Sunday, June 21, 2009

More Posts on DePaul University's Incredibly Stupid Decision to Fire Law Schol Dean Glen Weissenberger for Reporting Truthful Information to the ABA

Weissenberger, Glen As we reported on Friday, the Provost of DePaul University FIRED one of the best law school deans that the law college ever had, Glen Weissenberger.  Dean Weissenberger had sent a letter to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education on June 16 disclosing that the ABA committee accrediting law schools was about to review certain financial information about DePaul that was not accurate.  DePaul University was supposed to be keeping only a certain percentage of student tuition and giving 75% to the law school, but the main university was keeping more than its share and was apparently lying about that in documents that were sent to the ABA. 

So with his hand caught in the cookie jar, Provost Epp fired the dean two days after he sent that letter.  The ABA committee reviewing DePaul is meeting this week.  I suspect that they are going to have an interesting meeting.

Provost Eppobviously forgot that Dean Weissenberger was going to be hosting a meeting next month of 185 law school deans.  Click here to read about that.  (No word yet on what's going to happen to that meeting now, but if I were a dean at some other school I would be on the phone first thing Monday morning to volunteer that it be held at my school instead.)  Provost Epp also obviously forgot that a dean who brings his school from the fourth tier to the second tier has done something right.  Dean Weissenberger has been tremendously popular with his faculty, students, and alumni, and who is well respected by law professors and other law school deans from around the country. 

Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Law Blog has collected several of the blog postings and news stories about the firing. 

Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog likewise has a post that goes through all of this and is well worth a read.  It's called Honesty Not the Best Policy at DePaul: Law Dean Fired for Disclosing Required Information to ABA Accreditation Committee; Associate Dean Resigns in Protest

Brian Leiter's Law School Reports Blog as well as the Law Librarian Blog have some additional news, namely that Stephen Siegel, a distinguished constitutional historian and longtime member of the DePaul faculty who is currently Associate Dean, announced that he would resign "effective when the expected announcement is made that an interim dean has been appointed from outside the law school community without any faculty input or consultation."

And click here to see our own earlier report, including links to the actual documents that are at the heart of this and another link to the Facebook group started in support of Dean Weissenberger.

I'd also like to note here that Dean Weissenberger has been such a strong personal supporter of legal writing professors that several years ago he decided to marry one of them (from another law school not too far from DePaul).  We wish both of them well, because this must be a really difficult time for them.

I also feel quite bad for the faculty, students, and incoming students.  Brian Leiter's Blog suggests that other Chicago law schools are looking over DePaul's faculty roster to see who they can now recruit from DePaul's faculty.  Here's an excerpt from his post, which also references the firing of the Dean at the University of California at Irvine:

Who will take the job of Dean at DePaul while Provost Epp remains in office?  No one with any academic credibility quite obviously--all this reminds me of the Irvine Deanship fiasco, which, if Chancellor Drake had not wisely reversed himself, would have spelled the end of the new UCI law school before it began.  No one serious, or with any self-respect, wants to be Dean of a law school where the Administration behaves caprciously and recklessly, whether out of incompetence, vanity, or in response to external political pressures (the latter not, presumably, an issue in the DePaul case).  One imagines that many law schools in the Chicago area, as well as nationally, are looking over the faculty roster at DePaul this weekend thinking about whom they might recruit.
So will Provost Epp have the wisdom of Chancellor Drake?  In the midst of a severe economic downturn, including in the legal market, removing a successful Dean who is, by all accounts, well-liked and respected by faculty, staff, students, and alumni all because the Dean stood up for the interests of his College really defies belief.  There is, perhaps, someone at DePaul who ought to be summarily removed from office, but it does not appear to be Dean Weissenberger.
Brian, I agree.

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