Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Professor Rice shares his personal views on relevant issues facing AMSL

Professor Rice has again weighed in with views in a memo sent out today, which focuses on the potential move to Florida, and all of the problems involved with contemplating such a move. The full memo can be found here, while a sampling is included below (my italics added).

..."But, as noted above, and as Mr. Monaghan would surely agree, AMSL is not Tom Monaghan’s law school. Or perhaps some might think that if AMSL does not so move, Mr. Monaghan’s Ave Maria Foundation (AMF) will terminate any further funding commitment to AMSL so as to use its resources elsewhere (as it would have the right to do). It is not at all clear, however, that AMSL could not obtain replacement funding if AMF publicly so terminated its commitment. Moreover, any decision to move to Collier County in Florida, not because such a move would be objectively in the best interests of AMSL but instead because of a feared loss of AMF funding, could convey to AMSL students the message that the most important consideration in evaluating professional options is to avoid disturbing the money flow. A Catholic law school should have a better idea."

"Those who propose a move of AMSL to Collier County have the burden of proving that such a move would sufficiently benefit AMSL in comparison with the continued growth and achievement of AMSL in Ann Arbor. AMSL has achieved unprecedented success. But now, in the uncertainty and disorientation created by the recurrent focus on Florida, the momentum has been diminished. The disruptive effects of the Florida focus are multiplied by the general realization in the AMSL community that the proposed move involves, in effect, a potential subordination of the interests of AMSL to the interests of another institution and agenda."

"The overall bottom line is that there is no conceivably rational basis to conclude that a relocation to Florida would be in the best interests of AMSL now or at any foreseeable time."

"I emphasize again my opinion that all those involved in deciding these issues are acting in what they see as the best interests of AMSL. My disagreements reflect differences of perception and judgment. Nothing in this memo should be interpreted otherwise or as a personal criticism of anyone."


At 8:48 AM, Blogger kmte said...

The entire memo raised very important issues and deserves to be read carefully by everyone in the law school and university communities.

One issue that Dr. Rice does not raise but which I have wondered about is that of accreditation. Will AMSOL be able to retain its present level of accreditation if it has to move to Florida? And what about the university? Will it be able to retain its AALE candidacy for accreditation if AALE is sanctioned by the Dept. of Education? These seem to be other unresolved issues, but if they have been resolved somehow, I think both academic communities should be informed of how they were resolved.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger ObjectiveObserver said...

If anyone would know whether a move to Florida would threaten AMSOL's ABA accredidation, I would think it would be the Dean, given his experience with the ABA on these matters.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger kmte said...

I completely agree. I wasn't implying that the Dean and others weren't on top of this, but I was expressing a sense that some kind of public statements about accreditation would be affected would help here.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger ObjectiveObserver said...

Your point is a good one: Some public statements assuring interested parties about continuing accreditation would be helpful.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger bncq said...

Some approval from the ABA might be required depending on various factors. See Standard 105 and the Interpretation Notes following of the ABA Standards of Approval for Law Schools and Interpretations 2005-2006:



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