Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, September 28, 2007

Alumni Feud With Ava Maria Law School

Avemaria    Alumni Feud with Catholic College is an interesting September 28, 2007 Detroit Free Press article which discusses  a feud that is going on at Ava Maria Law School. As the article states:

By failing to earn and maintain support of alumni, the law school administration has "turned the greatest advocates for the law school to their greatest adversaries," said Justin Berger, a 2003 graduate of the law school, who sits on the alumni board of directors.

The board's move followed a rebuke earlier this month from a group of Catholic law professors from around the country. The group issued a joint statement sharply criticizing the law school administration's "failure to live their Christian commitment."

Dobranski says he has no intention of resigning. Monaghan declined to be interviewed.

The tension, Dobranski said, is over the law school's move from Ann Arbor to Florida, where it will join Ave Maria University in the emerging town of Ave Maria, both spurred by about $300 million from Monaghan. . . .

Adjunct Law Prof Blog has previously reported on Ava Maria Law School's troubles here and here, including the possible  loss of ABA accreditation.

This is a story to watch.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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I am a 2007 graduate of Ave Maria School of Law and I want to thank Professor Rubenstein for continuing to cover the crisis at my alma mater. Mr. Dobranski's response in this article continues to demonstrate that he fails to acknowledge the problems at Ave Maria involve far more than the decision to relocate the law school to Florida. There's a misconception that this is just about Florida when in reality, the much larger issue is the governance of the law school which ultimately does include the decision to relocate the law school but is not the heart of the matter to those of us in disagreement. The real downfall occurred after the ABA granted accreditation to Ave Maria because instead of working on building up the law school's reputation in its infancy, there was a dramatic shift to make a decision about Florida. It was never demonstrated to us that that the move to Florida was in the best interest of the law school at this time and even professors who disagree with the governance stated they would not necessarily have been opposed if it had been shown it was in the best interest. Furthermore, Mr. Dobranski apparently did not gain the independent financial means he was supposed to in order for the law school to operate without Mr. Monaghan's financial contributions. The only way then that Mr. Dobranski could have seen to keep the law school functioning since he didn't get the funds was to continue to rely on Mr. Monaghan. The administration continues to voice its criticism of those in opposition to their leadership decisions as being the force of destruction of the law school when the actions taken by the administration and the Board of Governors against members of the law school faculty can only be explained by one rationale—that those who do not agree with relocating the law school as being in the best interest of Ave Maria must be threatened or punished. Why is there such an insistence on those in these leadership positions now to use such forceful terms as “destructive” and “academic terrorists” to describe those of us who disagree if the decision to relocate the law school to Florida is so secure? The only destruction is the destruction these actions have had on the lives of those most devoted to Ave Maria’s true mission.

We came to Ave Maria for its unique mission--to protect the dignity of the human person, and we trusted that those charged with leading the law school more than anyone should be promoting that mission internally in the law school in order to prepare us to live that mission in the outside world and to bring it to the legal profession we enter. We want that mission to be restored in the law school's governance, not to destroy what we all worked and sacrificed for to benefit Ave Maria's growth as a premier national Catholic law school.

Very truly yours,
Laura C. Hoffman, J.D.
Ave Maria School of Law Class of 2007

Posted by: Laura C. Hoffman | Sep 28, 2007 9:43:04 PM

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