Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Break Massacre at Ave Maria School of Law?

There is fear among students and alumni at AMSOL of a Christmas Break Massacre. What prompted these fears? Since the Dean’s meeting with students after the September Board meeting, many students and alumni have expressed concern that some faculty and administration would not be around much longer. Why the apprehension about Christmas firings? Many point to the fact that most students would be away, and that this time –or the summer – would present a window of opportunity for Mr. Monaghan and the Dean to dismiss anyone who took a stand for Charlie Rice and against what many view to be the “sole proprietorship” problem emerging at AMSOL.

Of course, the events of the past week in which the BoG rewrote the bylaws to eject Professor Rice from his Life Governor position, as well as the Dean's intimidation of staff members not to join a contemplated union have heightened these concerns...

Many alumni contacted by this blogger said that any adverse move against staff or faculty will be met with a forceful response, including the withdrawal of financial and public support of the law school...


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Advocatus Militaris said...

I hope that the BoG is reading these blogs and realize that this is not some fringe group of alums, faculty, etc, but rather a substantial majority. It should be clear to any outsider that there is severe turmoil and strife within the law school and all is not well.

A line has been drawn in the sand.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

Could someone please explain the difference between this "fear" at the university, and what members of the armed forces often refer to as a "shithouse rumor?"

Also, I see that a forceful response is promised, "including the withdrawl of financial and public support of the law school." Other than those two forms of support, what else is there?

With regard to the vows not to support the school: I wasn't aware that there were any alumni left who hadn't already made that threat in regard to other matters.
Could someone enlighten me how not supporting the school financially hurts the BoG more than it hurts faculty, staff members, students, and other members on the lower end of the food chain?

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Poor Billy said...

While we are asking questions, can someone tell me what kind of leadership it takes to create major dissent with a group of alumni who are quite possibly the most intelligent, loyal and mission-oriented of any alumni of any law school, anywhere?

What kind of leadership does it take to create major dissent from what is one of the best faculties of any law school, anywhere?

What kind of arrogance does it take to keep insisting your course of action is true when so many are telling you otherwise?

There are none so blind as those who will not see, huh?

At 2:03 PM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...


Fair questions.

But not having formed any conclusive judgments on who's right and who's wrong, I can only say that two possible answers to questions two and three are papal leadership (if you leave out the law school part) and the "arrogance" of St. Thomas More. (I'll get back to you on question 1.)
While not meaning to confer either infallibility or saintliness on the BoG (both qualities not being mine for the giving) I'll simply state that they may be wrong, and still believe they're doing the right thing.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger informationoverload said...

The devil destroys from within.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger HeWhoMustNotBeNamed said...

Funny, that's the word that T$M and BD (not he of Mongolian bbq fame) have been spreading as a response to all challenges to their judgment (if memory serves, even Fr. Orsi got in on the act in his anniversary homily). If you disagree with the man with the plan ... hey! You must be working for Satan! After all, it's a good plan, or at least a plan for good, so that means I' can't do wrong, right?


The devil does destroy from within- from within the hearts of feabile, fallible man. Defeating the devil's attacks requires constant prayer- and the guidance of the Church (hint- that includes all of us). An important way that the Church helps us combat the devil's interior attacks is the provision of a community of fellow believers who share a committment to the propogation of the faith. These faithful can offer charitable criticism of choices we make that, to eyes other than our own, appear injudicious, or even wrong. Learning to accept the charitable input of the like-minded faithful is rarely easy (who among us is without pride?), but is nonethless essential to combating one of the Devil's chief paths straight to the heart... pride.

Defeating the Devil's attacks on the interior castle is not a justification for a man with a plan to smite, castigate, intimidate, threaten, or slander any and all who question the prudence of certain actions he takes to implement that plan. Deafeating the Devil means submitting humbly to the will of God, and that often means (historians of the Church, back me up on this) submitting to, or at least CONSIDERING, the input of a large community of the faithful dedicated to the accomplishment of the same goal.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger informationoverload said...

I was not being an advocate for anyone in my statement. I was merely pointing out that it is obvious the devil is at work when something as wonderful as Ave Maria School of Law is in strife.

But please allow me to give you "charitable input of the like-minded faithful." Many, if not most of the best and brightest followers of Christ ended up martyrs. I encourage all to work for justice and deny anger and hatred a place in you. Easier said than done, I know. But it is true to the mission of Ave Maria, and the only way to defeat the attacks of the true enemy.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

Well put. Yet to repeat something I'm fond of saying probably ad nauseam, Acts 15:39.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger informationoverload said...

even better
Matthew 5:39

At 11:02 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

firing people and making major policy changes during the summer (when everyone is out of touch with each other) happened REGULARLY the last 3 years I was at ave maria college... it's a tactic TM and his cronies have certainly used before.

At 10:21 AM, Blogger HeWhoMustNotBeNamed said...

Ooh, ooh, me too- try Ephesians 4:26- "In your anger do not sin."

Nobody I've heard here is advocating "hate," Info, and hate is not at all the same thing as anger.

Hate is an inclination of the will in the direction opposite of charity (and, when directed at fellow humans, is sinful); anger is an emotion. Scripture is full of plenty of accounts of anger, by men and by God- both misplaced (often by men), and righteous (sometimes too by men, always by God). Anger is often an appropriate and even righteous response- for example, as a response to injustice (as opposed to hand wringing or simpering resignation). The trick, as St. Paul points out, is to keep that emotion (like any other emotion) from leading to sinful inclinations of the will (Which both Christ and the apostles make clear bear the same moral culpability as sinful acts).

As far as resisting "the evildoer" (I think that's the NIV translation- I've also seen it as "the evil one" or the KJV- "I say unto you, that ye not resist evil"), nobody I've heard blogging on AMSOL has accused TSM et al of being "evil." Quite the contrary, as CR points out in every missive, and as others have made a point to emphasize in other postings, most of us choose to believe that they are honestly making what they think are the best choices to accomplish Tom's vision of a saint factory (which, while crass, is an eminently fair assessment of the plan, based on the speeches Tom's been making across the country lately). I for one am not attributing to any of them evil intent. So Info, your prooftext is really rather misplaced- we're not in the realm of suffering personal humiliation as a witness to an oppressor (what the scripture speaks to), we're within the realm of fraternal corrections of fellow believers who, to all eyes but their own, are making injudicious choices that are wreaking great injustice on many members of the faithful assembled in the community of AMSOL. This is the pattern that Christ laid out to his disciples: when a brother does you injustice, approach him privately and show him what he has done. When he refuses to listen, approach him with a few more brothers, establish the facts, and entreat him to consider his actions. If he remains truculent, bring him to the assembled faithful, and again entreat him, demonstrating the injustice he has done. If he refuses to listen to the Church, cast him out to the Devil. (Matthew 18:15-17). It seems that we're in step 2 of 4- take a few other brothers along to confront the transgressing brother, to establish all the facts, and to present the case squarely.

Prooftexting is rarely accurate (as it entails pulling juicy language out of context to smite a perceived opponent), and never productive, So maybe we can all stop playing "gotcha" with the Bible (really, for a bunch of orthodox Catholics, I'm surprised this traditionally evangelical game is being played. Surely we should be smiting each other with out of context quotes from Leo XIII).

Sacred Scripture/tradition teaches us just about everything we need to know about how to live as God wants us to. We've all got areas that need improvement- and in the context of the current controversy, those of us angry at injustices being done need to be careful that anger does not lead us to sin. Likewise, those making decisions without seeing or acknowledging the grossly unjust results of those actions need to recognize that correction by the faithful is exactly the way that Christ intended us to maintain the holiness of his Church.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

Nice. My point in bringing up Acts was similar to the above post--namely, that the apostles didn't always make nice with each other, even after the resurrection. And I think that both sides of the issue have people attempting to act as disciples violently disagreeing with each other on the best way to do so. The responses I got serve me right for being so pedantic. (A quality I'm relieved to see I share with, oh, just as an estimate, everyone else who posts here.)

Meanwhile, may I meekly point out that no one's answered my original questions? I've gotten some excellent rhetoric and some impressive theology, but getting back to the original thread, is it a smart move to get fired up about a rumor? I think it would be better to wait and see what happens over Christmas, then start the tough talk, if it's necessary. And again, has anyone thought about legitimate actions that could be taken OTHER than withdrawing our public and financial support? Or whether withdrawing said support hurts the employees more than the BoG?

Anyone who wants to address these is more than welcome to write me at my law school address, ( If you don't feel comfortable using school e-mail addresses, try me at

(So much for the clever alias I used to keep myself anonymous on this board. Then again, since I'm not jeopardizing my job by posting here, and since I stopped thinking that code names were cool when I was nine, I suppose it's just as well.)

At 11:32 AM, Blogger SGF said...

Ha ha, Corey, you're so busted.

Of course, we also would have figured out it was you if you posted using your Yahoo handle as well.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Whozyodaddy said...

LEgitimate actions are already being taken by a number of alumni as individual alumni. These should continue (and likely will). Are you suggesting a collective action?

As has been said elsewhere, the Alumni Association Board has no real power. Would a mass resignation of the officers and chairs make a statement? And speaking of statements, is it worthwhile to issue a sort of 95 theses, listing our concerns and calling for an official response? This would be an ultimatum of sorts.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger SGF said...

This question was asked over at Fumare, and not really answered, but what benefit, exactly, is there to be gained by dissolving the Alumni Association as it currently exists in favor of one existing as an entirely separate entity from the school? I think an independant organization would be a good idea, but must it be one or the other?

If alumni are out of the loop now, when they have regularly scheduled meetings, through their representatives, with the Dean, what will be the outcome of an entirely separate organization? Someone floated the idea of an organization that would meet off campus, and the Dean would be invited to give a report and then excused for private alumni discussion. Is there anyone who thinks that that sort of organization, as the sole existent alumni association, would be able to accomplish anything that the current organization is not? Or would have greater information collection capabilities? Or wield more power in decisions being made at the school?

Now, the independant association as I have characterized it may be a bit of straw man. So if anyone in the "indpendant AA" camp could explain what such an association would look like, and what the benefits of it would be, such explanation would be very helpful.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

Since my last post, I have received an angry letter from an acquaintance, telling me that my posts seemed to be implying that I knew of employees at AMSOL who were posting on this site. Knowing people who work there, the acquaintance seemed to think that I might be putting one or more persons' job at risk. The note to me also suggested that I remove my earlier post.

1. I do not know of anyone employed by AMSOL to be posting on this site. My comment was directed at possible reasons why posters might use an alias, and in no way meant to suggest that I had knowledge of any AMSOL employee posting here.

2. I am not attempting to jeopardize anyone's anything. I know people for whom I have enormous respect on both sides of the debate, and will not criticize the actions of anyone unless I'm satisfied that such criticism is warranted. To date, I have not received any such satisfaction. If I do criticize anyone at a future date, it will be under my own name.

3. Should the person or persons who maintain this site find that any of my posts need to be removed for any reason, I urge them to take the offending post down, and no hard feelings.

4. But I ain't removing nothing nohow.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger ObjectiveObserver said...


Aren't profs at AMSOL tenured, or at least, eligible for tenure? So, wouldn't a Christmas or summertime massacre be very difficult to do?

I've heard that the Rev. Jerry Falwell has boasted that the profs at Liberty Law School will not get tenure, so they can be removed easily if they stray from the Christian message. But AMSOL isn't like that, is it?

When I look at the AMSOL website, I see many profs are either full profs, or associate profs -- isn't it safe to assume that they are tenured? And aren't assistant profs tenure-track?


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