Friday, August 24, 2007

ABA Dismisses Dissident Concerns Over Governance and Academic Freedom at AMSL

Today, Dean Bernard Dobranski issued the following statement via email to all members of the Ave Maria School of Law community:

To Members of the Ave Maria Community

The American Bar Association has reviewed the numerous allegations against Ave Maria School of Law filed by undisclosed faculty members. Of all of the various allegations regarding school governance, academic freedom, and other issues, the only matter on which the ABA has asked us to report regards faculty hiring and retention. We will, of course, provide the ABA with all of the relevant information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the ABA Standard.

Although the ABA treats this process confidentially – and it is our intention to do the same – a brief update on where the near-completed process currently stands was warranted, given the level of misrepresentation and speculation which has surfaced regarding the ABA’s inquiry.

We look forward to completing this process in the months ahead in cooperation with the ABA, and to moving forward with all members of the Ave Maria community – faculty, students, and graduates – in pursuit of our shared
mission and vision.

This action by the ABA (a disinterested third party with enormous clout in the legal community) dramatically undercuts the ardent critics of the school's move, who base their criticism primarily on matters of governance and academic freedom and who have pinned their hopes of disrupting the school's administration on ABA intervention.

While the ABA has asked for more information about faculty hiring and retention, the school's recent announcement of new faculty hires bodes well for the successful resolution of the ABA inquiry, an inquiry which was instigated by those who oppose the school's move to Florida. The ABA is rightly concerned that the school will maintain a competent faculty regardless of any move, and the school clearly has that issue under control, despite the loss (or predictable loss) of some very competent professors who oppose the move so strongly.

Happily, Dean Dobranski is well-versed in the ABA standards, as demonstrated by the school's deftly managed fast-track accreditation in 2003 (and as Steve Safranek knew when he insisted that Dobranski be the school's founding dean).

This is great news. Congratulations, Bernie.