, in our fallen state, will gleefully take the hand of the devil and place ourselves in the position of God, demanding that it be done OUR WAY. If you want to know the solution, look for humility. Pray for truth and humility.

Each year, students and their families make great sacrifices and move great distances to be educated at Ave Maria (regardless of whether it is in Naples, Ann Arbor, or Antarctica) because of the conservative Catholic mission. Nothing can taint and destroy this mission quicker than selfishness and self-centeredness. If we pray, perhaps God will make Ave Maria School of Law something even bigger and better than it already is.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger John B. Manos said...

Interesting perspective, Uhaul.

I suppose if God told me to jump off a cliff, I ought to do that because I might actually survive and become a superstar? Such notoriety would surely provide a way to be a messenger, no?

Or, if God told me make a million bucks, I should do it by any means available... even selling drugs, etc? It would make the million bucks, no?

Or, if He told me to have many kids, should I try to impregnate as many women as possible? I would be doing a good thing by bringing more children into the world, no?

I didn't hear God say anything about moving the school, so I can't comment on those things. I do know a thing or two about the way things are supposed to work, however, so I comment on that when I can.

Throwing around God's will is a bit of a fallacy when it comes down to speculating. I can make an equal argument against yours that God wants it to stay in Ann Arbor, and will make it bigger and better because it stays.

The point is not prophesying God's will and lording it over others, it is to find the reasonable path for the school as it exists and follow it.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger sunshine said...

manos,
Your comments are condescending and unreasonable. Certainly, God would not want to see Ave Maria School of Law destroyed. We can work toward the truth by applying faith and reason. Please add something constructive to the conversation instead of hurling insults.

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger John B. Manos said...

sunshine,

I'm surprised that you thought I said God would want the law school destroyed. I can find that comment no where, nor inference to it in my comment.

Faith and Reason. Yes, that's what I said in my post. I think you mischaracterize what I say to call it condescending and unreasonable, or insulting for that matter.

An insult would be to attack Uhaul's character, or to speak a thing worthy of scorn. Granted, my examples had absurd end points, but that helps to illustrate the point.

We agree on the application of faith and reason, so I am confused as to why you would find it necessary to attack me as you have accused me of doing.

 
At 1:54 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

Who, again, are the stubborn heel-diggers who lack humility in this dialogue? Who are the ones who have neither voice nor vote in this matter, who need to be concerned about retaliation or false charges of creating scandal and "hurling insults"?

Do you think God wants "bigger" and subsequently "better"? Does God think that the manner in which an academic and professional community internally operates, with justice and respect given to all stakeholders, is insignificant as long as the "external mission" is being fulfilled?

The core issue is not that complicated: the best interests of the law school cannot be realized under a conflict-of-interest where the primary benefactor exerts undue financial influence over community governance, and subsequently, (a) the autonomous desires of the benefactor can risk the organization's stability and practical execution of mission, and (b) duty to the benefactor's directives will supercede duties to all other governors or the organization's community.

Professor Rice "raised the question of whether there is a tendency for AMSL to be governed, in effect, as a sole proprietorship, with the interests of AMSL and its community potentially subordinated to another agenda".

What the alumni are "digging their heals" into is not Michigan. It is much more principled than that.

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger AgensIntellectus said...

I think uhaul (short in Brooklyn for "uhaul your ass right outta here") is absolutely right. The faculty should not dig their heels in.

They should neglect their judgment about what is best for AMSL. The BOG is full of a lot of really holy and intelligent persons. The faculty's job is to get ABA accreditation and teach the students. If the BOG says move, by golly that must be God's will. It's obvious.

Faculty should also not let personal careers and family, social and financial well-being interfere with the WOG (Will of God). I mean what is the purpose of this place anyway: Isn't it a playground for TSM?

Moses (Dobranski) led by God (Monaghan) has indicated that AMSL needs to go to the desert (well actually in this case a swamp) to help AMU. What more information do we need? The BOG is really smart and who are any of us students or faculty to question that.

Be a good little Catholic boy or girl, keep your mouth shut, and do what Father Orsi says. We told you Catholicism isn't a democracy, and you seemd to like that. If you don't like it, get lost.

Oh, by the way, a big veritatem in caritate to you on your way out.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger sunshine said...

Let's bring a little Northern Ireland to Ave Maria, shall we?

The WOG? Man, there are a lot of hostile Catholics around here. Anger oozing out of the computer.

It won't take much to destroy this school. Again, it won't take much.

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger RecapturingReality said...

I offer to you a perspective on the recent uproar as one who is devoted to the mission of the Law School and sees no reason in the foreseeable future to move to Naples, yet sees this “pro-active” step to exert pressure on the administration as at best naïve and at worst dangerous, exacerbating division that could contribute to the demise of the School instead of the success that is the goal of all involved.

There are assumptions and implications that must be accepted in order to recognize any validity to this “resolution”. To begin with, one must assume that a group of alumni from any school has any authority to make such demands for “disclosure” from the administration. One need not be Catholic to see the absurdity here. Secondly, putting forward this document suggests that those making demands know something about the administration of a school of higher education explicitly dedicated to the Catholic Church, and after the school duly coughs up all the appropriate documents the corruption of the school will be exposed and the future of the school will be secured. Such fantasy, as seen by any rational observer not caught up in the frenzy of the moment, will be immediately recognized for what it is. Furthermore, whether you are Catholic or not, if your idea of a Catholic institution is “shut up and be a good boy,” you are an ignorant embarrassment to the School as one of its graduates.

More troubling, however, are the implications one must internalize in order to proceed with the inquisition. The skinny, of course, is that the Dean is a “yes man” for Tom Monaghan and in effect is his henchman leading the charge to move the school to Florida. Accepting that conspiracy theory as gospel means rejecting the Dean’s memo concerning the possibility of a move. All the studies, calculations and projections that must be completed must be seen as nothing more than the product of deceit and conspiracy. In addition, it means that Dean Dobranski is not a professional but someone moved hither and yon by personal disagreements and conflicts, subordinating rational thought and decision-making to responses based upon emotional reactions. Moreover, it means that the Dean never has had the true interests of the school at heart but only his personal desires and those of the benefactor to whom he is effectively enslaved. In addition, all that has been accomplished in the last 5 years is based upon dishonesty and subterfuge. If in fact you have come to such preposterous conclusions then you must see the true Catholicity of the school in terms little more than political and financial, judging swiftly and absolutely, and rejecting any notion that the growth and success of this school is guided, in no uncertain terms, by the Holy Spirit.


This brings me back to the goals themselves—stay in Michigan and stay Catholic. With this in mind you should ask yourself a few questions on how you are supporting the School and the effect of that support:

The school would not be what it is without it’s Catholic character. Does remaining in Michigan carry such a value? If the option was whether to close the school due to lack of viability or move it to Florida, what would you choose? You would rather the school perish in the name of the “principle” than Tom Monaghan, after investing tens of millions of dollars, should at this point have nothing to do with Ave because he wants the school in Florida? Everyone knows that Tom Monaghan wants to move the school. Is this shocking new information for you? Now that the school has gotten the funds, you think it reasonable to simply dismiss the founding benefactor because he has a desire different from your own? If you believe the project is being guided by the Holy Spirit, do you think Mr. Monaghan’s desire to move to Florida is more powerful than the Paraclete?
Do you think that the Board of Governors is so corrupt? If so, why would you associate yourself with the project once such corruption was discovered? You might say that you believe in the project separate from it’s administration. then you must ask yourself, do you think that a school with an explicit Catholic mission could be run better or have more qualified people as administrators and governors? I say again, what do you think you know about running a law school and one with such an explicitly Catholic mission?

Moreover, if the Dean were to resign in the face of the current controversy, do you believe that the school will be in a better position? Do you not recognize that it is precisely the Dean who is standing in the breach for all of us between Michigan and Florida? You are unwilling to stand there with him and instead prefer to increase the burden he csrries? Is the Catholicity of the law school a term which the dean is willing to barter away after having explicitly expressed disgust at the suggestion of creating a new law school that substantially resembled the law schools of the United States? He has said he will resign if the Board votes to move the school precipitously. This is a smokescreen for his desire to retire to the Gulf Coast?
In the wake of such a collapse, who do you think will rescue the School in the face of such destructive internal upheaval? Yes, that which you claim to be the worst evil will be realized, and you will have yourself to thank for your contribution.
You may very well dismiss these questions I have posed, but doing so without any consideration at all could put all of us who love the School and believe in its mission in peril. So instead of assembling on Saturday with your torches and pitchforks, put aside your lawyerly bravado, and in recognition of the goals all of us share, consider how you can further those common goals with openness and humility. In so doing, rather than punishing everyone involved, progress will be made toward the realization of a fully viable high caliber law school dedicated to the Mother of God. The alternative is destroying the school so no one else can have it. That childish mentality could lead to serious adult consequences.


RR

 
At 10:50 PM, Blogger Devil's Advocate said...

RR,

Your cautionary words are noteworthy. Before you despair, keep in mind that a mere 27% of the alumni support this "resolution." While there appears to be an effort to excuse this anemic number as a "grassroots" effort with only "36 hours" of time in which to organize, it is simply an effort that has not gained overwhelming support.

Alumni are right to be concerned, but a broadside request for disclosures of things the Dean has already identified as "off-limits" is a fool's errand, not competent discussion.

This effort, while perhaps overzealous, probably grows out of a love of the school. You hit on a good point--all parties are attempting to grasp the school and pull it in their own direction. The result is that the school may be torn apart.

There are many bright minds among AMSL alumni. Some have signed on to this resolution, but many have not. Cooler heads will prevail. Pray for that as we pray for the good of the school.

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

RR holds several assumptions that are simply false:
1) that the alumni are making their case with anger and lack humility and charity
2) that Monaghan and the Dean, by their leadership positions, are infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit... as if Professor Rice and the alumni are not being true to their Spirit-lead convictions as fellow founders of the community
3) that to challenge the unjust treatment of Professor Rice, and the inherent problems of the "sole proprietor" model identified by Rice, is to be the *source* of instability or implosion at AMSL... that it is the alumni's challenge, not the dysfunction being challenged, that will destroy the school

RR cautions the alumni in their lack of knowledge about running a law school, then goes on to support "running" under a top-down sole proprietorship model - which was exactly the crux of the problem identified by someone who IS eminently qualified to run a law school, Professor Rice.

An academic community isn't "run", it is fostered. In the sole proprietorship model, the duty to the personal desires of ONE founder will supercede duties to all other founders and stakeholders in the organization's community. The issue is not about dismissing a founding benefactor over a difference of opinion. Rather, the issue is this benefactor's insistence that duty to his autonomous desire supercede duties to all other governors, founders, and individuals in the community.

The issue is not corruption of the Board - it is the inherent coercion that Monaghan's model employs. Everyone knows that if Tom doesn't get his way, he will pull his funding and cripple the institution. This is clearly unjust, and a formula for dysfunction, particularly from an institution claiming to be Catholic.

devil's advocate - In survey research, you can only base your conclusions on the responses returned, and cannot interpret unresponsive surveys as being for or against a proposal. Of those that responded, there was, in fact, overwhelming approval of the resolution by 7:1.

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Devil's Advocate said...

mscience:

As Twain observed, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. A 27% response rate IS data, and while nobody can necessarily prove anything with it, we are free to infer that it speaks to disagreement or disinterest. Might it speak to something else? Certianly, but it is not indicative of "overwhelming" support.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger peaceBw/u said...

recapturingreality,

Your comments are insightful and eloquent. In contrast, mscience encourages the notion that Tom Monaghan made his donation of millions simply to exert power and control like a demon bent on destroying the lives of Catholic intellectuals. Also, mscience implies that men of the highest intellectual and moral character, Dean Dobranski and the Board of Governors, are all yes men with no backbone and an interest in.... well, I'm not sure where he thinks their interest lies. I don't buy it... In fact, mscience is damaging his cause and the school by making such comments. Why? Could he be operating out of self-interest?

I would like to add that Professor Rice is a fine man. This being the case, all of the men on the Board are of the finest moral and intellectual character, including Professor Rice. Thus, the current situation most likely stems from a misunderstanding of fallible men, not from ill-intent. We must all be dedicated to a vision of Ave Maria School of Law thriving, not divided by misunderstanding. Everyone, please keep an open heart, an open mind and a level head as you trust God to see us through.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

One of the individuals who holds a position on both the College and AMSL Boards said to me plainly "We [the AMC Board] are just here to help Tom spend his money," and "We all need to remember that this [AMC] is Tom's enterprise." That was said in the presence of two other Board members who nodded in agreement. So, there is a tangible basis to believe that the same orientation also exists on Monaghan's Board at AMSL. Professor Rice's memo corroborates that sole proprietorship orientation. There is no "misunderstanding".

Everyone on the Board and elsewhere knows that Monaghan has the sole ability, due to his financial leverage, to shut-down the entire operation if his desires are not followed. The coercive nature of such an arrangement is self-evident. By design, the good of the institution (ie. keeping it open) is always predicated on duty only to Mr. Monaghan; his desires always supercede all other duties to all other founders, governors, and community interests. The model is unhealthy, unjust, and an affront for a Catholic community.

Mr. Monaghan was generous to AMSL, but no more generous than Professor Rice, the other founders, or the faculty, alumni, and students who risked literally all that they had on the AMSL community... their families, their careers, their finances, scholarships to established schools like Yale and Princeton. Those who believe that deference should be given to Mr. Monaghan's desires due to his millions forget to ask who it was that gave from their want versus their excess (and that is not meant to denegrate Monaghan's contribution).

So, maybe those who enjoy all the talk about "self-interest" and "ill-intent" could, for once, turn their keen analytic eye to the dysfunction inherent in Monaghan's undue influence.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger peacebw/u said...

mscience,

Your feelings are valid and evident, but they are simply that...feelings. There is no basis for stating that there is a "dysfunction inherent in Monaghan's undue influence." AMSOL, for all intensive purposes, is still in its very early stages. For the primary benefactor to have a strong interest, influence and opinion in the institution created through his philanthropy is so obvious that it almost doesn't merit stating. I understand you don't like the idea of the Law School moving. Most of us see it as a hassel, but Tom Monaghan obviously wants to protect the tens (possibly hundreds) of millions he is shucking out for the establishment of the Law School. This includes making sure that the Law School is located in a place where it won't face on-going hostility from the surrounding community, but will instead be accepted and valued by the community. AMSOL will then be able to reach its full potential for a very, very long time.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

It takes no "feeling" to see the objective fact that Monaghan can cripple the institution through his disproportionate financial leverage, that institutional goverance is orchestrated around such leverage (ie. Dean's weekly reports to one benefactor), and that coercion naturally follows from such an arrangement.

It is funny that someone with the username "peacebw/u" would support a model based on coercion. It is a false "peace" that comes to those who integrate coercive threats into their person, as a means to shut-up nagging reminders of the compromise made to get something beloved from the strongman. When the strongman, who assumed his position through your acquiescence, suddenly removes your particular beloved, you'll have a new appreciation for the injustice of the arrangement. The issue is not Michigan or Florida as the beloved. It is the unjust arrangement.

Who is the "us" in your statement "most of us see it as a hassle"? With all due respect, to call transplantation of an established and reputable academic/professional community a mere "hassle" is to be grossly out-of-touch with the logistical and (more importantly) human aspects involved here.

You ("peacebw/u") hinted that my arguements arise out of self interest. They do not. I'm not an AMSL alum, and my views do not represent them. However, I would venture to say that if you did, in fact, have a vested interest in AMSL, you would not be so flippant in reducing their concerns to trifle matters of "hassles" and "feelings".

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger mrbooks said...

I had a lot more to say, but while I've been fooling around trying to figure out why my comments disappeared when I logged in, others have pretty much said it for me.

Suffice it to say that despite respectibility and good intentions of AMC board members, some of whom I know personally to be men of integrity and personal holiness, much went awry at AMC.

Sadly, Eustace and Jill Pole saw Puddleglum as a wet blanket, as one who "cried wolf," but he was proven right in the end. I pray such will not be the case at AMSL, that the Puddleglums among us are wrong this time.

I

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger quick_bear said...

mscience said:

"It is funny that someone with the username "peacebw/u" would support a model based on coercion."

On the other hand, telling TM what he can and can't do with his money is a whole different ball game.

Let's agree AMSOL is not his to play with as he sees fit. If he decides to take his marbles to Florida, what resolutions do you recommend be passed to keep the bills paid?

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

As I understand it, the Foundation takes care of 1/3 of the operating costs of the law school. I am optimistic that the law school could fill that void if TM did pull the money. There is a great sentiment out there that "AMSOL doesn't need any money, they have TM." If TM were to pull his funding, I think you would see the funding come from areas that it had not previously.

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

If it were only as simple as finding a new source of cash to pay next month's bills. TM has predicated future "donations" on his ability to control his (and others') accumulated past "gifts" in the present (despite taking the benefit of the tax deduction). (Aside: Can an attorney tell me if a deduction can be taken even when the individual still has control over, and reaps benefits from, the "gift"?) Surely, TM would do everything he could to pull those accumulated gifts from Michigan AMSL (including, I'd suspect, the Ave Maria "brand"); losing -future- donations is the least of the problems.

It would be very telling to see TM's response to having the "Rice Term-Limits" resolution applied to TM also, making him a non-voting Life Governor. Of course, the coercive power of predicating future donations on current "suggestions" would still exist. Fr. Fessio stated that "He [TM] also said that if Ave Maria College wishes to stay in Michigan, of course it could do so, but it would have to find its own funding" (CWR, Aug. 2004). Yeah, right. Let's see if that's really true with AMSL.

If only TM could see how much more praise and gratitude he'd reap - along with the fruits of a healthy AMSL governing structure - by giving his gifts and letting them go.

 
At 2:13 AM, Blogger RecapturingReality said...

MSCIENCE, You are apparently blinded by your “convictions”. Let me respond individually to your points about my so-called false presumptions:


1) “that the alumni are making their case with anger and lack humility and charity”

Despite the “legalesque” resolution, one need not read far to see the plethora of disparaging remarks on this blog with no resemblance to charity in any form. This does nothing for cause or credibility.

2) “that Monaghan and the Dean, by their leadership positions, are infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit... as if Professor Rice and the alumni are not being true to their Spirit-lead convictions as fellow founders of the community.

You must have misread. I asked “If you believe the project is being guided by the Holy Spirit, do you think Mr. Monaghan’s desire to move to Florida is more powerful than the Paraclete?” The “project” I speak of is Ave Maria School of Law. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is the One who entered the picture before there was anything but a few people in prayer over a projected seemingly impossible task of getting a Catholic law school of the ground. Infallible? Quite the opposite. The Spirit blows where it will, Monaghan’s will notwithstanding. Without this belief, it is not surprising that you are so concerned with his “tyranny.”


3) “that to challenge the unjust treatment of Professor Rice, and the inherent problems of the "sole proprietor" model identified by Rice, is to be the *source* of instability or implosion at AMSL... that it is the alumni's challenge, not the dysfunction being challenged, that will destroy the school.”

Until it is shown how the Board conspired to eliminate Prof. Rice, there is no substantiation for a judgment of injustice. Secondly, as wonderful as he is (and he has been so to me personally), Prof. Rice is hardly an objective commentator of the “model” due to his personal animosity toward TM. Even if you want to speak of it in those terms, those were the terms of the founding and were not questioned at the time. Therefore, under your theory, we must presume that the Paraclete wearied of the entire program as soon as the “proprietor” signed on. Fat chance.


And finally,

“An academic community isn't "run", it is fostered…”

There is a dichotomy in higher education which you fail to address. A modern academic institution requires both an academy and an administration. These are not simply amorphous entities part of the whole, but distinct components which must operate separately for the institution to survive and flourish. You may, therefore, prefer the word foster but this is not opposed to “running.” “Running” in the case of a fledgling school consists of everything that is necessary for its growth and integration with the larger community in which it seeks to place itself, in addition to the day to day operations. The duties of the faculty as the heart and soul of the institution are quite different are better off unmixed.
Secondly, I ask you, where are all these “personal desires” of TM that have a stranglehold on the school?” There is the Florida issue, which, to be sure, is contentious—but hardly new. And on that issue, you have excluded in your remarks any reference to the safeguards assured to all by the Dean. Do you reject those also as rhetoric? One must assume that to be so. This can lead one only to think that under your belief system about the school, its origin, its success and its administration, not to mention the part played by Divine Providence (or lack thereof), there is little chance you could come to any conclusion other than the Law School, mired in corruption and conspiracy, has been abandoned by the Holy Spirit and it is only a matter of time before all is lost. I do not share your pessimism and no one who has suffered and sacrificed though these years should either.

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

re: "plethora of disparaging remarks"

Examples, please? You will not find a group of young men and women more concerned about approaching these matters with genuine charity and respect. Spinning the alumni's careful efforts as "uncharitable" says more about you than them.

re: Monaghan's push to Florida vs. Paraclete

"The Spirit blows where it will, Monaghan's will notwithstanding." Huh? The Spirit speaks in a still small voice that is easily rejected. You're suggesting that the Spirit's guidance of the project (AMSL) will see it through DESPITE whatever Monaghan does with his money and power. The efforts of the Spirit are thwarted all the time, and Monaghan does not sit in The Chair of Peter over an infallible unsinkable project. What the Spirit wants & what God imposes on man are entirely different matters.

re: "no substantiation of a judgement of injustice"

The situation requires neither "judgement" nor an "objective commentator". The basis of Monaghan's influence is -inherently- unjust.

re: "those were the terms of the founding"

What "terms"? That TM had final say in all matters? That duty to him supersedes all other duties to all other founders and governors, and even the mission of the school? Such terms would surely be news to many.

re: "running" vs. "fostering" an academic institution

Well, I suspect that your exposure to healthy academic governance is minimal. Faculty usually do have strong influence in institutional governance. The administration does have an obligation to serve the faculty's collective decision. If an overwhelming majority of AMSL faculty (which includes its other founders) agreed strongly that Florida was not in the institution's best interest (to the point that many would walk away from the project before coming under more dysfunction at AMU), then that fact alone should give the administration serious pause. But, under the sole proprietorship, everyone is disposable except Mr. Monaghan, so who cares. In such a model, the only ones left over time are the individuals who swallowed the pill and now clap for the emperor with or without his clothes.

You said "I do not share your pessimism and no one who has suffered and sacrificed through these years should either." Go ask Janet Smith, Dominic Aquila, John Hittinger, and the -many- other great professors who (disgusted) left Monaghan's institutions... ask them about 'suffering' and 'sacrifice'. You're confusing pessimism with honesty.

 
At 7:03 PM, Blogger AgensIntellectus said...

Thank you MScience. God gave us our reason as an essential tool of divine providence and it's amazing how many fail to abandon themselves to it.

 
At 12:51 AM, Blogger lawonthebeach said...

Yes, thank you mscience. You have made this situation very, very clear. Thanks to your hostility and inflexibility, I am now in the "pro-Florida" category, and I firmly support Tom Monaghan and his generous gift to create the law school. I can think of many reasons to move AMSOL to Florida, but you have provided me with no good reason to think it would be better in Ann Arbor. Florida in January and doing an internship in Michigan's UP in the Summer... awesome. Studying law on white sand beaches in February or freezing my jewels off in Ann Arbor, captial of secular-humanist, U.S.A.?---tough decision.

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

Well, if you created a Blogger account as "lawonthebeach", then you had your sights set on sand and surf well before I came along. And you completely missed my point anyway; I was not debating the merits of living in Michigan vs. Florida.

The whole notion of disengaging from society into a little Catholic Sesame Street on the way to nowhere is worth considering. If you're a softy and can't take the cold weather and debates with secular-humanists, then don't. That part of the country needs more estate planners anyway.

Really, is this the best that you guys creating all these new Blogger accounts can come up with?

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger RecapturingReality said...

"Be a good little Catholic boy or girl, keep your mouth shut, and do what Father Orsi says" is comment in this section which mirrors the tenor of this entire blog to any objective reader.

Your idea that God's will is "thwarted" all the time suggests Divine Providence should be considered good luck. No thanks.

No doubt a faculty influences an adminitration, but your understanding of a university administration as having "an obligation to serve the faculty's collective decision" truly reflects your naivete and wishful thinking.

In the follolwing, you have made my point, but even though you say this, you reject it bu your actions and words:

"If an overwhelming majority of AMSL faculty (which includes its other founders) agreed strongly that Florida was not in the institution's best interest, then that fact alone should give the administration serious pause."

Pause HAS been given and the Dean has spoken as such since he also agrees that this is not the time to move. What has the Dean said that suggests he will proceed against "the institution's best interest."?

That brings me back to the question I asked twice and you ignored both times:
Your entire argument rests upon the notion that the Dean is in effect lying about his intentions and position regarding a move to Florida. On what do you base this judgment?

RR

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger lawonthebeach said...

Mscience,
The very thing that separates Ave Maria from U of D Mercy and other “Catholic” law schools is that the faculty are held to a higher standard and don’t run the show entirely. If AMSOL started to go down the “pro-choice speaker series” path, the BOG and in particular our Dean and primary Benefactor would do something about it. Understandably, this drives some AMSOL faculty nuts. You assume that because these faculty members don’t have complete control over the law school that Tom Monaghan and Dean Dobranski are being megalomaniac, demonic, power mongers. I’m thankful that they, along with the other Board Members are watching closely over this wonderful law school.

A few of the many Reasons to move to Florida-

75 degrees and sunny in Feb.
Leaving hot Florida during Summer break to work up north, or
Staying in FL and laying on the beach with a future Catholic spouse
Learning law in a secure legal environment with far less distractions than in an over secularized city like Ann Arbor.
Not living in the shadow of U of M.
A lot more money for student scholarships
The chance to create a very prestigious law school in Florida, where there aren’t many.
Unlike tornados, you can see a hurricane coming and get out of the way.
Studying Civ Pro on a white sand beach
Cheaper family trips to Disney
A short drive from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and The Florida Keys.
Boating, scuba diving, skiing, snorkeling, wind surfing, etc.
Drive almost everyday with the top down.
A brand new, state of the art law school.
Out-door Mass throughout the school year
A whole city with the awesome faith environment currently found at AMSOL.
Palm trees.
Gator hunting.
Plus a whole lot more…..

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

This is like shooting ducks in a barrel.

"recapturing reality" - Hook-up with surfer-boy "sexonthebeach" and get a sense of humor if you can't see "agensintellectus'" post as hyperbole. It's a literary device. I only shoot ducks in the sky, by the way.

I never said that God's will was thwarted. Read more carefully. I said that "the efforts of the Spirit are thwarted all the time". The Spirit prompts. We're free to reject. God uses those rejections to, ultimately, fulfill his perfect will. See the difference? AMSL doesn't have any more divine pre-destination than Fr. Fessio's now-defunct Campion College or Monaghan's now-defunct Catholic Family Radio and Credo newspaper.

You asked "What has the Dean said that suggests he will proceed against 'the institution's best interest'?" Nothing. That is part of my point. It will always be in "the institution's best interest" to stay open rather than reject Monaghan's ultimatum and lose his money. There is nothing to lie or conspire about in this regard. The "institution's best interest" is "decided" under coercive conditions in the same way that I might freely "decide" (after evaluating all the evidence, pro and con) to give my wallet to an armed criminal. "Best interest" is only meaningful under the conditions in which they're made. The problem is the coercive condition. (Oh, that is called "analogy". Don't try to say that I called Monaghan an armed criminal.)

"lawonthebeach" - Dude, wear a hat out there. The sun is making you delusional if you think that the AMSL faculty need a patriarchal administration "watching closely" to squash liberal Catholic tendencies. Of course, wearing your late 19th century one-piece bathing suit, you'll insist that Fr. Fessio chaperone you while "laying on the beach with a future Catholic spouse". Surf's up, and so is the concupiscence!

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

lawonthe beach,

"Out-door Mass throughout the school year
A whole city with the awesome faith environment currently found at AMSOL."

Rock on Catholic dude! What the hell is with this "Bubble-Gum Catholicism?" It's this type of goofy commentary that shows how out of touch you really are. The orthodoxy of the institution is guarded and promoted most effectively by the faculty at this moment. Furthermore, whatever happened to the Principle of Subsidiarity? The Dean has his finger in every pot and no one can decide anything without BoG approval. Wake up and smell the coffee. Quick drinking the "Being Catholic Rocks!" Kool-Aid and come down to earth.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger lawonthebeach said...

mscience,
You think the sun is making me delusional? The only orthodox Catholic law school still holding to tradition is Ave Maria, and possibly St. Thomas in MN, both of which are new. That's not a very good track record.

and a. mil.,
Another ice cold winter in Michigan and we might all want to drink the jonestown koolaid... just think Florida, maybe we'll make it to that nice Michigan Spring in JUNE. And being Catholic does rock... it also chants.... its Universal.

Neither of you have given real reasons for keeping the school in Michigan. You simply make accusations of how the cruel Dr. No is hijacking the Law School and stealing it away to his island paradise.

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

Real Reasons for keeping it in MI:
1. Established realtionships with the local legal community
2. Educational oppportunities and good relations with UM's Law School and Faculty--use of their wonderful facilities being a great resource
3. Striking distance between major legal "hubs"--Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, DC just to name a few.
4. Plenty of spiritual support
5. IT AIN'T BROKE--DON'T FIX IT!!

Not to mention the social justice dimention of having a good numbre of faculty transplant their families from other parts of the country to A2, only to be told a couple years later that they will have to pick up and move again. Anyone with kids realizes that this is not an easy thing.

Sorry, your pie in the sky thoughts of a goofy Catholic Commune complete with Mass outdoors and a really groovy law school on the beach is what needs to be explained. The burden of proof is on those who want to move.

But again the real issue is not the move to Fla, but rather the mode of governance of the institution.

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger AgensIntellectus said...

Adovocatus Militaris,

Eloquentissima Dicta.

The pollyanish attitude of some of the catholic posters on this page is amazing and dissapointing.

It is a well known historical reality that many saints and men of good will have been abused and misused by those in power in the Church and elsewher. Do y'all even read the lives of the saints?

The onus is on TSM and the BoG to provide all of us with more than a decent reason to move the law school to that hell-hole alligator, python infested, mosquito ridden sweltering swamp. I haven't seen that reason yet.

Just because Tommny wants to, or even because AMU desperately needs us, is not a reason. As much as they try to point the finger and whine about lack of "charity" when anyone speaks up, this whole debacle has been created, in my opinion, by poor management and incredibly improvident decision-making. Students and Faculty hould not be cowed into submission by their sick thinking.

Perhaps the most imporatant question, however, is whether we are all going to just stand by and allow ourselves to be violated by a guy who wears $5,000 dollar suits and still ends up looking like an insurance salesman?

Chancellor of AMU? Get real. Resume qualification: "I sold 60 billion crappy pizzas and I pray the rosary really fast every day." I guess for some people that's good enough.

 
At 5:01 AM, Blogger lawonthebeach said...

Advocatus militarus,

Thank you for responding. Here is a response to your six points. You number five, but I think the real heart of your concern is your un-numbered reason which comes after. I would like to start with number six.

You wrote, “Not to mention the social justice dimention of having a good numbre of faculty transplant their families from other parts of the country to A2, only to be told a couple years later that they will have to pick up and move again. Anyone with kids realizes that this is not an easy thing.”

If you are near AMSOL, I urge you to go into the library and view the map right across the hall from the reception desk. You will see pins in a map of the United States, actually the World, with a number in each state. This is the number of students who just this year have up-rooted themselves and often their families to come to AMSOL to study law, many making great sacrifices and paying higher tuition than they would pay elsewhere. Have some faculty members lost faith in the mission of the school?

5. “IT AIN’T BROKE – DON’T FIX IT!” ***contradicts your previous statement on this blog,*** “As I understand it, the Foundation takes care of 1/3 of the operating costs of the law school. I am optimistic that the law school could fill that void if TM did pull the money. There is a great sentiment out there that "AMSOL doesn't need any money, they have TM." If TM were to pull his funding, I think you would see the funding come from areas that it had not previously.” *** Aren’t you implying that it “is broke?”

4. “Plenty of Spiritual Support.” *** like; Call to action, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, to name a few. Yes, there is a great Catholic community in Ann Arbor, but there is in Naples as well.

3. Striking Distance of Legal Hubs*** While you have a valid point here, this could be balanced out with a greater focus on Miami, D.C., programs in Southern Florida to aid immigrants, and international programs in the nearby island nations and Mexico. We don’t need to burn bridges.

2.“Good relations with the U of M.” What? You’re joking. Getting away from U of M is one of the best reasons for moving the Law School. U of M’s law school is everything that Ave Maria is fighting against. They want to stay on top, and they will continue to put pressure on AMSOL and use influence to slow our growth and reduce opportunities for Ave students, “those wacky Catholics over there.” Why do you think Ann Arbor decided not to allow Ave to build at Domino’s anyway? Gettin too big for our britches.

1.“Established relations with the legal community.” This is another valid point. However, we can maintain these relations and develop new ones as well.

Agensintellectus,
I’m not going to address your confused rant, except to mention that clearly you have never been to Naples.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger res_ipsa_loquitur said...

Check out the WSJ's comments here: http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110007536. Sums up the arguments against pretty nicely.

BTW, I live in Florida. Given that the state is glutted with law schools and frequently devastated by hurricanes (I was without power for a month last year), I'd MUCH prefer the intellectual Catholic hub of Ann Arbor over the wet, swampy, reckless-driver-ridden state of Florida. (I'm being really emphatic on that last point: I felt much safer driving on I-94 between AA and Detroit than I do on Florida's highways.)

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

LOTB,

To reply:

6. First of all, the distinction between the faculty uprooting and the students is qualitatively different. The students (and their families--though, as I understand it, there aren't as many married folks with kids as the first 2-3 classes) know that they are making a 3 year committment to A2. Law school is only 3 years and is not one's livelihood. Professors--on the other hand--make their living in A2 and that is much more significant than a student's desire and knowledge of a 3 year commitment.

5. This belies your problem of seeing things in purely economic terms. When I say that the law school is not broke, I am referring to the relationships made, the legal community's enrichment and the spiritual and intellectual success that AMSOL has been enjoying. There is no contradiction. Money is important to be sure--but there are more important things that may be jeopardized.

4. Welcome to the real world. Unfortunately, the world is not a hand-holding, birkenstock-wearing, guitar-playing Glory and Praise type of place. First of all, I wrote about spiritual support. I know for damn sure that the reason that I passed the bar was because of the prayers of my wife and the Sisters of Mary Mater Eucharistiae. The resources and Catholic groups in the greater Detroit area are quite significant. All the more significant is AMSL's presence along with the Sisters of Mary, et alii. in the Peoples' Republic of Ann Arbor. I recall a picture from a few years ago where Lex Vitae was at the local Planned Parenthood and a local priest--Fr. Eric Weber--brought the Blessed Sacrament to the abortuary. I very powerful sign that we aren't going to let the Evil One prevail. This is what its all about--ON THE FRONT LINES, not in a bunker like Ave Maria Town.

3. Legal relationships take time to cultivate. We have been successful covering a major part of the country. This is a risk that I think need not be taken.

2. While some of your points may be valid here, we still have access to their libraries, legal fora, and we share faculty. Professor Douglas Kahn, noted tax expert--the guy wrote the damn tax code--is a visiting professor at AMSOL. Our own Professor Bromberg has taught at UM and Professor Pucillo has engaged in lively leagl debates over at UM. I don't give a rat's ass if they call us "wacky Catholics." Slay them in the arena of ideas. That is where we conquer.

1. This dovetails with 3. Your assertion that we will keep the already established relationships doesn't fly. Most of these are created by and through the faculty. You lose the faculty--you likely lose the relationships.

Work on your Latin.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

P.S. The issue is still not Florida, but rather, the mode of governance.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger AgensIntellectus said...

lawonthebeach,

Thanks for not responding to my post. If my sardonic commentary confuses you, I think that we have located the nub of your problem.

Another area where your skills of interpretation seem lacking is mapreading. The law school is planned to be built in Ave Maria Town not Naples. Ave Maria is 30 or so miles inland. There is a big difference between the white sandy beaches of ShangriLa, with its cool gulf breeze (next to Tom's beach villa) and the hot, breathless hills, on the edge of the everglades, dredged from the wetlands where the law school is planned--with its cicadas, alligators and horseflies. You need to ponder deeply the rudimentary concept of "microclimates."

I think you should change your tag to "headinthesand".

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger L. von Shtupp said...

Recently, I read an article about the vigorous orthodox Catholic renaissance taking place at Princeton and other universities.

Flannery O'Connor once wrote that for novelists "Our final standard will have to be the demands of art, which are a good deal more exacting than the demands of the Church. There are novels a writer might write, and remain a good Catholic, which his conscience as an artist would not allow him to perpetuate." Being a good Catholic can't compensate for being a mediocre lawyer.

When I look at today's AMSL, and the AMSL alumni, I see good accomplished lawyers who are also good Catholics. If AMSL loses a majority of its tough-to-find outstanding faculty in the move to Florida, and if AMU wants to be a place where Catholics can escape an evil society, then my concern is O'Connor's concern. Rosary walks can't substitute for accomplished professional faculty and having 3 major legal hubs under 3.5 hrs. drive away. Engagement with UM makes the AMSL students and faculty better lawyers (not to mention sharper Catholics).

The remnants of AMSL under AMU's cheer of "We're Catholic! Fr. Fessio knows the Pope!" won't be (and shouldn't be) enough to draw the most academically prepared Catholic students and the most accomplished Catholic faculty.

But, again, debates on these peripheral issues should not detract from the central issue of governance.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger oopsadaisy said...

So what happend at the alumni meeting? Has Dean Dobranski given a response or addressed any of our concerns?

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger mrbooks said...

I am enjoying following this debate immensely. I even understand some of it!

Forming your own insular community may not lead to total failure, but historically it would appear to be a very hazardous approach. Just look to the Charismatic Renewal and its attempts at ecumenical community in our own area for a real-life example from recent years.

I seem to recall that "dialogue with the modern world" was a big part of what Vatican II was all about. The Church should not retreat into itself, but reach out and treat with the modern world (not embrace it, as some accuse), to stand toe to toe, and nose to nose with it.

But, again, that's a side issue. the issue is indeed governance, and Catholic morality and social justice. Ask anyone at AMC, and some who are at AMU but would rather be here. Ask the students who can't answer simple questions put to them without getting permission.

Better yet, ask Dr. Riordan, a man I truly admire, a man of great integrity, a scholar, and a dean.

You can ask, but he can't answer. It's not allowed.

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger RecapturingReality said...

Mscience, I am truly relieved to hear that you are not a Calvinist;but your theological acuity leaves something to be desired. You apparently think that there is no one associated with Ave who is responding to the Spirit, or, that since TM has obviously rejected these "prompts", all is lost. In addition, the Dean is unable to respond since he is enslaved to Monaghan the Mesmorizer (Mind control is so much more couth than brandishing weapons). Instead of your ingenious and sardonic hyperbole and analogy, why don't you just be a good little Catholic boy, sit down and shut up.

RR

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger res_ipsa_loquitur said...

Can we get a sense of who's who here? I understand the need for anonymity, but it'd be nice to know who has what stake in this discussion.

Me, I'm a class of 2003 alumni. I don't want to see the school I helped start (admittedly in a small way) relocate and change everything but its name to satisfy the whims of a philantropist.

Next?

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger AveMariaApplicant said...

res_ipsa_loquitur - I'm an applicant for the class of 2009. Although Ave Maria is tantalizing to me (mostly because of the faculty - especially Bork - and the originalist viewpoint and visits by such luminaries as Thomas & Scalia), to be perfectly frank I will be applying to three tier one schools in addition to Ave Maria. Ave Maria was my first choice, but without any kind of development demonstrating clearly the school will not be moving to Florida, I cannot not bring myself to attend. I will still apply in the hopes that something might change, but this development is hugely negative. Quite simply, the school will lose faculty and cache in any move. It might even lose - though this remains to be seen - its accreditation. Also Ave Maria Town seems to be slightly loopy. It appears to stem form a utopian idea on the part of one (admirable) person and has a somewhat controlling aura about it. Another I want to say is that, for me personally, the thing I find most depressing in all of this is that the situation is not likely to get better. Even if the situation clarifies a bit and it seems like Ave Maria Law School will not be moving any time soon, this will still remain as the sword of damocles hanging over the school. It would be risky for me to commit to Ave Maria even if I knew it would not move during my studies there because of the (heightened) possibility it might move at some point in the future. Let's be open about one more thing: Ave Maria, while controversial in elitist circles, commands respect and legitamacy. Ave Maria Town, on the other hand, is going to become subject to absolute ridicule in elitist circles and mainstream opinion-makers will cast a wary eye at it as well (see WSJ "Jonestown" article). This cannot be good for AMSL. Instead, what is happening is that AMU in Ave Maria, FL already suffers from its association with the pet project of "Ave Maria Town". AMU cannot garner the desired respect it desires for itself while part of this goofyville, so it needs (covets) Ave Maria School of Law to lend to it the credibility it itself has miraculously accumulated since its founding. But there is the mistaken conceit - that AMSL can bring AMU up to its level of respect and credibility. Instead, what would probably happen, is that AMU would drag AMSL down to its level.

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

res - I'm former AMC faculty (never part of any legal suits).

applicant - TM promises are worthless. Despite repeated verbal and written promises from Monaghan that the College (not to be confused with AMSL) would be open until 2007, a Board-authorized proposal is now being sold to all the AMC students - accept some cash and let the place close this May.

RR - re: the Dean being enslaved

What part of context-dependent "best interest decisions" do you not understand? You may find this May 2005 blog quotation, uh, personal, RR:

"Veritatis Splendor (78) teaches that we must enter the perspective of the acting person to identify the object of the moral act. This means you must understand how the person assesses the situation and why he is really doing the things he is doing."

Sound familiar? (hee hee)

re: your quote "You apparently think that there is no one associated with Ave who is responding to the Spirit"

hmmm... ok... how about Charles Rice, most of the faculty, and many of the alumni and students? oh wait, i forgot... money and power are signs of favor with God...

Since you might not post again, let's relive some of your classic phrases RR:
"You apparently think that"
"One must assume that"
"the implications one must internalize"
"we must presume that"
"One must assume that to be so."
"This can lead one only to think that"
"there is little chance you could come to any conclusion other than"

You're fighting your own windmills. Focus, man. Monaghan, money, no Florida, they close. "Best interest", stay open, hello Florida, Tom's money.

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger The_Peach said...

For a year, I actually attended law school in Florida and lived several hundred feet from the beach. I'm aware that this is not about Florida, but I found some of the earlier comments about potential law school life in Florida to be laughably fantastic.

When I moved down to FL, I too dreamed of studying law on the beach. Let's go through the months, shall we?
August: 95 degrees. 95% humidity. So darn hot that you burn after being outside for 10 minutes. That;s like the time it takes to read the facts for a case. Air conditioning is a lifesaver. Beach is largely ignored, at least for study purposes.
September: 2 hurricanes blow through. Weather, when you're actually home and not evacuating, is miserable. You have no power, no internet, and no phone. That means you have no air conditioning and no fans. All you have to look forward to each day is taking a cold shower in the morning, studying in a house with no lighting (until it gets too dark to see), and eating cold canned soup. (And when you decide to barbecue instead, you have to drive 1 1/2 hours round trip to find a store which actually has meat, only to find that all they have is hot dogs). The 3 hour round trip to the air conditioned school looks pleasant-- until you remember that the school is closed too until they get power back.
October: you try to study on the beach, but you find that the beach has been washed away by storms-- from 50 feet to 4 feet, literally. And what's left of the beach is rocky-- there's nowhere to sit. You study indoors-- heck, life's great-- at least you have power back.
November: ditto
December-February: beach closed for renovations
February-April: You get no studying done at all, whether at the beach or otherwise, because every relative and friend decides they miss you terribly. You have nonstop visitors. At least, the beach is being rebuilt.
May: you're studying for finals. By now, you don't give a **** about the beach. You graduate from law school, move away from the beach, and breathe a great sigh of relief.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger RecapturingReality said...

Mscience, Thank you. Once again you make my point, condescension aside, that the faculty and students are responding to the promptings of the Spirit, especially Charlie Rice. You are the one who thinks money and power (Let us assume the absurd for your sake that your claim tha money is being used against the best interests of the school) is going to foil the Law School which divine providence brought to this point. Do not attribute or analogize your own failures to Monaghan and the law school. This is not the college. Your bitterness did not help you keep the college here and bitterness won't keep the law school here. Put another way, you are not helping.

 
At 9:57 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

It is "absurd" to think that money can be used against the best interests of an institution or person? You can't be serious. Look at Hollywood and business corruption for gosh sake. I was only joking when I said "oh wait, i forgot... money and power are signs of favor with God". Guess you really do believe that.

I suppose that I'm not "helping" by your meaning of the word, which in this case is to simply endorse, in the name of "open-minded" charity, whatever Mr. Monaghan wants to the exclusion of all other duties and interests, and despite his administration's repeated disregard for human dignity.

Would you agree with any or all of the following:

1) that Mr. Monaghan is not using his financial influence to ensure that duty to his desires supercede all other duties

2) that all the other founders, governors, alumni, and students owe Mr. Monaghan a debit of gratitude for his superior generosity, and that conceding to the Florida move is the least that can be done for him

3) that losing support from alumni and existing faculty (no matter how great) should not be allowed to interfer with Mr. Monaghan's Florida plan, which is in the institution's "best interest" no matter the cost

4) that Mr. Monaghan cannot fail in his mission because divine providence brought AMSL into existence

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

oh yeah... i divulged my interest, or lack thereof, as per res_ipsa's request... so what is *your* interest in anything Ave (of course, being a current part of AMC/AMU *would* constitute an interest in AMSL, given the benefits derived from getting AMSL to Florida)

you've described yourself as:

- "one who is devoted to the mission of the Law School and sees no reason in the foreseeable future to move to Naples"

- someone who must be affiliated with AMSL given your quote (bold added) - "Do you not recognize that it is precisely the Dean who is standing in the breach for all of us between Michigan and Florida? and also "Your bitterness did not help you keep the college here and bitterness won't keep the law school here."

- someone who knows about personal animosity by Professor Rice against Monaghan

- someone who knows of "the terms of the founding" that "were not questioned at that time"

- someone in a position to lecture on the roles of faculty & administration in "a modern academic institution", and assess my model as showing "naivete"

Tell us, RR. Will divulging your interest help or hurt the credibility of your arguments?

 
At 12:32 AM, Blogger Mariano said...

As someone who is in a word unsure of who to belive in this debate. I think it would like to see some measure of disclosure by those who are making cases for or against the move to Florida. It helps to realize people's bias when trying to make up one's mind. I commend Dr. Messaros for having the courage to disclose his identity and interests.
A brief note on God's will: I think that this term has been thrown about far too lightly in this debate. I think that God's will can be determined in two ways. 1. God will's everything into being, whether good or bad. Obviously God does not will evil into the world (as evil is a privation)therefore there is a difference between what God allows/wills and what (2) he actually wills us to do (obviously this is limited to a good). Therefore, it would be true to say that God might will AMSL to move to Florida in the sense that he would allow it to happen, but it would take far more discernment to understand if God really did will it to move to Florida (as a good).
Mscience, I don't mean to criticize you with what I am about to say, however I believe it something that should be mentioned. I almost wonder if your argument that Monaghan, as a donor, is required to spend his money not as he desires, but in the best interests of his institution (a very valid argument, which really has yet to be refuted) has turned off many bloggers on this site, because it is a "liberal" argument (again I do not use liberal here as an insult, as many other conservatives like to do). In other words, this being something a liberal might use, many of the bloggers on this site refuse to even give your thoughts the time of day. I am not sure if this is the main reason behind all of this or not...its just an observation. I certainly would be interested in hearing what others have to say on the suject.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

Mariano -

Can you please clarify the "who to believe" issue in more distinct terms? What are the opposing statements of fact?

re: the liberal argument

My argument has been twisted, repeatedly, by opponents into the "liberal" issue that you identify. So, allow me to clarify.

I make absolutely NO requirements on Mr. Monaghan to "donate" his money against his own desires. If there is a conflict between his desires and institutional "best interest", he is under NO obligation to give in the future. And I am not, in the slightest, suggesting that he has any obligation to continue to give. For his "donations" to be a sign of love, free will must be in play.

BUT, here are the problems:

Free will cuts both ways. I do not count Mr. Monaghan as a "gift giver" because he does not relinquish control over his so-called "donations". He wants the benefits of being a gift-giver while exerting the influence that a fee-for-service contract has. To be sure, people give gifts with stipulations all the time. But such agreements come -before- the gift is given when the terms are clearly known to all involved. After the stipulation is fulfilled, the giver has no right to control the object of his gift into perpetuity; he cannot keep the recipient fearful that the gift might be withdrawn.

Monaghan cannot insist that he have ultimate and perpetual control over his accumulated "donations" - otherwise, he would be giving gifts to himself, which is either absurd or possibly tax evasion (ie. using a non-profit cover to run a sole-proprietorship).

Monaghan cannot use coercion to maintain control over his accumulated "donations". He is free to say "Go to Florida or I will not give a penny in the future." He cannot say (as he did with AMC) "Go to Florida or I'll see to it that nothing of my *past* gifts remain in Ann Arbor."

There is also the issue of community, which money cannot buy. To concede that deference be given to Monaghan's desires, no matter how destabilizing, is to place money over the human contributions (intellectual and personal) of founders like Professor Rice and the alumni (the alumni ARE founders).

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger faithandreason said...

Mariano and others,

It's pretty obvious to all on this blog that mscience has a deep hatred for Monaghan. Given mscience's past experience at AMC and this venomous hatred he vents over and over on this blog, we have to realize that his perspective is NOT objective when it comes to the Law School.

His own blogs are the best evidence. That said, God's will and Divine Providence are the critical components, as recapturingreality has written. Obviously, the best solution would be for Monaghan and Dobranski to stabilize the Law School here and build a satelite Law School in Florida. Many Law Schools are trying this, (even T.M. Cooley here in MI) but with minimal success. With Monaghan's donations and Dobranski's know how, and the support of the student's and faculty, there is no doubt in my mind that we could pull it off. The Ann Arbor School would need to grow more self sufficient. It would likely receive national press, and be a great solution and compromise. That said, we must be willing to accept God's will in order for Him to continue to run the show, even if it means a move we don't want to make. Keep praying, and please don't let the hatred and hostility spat on this blog by mscience and a few others break the spirit of AMSL.

 

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