Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Newest issue of The Advocate reveals plan to diminish Founding Faculty of AMSOL

What happened to the Founding Faculty? Maybe they didn't really exist in the beginning...

As reported earlier on this blog, the newest issue of The Advocate is a shameful attempt to rewrite the history of the founding of AMSOL and glorify Dean Dobranski and Tom Monaghan, to the detriment of the most important element of the law school, the Founding Faculty. Below is the relevant excerpt from the new issue, which somehow manages to tell the story of the founding of AMSOL without once mentioning the contributions of any of the Founding Faculty, who were the ones who approached Monaghan with the idea of the new law school, and did much of the work in developing the mission, vision, and curriculum of the school.

The two men's paths converged in the fall of 1998, with historic results. It was mid-November 1998, and Dobranski recalls sitting in his office at Catholic
University when he got a call from Monaghan. The two knew each other because Monaghan had previously served on the Board of Catholic University, and his daughter had attended University of Detroit Mercy Law School while Dobranski was dean there. Dobranski was interested to learn that Monaghan was getting ready to sell Domino's and wanted to put the proceeds into his foundation in order to fund a number of projects, including a new law school.
Monaghan had been thinking for a long time that the legal profession needed to go in a different direction. While he served on the Board of Directors of Franciscan University of Steubenville during the mid-1990s, the idea of starting a law school at Steubenville had been explored. Although it was ultimately rejected, the idea of a new Catholic law school remained firmly planted in Monaghan's mind, and he continued to think about it for several years.
Having seen thousands of lawsuits while at the helm of Domino's, he was convinced that lawyers and judges are among the most influential people in our society.
"Most politicians are lawyers and many of our corporate executives and CEOs are lawyers," he explains. "It's a good springboard to the executive suite and the boardroom, so a law school seemed like one of the most important programs to have in Catholic higher education."
When he decided to pursue the idea, he thought of Dobranski, whom he knew to be a very strong Catholic and well-thought of in academic and legal circles. "He's a very effective leader, planner, and organizer," Monaghan says.

Different Direction

Dobranski's first comment to Monaghan after being approached about a new Catholic law school was, "Gee, do you think we have too few lawyers that we need another law school?" But he was intrigued by the idea of starting something new.
"I had certainly thought off and on over the years about, if you were
starting from scratch, what a Catholic law school would look like,"
Dobranski explains. "But nobody was starting from scratch. I was dealing with the problems in the context of being the dean of Catholic University, an existing law school. "
But Monaghan convinced him that he was hoping to do something different from anything that had been done before. After that initial phone call, the two had several more conversations about what a new law school would look like and how it would be funded. The two quickly agreed on the direction and the mission of the new entity: it would be academically rigorous, would compete with the best law schools in the country, and would be infused with Catholic traditions and teaching. Dobranski agreed in principle to head the new entity, an agreement that was firmed up when he met with Monaghan in December.
When the school was announced the following April, skepticism came from various quarters, both religious and secular. Neither Monaghan nor Dobranski was deterred for a moment. "I've been around long enough to know that the more we get criticized, the more on track we are," Monaghan observes. "I didn't get out of Domino's to do something the same as everyone else is doing. I wanted to make change and be a pacesetter rather than a follower."

Compare this to the 2002 issue of the Advocate, which our friends at Fumare were so kind to post, as well as the Dean's previous version of the founding published in the University of Toleda Law Review and posted here. The 2002 Advocate story and the Dean's Toledo law review article are also very consistent with Professor Safranek's talk last year on the founding of the school. It is very clear that Monaghan and Dobranski have changed their story on how the school was founded, and you don't have to take our word for it.

This rewriting of the history of the founding mirrors the battle going on behind the scenes at the law school, where the Board, led by Monaghan, and the Dean, his enforcer, are attempting to gag the founding faculty by threatening to revisit tenure, while simultaneously putting forth an 'alternative' view of the founding that completely leaves out any mention of the Founding Faculty. This plan would allow the Board and the Dean to effectively dismiss the Founding Faculty and help to pre-emptively fight off legitimate lawsuits (which are sure to be filed) over who has the proprietary rights to the law school, which will be a central issue when a vote to move to Florida is made.

Concerning the serious issue of trying to revoke or revisit the tenure of the Founding Faculty, a review of the ABA rules shows that this is clearly not in line with its standards: http://www.abanet.org/legaled/standards/chapter4.html
(a) A law school shall establish and maintain conditions adequate to attract and retain a competent faculty.
(b) A law school shall have an established and announced policy with respect to academic freedom and tenure of which Appendix I herein is an example but is not obligatory.

One final note: Monaghan's quote in italics is chilling: "I've been around long enough to know that the more we get criticized, the more on track we are". Yes, that might be a good thing when you are talking about the secular media and academia, but what about when most of the people in your own 'orthodox' Catholic circles criticize what you are doing and you ignore them? This is exactly what happened at AMC, with the chapel fiasco, and now with Monaghan's insistence on moving AMSOL to Florida. He actually believes that all of the criticism he is receiving from good Catholics (especially at the law school) is somehow a sign that he is on the right track. We must pray for this man, that he would listen to the just criticisms and back down from continuing to tear apart the law school.

There is word in many circles of an uprising now against the administration and demands for the leadership to be held accountable. Alumni are encouraged to check their alumni email accounts for updates, and to follow this blog and Fumare for further news and developments....


At 6:44 PM, Blogger The_Peach said...

Is that issue going to be mailed to alumni at all? I know it's been out for weeks but I haven't received a copy yet...

At 8:22 PM, Blogger J. T. Corey said...

HINT: Don't look for it online. Apparently the Ave Maria publication bears the same name as one of the top-selling national gay and lesbian lifestyle magazines in the country.

And I doubt I'll be allowed to bring my wireless laptop into the nursing home cafeteria next time I go to see Granma, either.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger too_el said...

Dean Counts is leaving the law school for a position at Elon College of Law. Why have we lost two deans in a matter of months? Do they know something we don't? Will this trend snowball into something worse?

Please inform.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger L. von Shtupp said...

Can someone please explain the order of who-contacted-who in the founding? Was it Safranek et al --> Monaghan --> Dobranski?

The founding faculty (based on the Fumare posting) clealry recognize Monaghan & Dobranski. It is shameful to see Monaghan/Dobranski creating the illusion that THEY alone are the founders, to the exclusion of the founding faculty.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Torgo said...

t mctester,

It was Safranek on behalf of the other four who first contacted Monaghan.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger The Directors said...

Check out update II:



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