Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More Good News: ABA Dismisses Faculty Complaint Against Ave Maria School of Law

Critics of the Ave Maria School of Law's administration are joyless at the good news the school received from the ABA this week. Coming on the heels of last week's announcement that AMU received full AALE accreditation, the ABA rebuffed a complaint made by faculty members opposed to the school's move to Florida. Of the several complaints that were made last year, all but one were dismissed out of hand by the ABA last year (as we pointed out here). The resolution of this last remaining complaint is good news for the school.

Dean Gene Milhizer sent an email to the law school community today announcing that after reviewing the complaint, the ABA decided that the law school remains in compliance with ABA accreditation standards. The school has been fully accredited by the ABA since 2005, after first receiving provisional ABA accreditation in 2002; this was the soonest time possible under ABA rules.
UPDATE: This turn of events is "A victory for campus diversity" according to R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun, and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute.

Facts pronounce progress, success of the town of Ave Maria

The Naples Daily News published a nice summary of progress made in the new univesity town of Ave Maria, Florida:

By BLAKE GABLE, vice president, Barron Collier Companies; project manager, town of Ave Maria8:00 p.m., Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recent press reports have suggested that activity at Ave Maria has been far slower than anticipated. Unfortunately, the numbers cited failed to acknowledge that while we originally projected the town to open in 2006, the complicated nature of the project and lengthy permitting time frames pushed back our opening until mid-2007. As such, the numbers shown don’t quite tell the entire story.

In reality, the town and university are doing extremely well, particularly considering the current economic and real-estate environment. Consider the following facts about the town:

 It was just a year ago that the first residents moved into Ave Maria, and now they are some 1,000 strong. They live throughout six neighborhoods that have completed their first phases, from affordable town homes at Middlebrooke to luxury condominiums in La Piazza, the town center; from resort-style villas in BelleraWalk to age-targeted options at Del Webb; and from in-town homes in Hampton Village to family residences in Emerson Park.

 Our retail tenants, which include places to eat, shop for clothes, jewelry, books, bikes and children’s gifts, services such as insurance, and much more, have completed an extremely successful first season.

 Many community amenities already are in place, including an 18-hole championship golf course; the south park with its amphitheater, bocce and pickle ball courts; the north park with its ball fields; the downtown fitness center; and the water park.

 The on-site emergency medical services and fire station is fully operational, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office has an ongoing presence.

 Medical offices are now open for business.

 A full schedule of town events took place throughout the year, starting with the July 2007 grand opening — and including holiday celebrations, charity events and other festivities.

 The town has its own Little League, and YMCA summer camps and university sports camps are in session.

 Florida Community Bank has completed its headquarters building and will move in shortly.

 Publix supermarket, a BP gas station and convenience store, and DaVita Dialysis have broken ground and are planning to open early to mid next year.

 Arthrex, a major manufacturer of medical supplies, will break ground shortly on its 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

 The landmark Oratory was dedicated on March 31 and now is welcoming hundreds of worshipers each week.

 The visitors center reports an average of over 1,000 visitors every week.

 The private kindergarten-through-12th-grade school, Ave Maria Grammar and Prep, operated at capacity during its first year and recently graduated its first seniors. Next year, it will increase its enrollment by nearly 40 percent to 180.

The university, too, is thriving. Having recently completed its first year on its permanent campus, Ave Maria University is growing quickly:

 The first commencement at the permanent campus, which included about 100 graduates, was celebrated May 10.

 The student body includes residents of 49 states and more than 20 foreign countries.

 New student enrollment will climb to 370 from 185 last year.

 To keep pace with enrollment, the university’s fourth dormitory is under construction, and a fifth $25 million dormitory will be added shortly, doubling the capacity of residences for students to 1,200.

 In addition to expanding academic resources and cultural programs, the university also will field its first extramural athletic teams this fall.

 More than 40,000 donors and over 500 volunteers currently support the university’s work.
Two additional points are offered as clarification: First, regarding the widening of Oil Well Road, it is important to note that our 2005 agreement with Collier County on this expansion was essential to our decision to proceed with Ave Maria as planned. It’s very clear that we have met — and even exceeded — all of our obligations to the county under our agreement, and we are confident that the county will live up to its obligation.

Also, in terms of affordable housing, the recent amendment granted by the Collier County Commission simply changed the eligible income category for purchasing the homes in our Middlebrooke community, as allowed in current state statute. The statute does not permit — nor do we have any intention of — raising the price of these town homes as a result of the board’s action.

Ave Maria is a new hometown — a place where families can live, work, play and learn; where neighbors will know neighbors, and friendships will span generations. We are encouraged at how far Ave Maria has come in such a short time.

We welcome you to visit and experience Ave Maria for yourself. We believe the future is very bright, and we think you will agree.