Thursday, April 20, 2006

AMSOL Alumni Board Releases Documents

Torgo is sifting through documents emailed by the Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association Board (AMSoL Alumni Board) today...

Among them are a memo with a bill of particulars, and the resolution passed. As Torgo is able today, information from them will be placed here...


Torgo has not the ability to post directly the documents at this time, however, the Alumni Association Board has released several documents that relay the conversation between the Alumni Board and the AMSoL administration.

Dated Today, April 20, the Alumni Board released a memorandum titled, "Release of Resolution and Bill of Particulars of Board Action" that describes the due authority of the Board and a general timeline leading up to the release. It explains that the information contained within the documents was not to be released until the AMSoL Board of Governors had time to respond, a deadline for which was April 19, at 5:00 pm. There was no communication with the Alumni Board at that time -- i.e., the time had passed.

[placeholder: Alumni Board Memo 4-20-06 release]

Coincidentally, several members of the Alumni Board had been approached by a press agent to comment. This press agent said that Dobranski and 2 members of the Board of Governors set times up with her to interview. Torgo finds two problems with this: first, they moved to comment without responding to the direct party, delaying the response until after midnight on the terms. Obviously, an obvious sandbagging by the admin. For shame, treating the Alumni Board as if they were adversaries.

on APRIL 10, 2006, The Alumni Board passed this resolution:
Monday, April 10, 2006
Dear Members of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors:

The splendor of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord.
Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor

Having dedicated ourselves to the conscientious exercise of the moral values taught and reinforced within our legal education at the Ave Maria School of Law, we remain devoted to speaking and defending truth. As the Holy Father wrote, “Truth enlightens man's intelligence...” Mindful of the sterling illustration of moral conviction demonstrated by our patron saint, Thomas More, we embrace the momentous responsibility that befalls us, and we do so with clear consciences, but troubled hearts. As the duly elected representatives of the graduate community of the Ave Maria School of Law, our officially constituted Alumni Association maintains a fiduciary duty to act on behalf of and in the best interests of our fellow alumni and our beloved Alma Mater.

It is in our capacity as members of the Board of Directors of this Association that we write to you today. In keeping with the finest traditions of the legal profession, this Alumni Association must act to ensure that the long-silenced voices of our respected students, revered faculty, and loyal fellow graduates are now heard.

While we recognize and acknowledge the contributions Dean Bernard Dobranski has made to our law school, we can no longer express faith and trust in this Dean’s ability to effectively lead and properly direct the Ave Maria School of Law. Recognizing the escalating leadership crisis that has enveloped the law school community, we must register our grave concern, growing distrust, and lack of confidence in the Dean’s communications, actions, and omissions as set forth in the following Bill of Particulars.

In light of recent leadership failures, as well as the absolute exigency of formal action, and for the reasons set forth in the Bill of Particulars, the Board of Directors of the Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association communicates the official confirmation of our vote of “No Confidence” in Dean Bernard Dobranski. In taking this action, we call on you, the Board of Governors, to request his resignation or remove him without delay.

This Association also urges the Board to immediately begin the process of securing a new Dean and President who will enjoy the support, confidence, and commitment of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that the present Dean and President no longer commands.

We call on the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors to exercise your fiduciary duty to this academic institution and invite the Dean and President to resign or remove him immediately and secure his interim replacement with a majority vote of the Ave Maria School of Law faculty members and in consultation with this body as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. We further call upon you to terminate the feasibility study related to relocating our law school to Florida, either permanently, or at the very least, temporarily until a new Dean, who commands the respect and confidence of students, faculty, and alumni, as well as prospective students, has been seated in accordance with the standards set forth by the American Bar Association.

We respectfully request that such actions be completed at once to return stability to the Ave Maria School of Law community, and to ensure that alumni do not feel compelled to pursue other channels to voice their concerns.

Respectfully submitted,
Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors

That resolution speaks well enough for itself, and noticeably has the deadline date clearly marked.

Attached to the resolution is this BILL OF PARTICULARS:

Bill of Particulars
Nothing conquers except truth, the victory of truth is charity.
– Saint Augustine

WHEREAS Ave Maria School of Law alumni have brought great credit upon this institution through strong Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores, high bar exam passage rates, significant numbers of judicial clerkships, the establishment and financial support for annual student scholarships, aggressive assistance recruiting prospective students, and consistent efforts to help place graduates with permanent employment;

Ave Maria School of Law alumni have distinguished themselves as this very year we led all law schools in the nation in percentage of alumni who participate in annual alumni giving campaigns, and genuinely fear that without new leadership we will fall from first in the nation to among the very worst;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law, after promoting AMSL as being on par with top-tier legal institutions for six straight years, failed to produce a respectable initial ranking in the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings. Furthermore, he provided an inadequate response for the school’s unacceptable 4th tier ranking. Stating that he did not realize that AMSL would be ranked this year does not comport with the Dean’s acknowledged fifteen years of experience with this process, his receipt and return of a U.S. News survey including AMSL in the Fall 2005, and U.S. News and World Report’s published standards that unequivocally establish that all fully accredited law schools are ranked annually. There is absolutely no doubt, despite his protestations to the contrary, that the Dean knew, or minimally should have known, of AMSL’s 2006 inclusion in these rankings. Finally, the Dean’s hope to meet with U.S. News and World Report and the proposed attempt to increase the peer assessment portions of the rankings with the creation of a promotional brochure to be sent to the broader legal community next autumn, represent an overdue and inadequate remedial response to a bottom tier ranking;

the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law has stated that the post-tenure review process will be postponed by one year while he develops a new procedure is cause for grave concern about the leadership and stability at AMSL. Faculty members are to play a significant role in determining educational policies, and one component of that role relates to tenure. The timing of this tenure review may be perceived as a threat to members of the faculty of AMSL and is inappropriate, and serves to undermine confidence in the school’s leadership, as well as her policies and procedures not only for tenured professors, but for junior tenure-track professors, as well as candidates to join the faculty. Tenure is a vital component of an academic institution as it seeks to contribute to the common good through its faculty’s exploration of the truth. As such, whether the process is “unworkable” or not, the proffered explanation for this inadequacy was easily foreseen, should have been anticipated, and the instability regarding this important process has had, and continues to have, a deleterious effect on the institution. Moreover, deferring the process by a year until the Dean develops an improved set of procedures appears to raise serious questions regarding American Bar Association Standards: Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools Standards 204(b), 404(a)(3), 404(a), and 405(b), and Interpretation 405-3;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law has negligently or purposefully erected artificial barriers to impede any meaningful or productive communication and/or dialogue between the students, faculty, and alumni of this law school and our esteemed Board of Governors, and can no longer be trusted to represent our views as they relate to matters of great consequence to the future of our law school;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law has repeatedly failed to satisfactorily explain the removal of Professor Charles E. Rice from the Board of Governors. While his removal was putatively the result of a term-limit amendment, the action was an ex post facto pretense that was not applied uniformly and was inarguably targeted at Professor Rice. Additionally, the subsequent amendment eliminating the position of "Life Governor" to which Professor Rice would have acceded further underscored the personal nature of this action. Furthermore, in the immediate wake of Professor Rice’s removal, the Board approved a second feasibility study concerning relocating the law school to Florida, a move Professor Rice consistently opposed. We condemn the removal and treatment of Professor Rice and the school’s subsequent resistance to alumni efforts to officially recognize his many contributions to the law school and her alumni;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law has not voluntarily engaged alumni or satisfactorily explained the decision of the Board of Governors to reopen a feasibility study to explore a proposed move of our law school to Florida. Rather, he has been evasive, elusive, and less than forthcoming regarding this matter, including information related to the timeline established for completion of the feasibility study. The September 2003 Feasibility Study prepared by J.M. Lord and Associates has been not made available to alumni and is specifically available only to students, faculty, and staff on reserve in the library. The study reports, among other injurious conclusions, that in 2003 students cited the administration as a weakness of the school because it was not being truthful about a prospective move; three years later the very same criticism may be renewed by students and alumni alike. With controversial issues associated with such a decision, including significant discontent among faculty, students, and alumni, substantial constitutional concerns in establishing Ave Maria Town, potential problems with an alliance and possible merging with Ave Maria University, and the lack of a scholastic and legal infrastructure near Immokalee/Naples this process
should be terminated immediately. We denounce this development, as well as the Dean's subsequent refusal to engage in any meaningful or constructive dialogue of these issues;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law sits on the governing board of AMSL and reportedly the governing body of Ave Maria University as well, and joined with Paul Marinelli, President of the Barron Collier Companies and Nicholas J. Healy, Jr., the President of Ave Maria University, to defend against criticism in the Wall Street Journal concerning the creation of Ave Maria Town and the potential relocation of our law school, further prejudicing the purported independence and impartiality of our Dean and President, as well as our Alma Mater in the public sphere;

WHEREAS the Dean and President of the Ave Maria School of Law has promoted misinformation as it relates to the historical record of the founding of the Ave Maria School of Law:

THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board of Directors of the Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association, that we have “No Confidence” in Dean and President Bernard Dobranski.

We call on the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors to exercise your fiduciary duty to this academic institution and request that the Dean and President resign or remove him and secure his replacement without delay. We further call on the Board of Governors to terminate the feasibility study related to relocating our law school to Florida, either permanently, or at the very least, until a new Dean, who commands the respect and confidence of students, faculty, and alumni, as well as prospective students has been retained.

Torgo wonders if Dobranski is still convinced that the things he shoves under the rug truly disappear after three years.

So Torgo wants to be sure you understand something: There was silence from the Board until today (well after the deadline last night) at 1:58 p.m. when the Alumni Board received this note from a Monaghan aide (Torgo wishes to call it an orc, but realizing that this guy is merely doing as he is told, Torgo relents):

Dear Jason -

Enclosed, please find a copy of a letter from Mr. Monaghan, along with a resolution from the AMSL Board of Governors.

Please accept my apology regarding the tardiness of this response. The regular person who usually handles these types of things for the law school was out last week due to a family emergency, so I stepped in to help cover while she was gone. This fact, along with the Easter holiday delayed my processing of this information. I discovered this morning that this resolution had not yet been forwarded to you and the Alumni Board and therefore took the necessary steps to due so.

I apologize about any confusion or misunderstanding my tardiness has caused. Please know that this was not on the part of the Board, but was due to the above circumstances and me.


Until this time, Torgo was under the impression that the lamest excuse in recorded history had been given by Nathan to Moses when he said "I put the gold in the oven and out came a calf..."

Despite the words of this aide, the following Board of Governors resolution was dated two days after the Alumni Board resolution... Thus, Torgo leaves it to the reader to discern whether Monaghanam had an advantage in sandbagging the response, while appointments were made to speak with the press. Torgo is sure that Monaghan plans to say that they timely responded ad nauseam. Torgo also understands that to be lying and would wash such mouths out with soap immediately upon the chance. It was intentionally delayed beyond the deadline -- 10 days past the resolution in order to create the time to formulate a press response, AND in order to be able to say later that they acted in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the action was not the resolution, but in merely talking with the Alumni Board (duh!).

Here is the attached Letter of Thomas Monaghan to Jason Negri:

April 20, 2006

Mr. Jason Negri
AMSL Alumni Association
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dear Mr. Negri:

On behalf of the Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law, I write to inform you of the Board’s response to the Alumni Association Board of Directors’ letter and resolutions dated April 10, 2006. That response is in the enclosed resolution passed unanimously by the Board at a special telephonic meeting.


Thomas S. Monaghan
Chairman of the Board of Governors


NOTE WELL: despite the aide's comments, Monaghan dated his own letter *AFTER* the deadline.

Finally, here is the Resolution of the AMSoL Board of Governors

Resolution of the Board of Governors
April 12, 2006

We, the Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law, strongly express our total confidence in Dean Bernard Dobranski in carrying out the mission and activities of the law school.

Unanimously passed at a special meeting of the Board on April 12, 2006 with Dean Bernard Dobranski abstaining.

Eight days later the aide suddenly discovers the resolution? C'mon... and it is released the same day as when Dobranski and 2 BoG members talk to the press.

Do they really think we are that stupid?

Torgo certainly hopes the Ann Arbor News, or some other fine newspaper reads this information before going to press so that it is adequately reflected against the comments (er.. hmm... "spin") the Monaghanam PR-machine will place on it.

To wit, on one other occassion, namely the founding of the school, Dobranski's recollection of events curiously omits key facts here and there. Torgo would hate to see that same thing happen again without an objective reference here.

STAY TUNED!!! Keep hitting the refresh button as the day progresses, for tonight Torgo will place images into the post...but all of the documents are represented here


At 4:05 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That the BOG saw it acceptable to respond to the Alumni Board's exceptionally well written letter and a three page list of grievances with a one sentence resolution and no further discussion is incredibly insulting.

At 4:43 PM, April 20, 2006, Blogger Kate said...

I am duly impressed with the Alumni Board, and duly unimpressed with the BoG .

At 4:54 PM, April 20, 2006, Blogger L. von Shtupp said...

[emphasis in bold added]

The resolution "passed unanimously by the Board at a special telephonic meeting." (Monaghan's letter - April 20, 2006)

The April 12 resolution states that it was "Unanimously passed at a special meeting of the Board on April 12, 2006 with Dean Bernard Dobranski abstaining."

At minimum, in the minutes of each Board meeting, the attendees should be listed. Who voted? Everyone? An 'executive committee'? Was everyone present at this "special telephonic meeting"? Did everyone on the Board see the list of particulars from the Alumni Board? Who voted & what did he/she know?

At 5:04 PM, April 20, 2006, Blogger Torgo said...

Torgo has been assured of the following:

EACH member of the Board fo Governors was delivered a copy of the resolution and Bill of Particulars.

Thus, they had read it.

Also, it is common to decribe a vote as unanimous even where members are absent or abstain. What is missing in the formula used by the BoG announcement is the vote count. A vote ordinarily reads, 15-0, so-and-so not sitting or not present, etc...

The vote count determines quorum eligibility. One never knows with the oily slick Monaghanam if that was all the other members of the Board. Alas, just read the lame excuse of the aide and compare it to the immediate resolution made by the Board... If the Board was as finely resolved as their delicate language suggests, they'd have shoved that resolution down the throat of the Alumni Board the same day... indeed, within minutes of passing it.

The delay was intentional. Having held the meeting specially within a day of receiving the Alumni Board resolution shows that they wanted to make a strong message. It also shows that they took care to plan the dissemination of it -- obviously planning it to be late.

Which one do you believe more? That the aide forgot about it, or that if they didn't see a benefit to delay that they would have crammed it down the throats the Alumni Board personally?

At 5:37 PM, April 20, 2006, Blogger L. von Shtupp said...

10 April - Alumni Board passes/submits resolution and particulars

12 April - AMSoL BoG has "special telephonic meeting" & "unanimously" passes resolution

20 April (before 1:58pm) - Monaghan composes/dates the letter to Alumni Board (Negri).

20 April (1:58pm) - The Alumni Board (Negri) received notice from Monaghan (via an aide) about the BoG's resolution

Why is Monaghan's cover letter dated 20 April instead of 12 April? What happened from the 12th --> 20th?

Monaghan must have sat on the 12 April resolution. If Monaghan intended for the resolution to go to the Alumni Board sooner than today, his letter to Negri would have been dated on the 12th (or close to the 12th). How could the aide say that "I [the aide] discovered this morning that this resolution had not yet been forwarded to you and the Alumni Board.." To believe this, you'd have to believe that Monaghan gave the resolution to the aide to send to the Alumni Board without any kind of cover letter back on the 12th. ???

How Torgo explain Resolution dated April 12 and Monaghan letter

At 6:02 PM, April 20, 2006, Blogger NO man said...

Everyone should be aware of the following facts which also come into play in analyzing the situation:

1) The faculty met for several hours on 4/12 to discuss the issue of the Dean. During that meeting, Monaghan came into the room and read a resolution from the BoG (presumably the "unanimous" vote of confidence in Dobranski). It is my understanding that the faculty nevertheless issued its own vote of no confidence in the Dean that same day (which has only been shown to some students and has not been made public). So the 4/12 resolution of the BoG seemed to be in response to the faculty's imminent resolution, and not to the alumni board's resolution, which they basically stonewalled on until after the deadline passed, and than ran to the media first to give their side of the story.

At 6:46 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the midst of all these difficulties, I'd like to interject a little hope. Orthodoxy and conservatism are rapidly growing in our younger generation. At the colleges near me, I see the liberal Catholic "Newman Clubs" dying-out (only populated by the 1970's folk group hippie re-run professors) and young new lay orthodox Catholic campus groups sharply on the rise. This wave of orthodoxy is going to dramatically change the face of higher education, both Catholic and public. No longer will orthodox Catholic students have to settle for the shennanigans of Ave Maria University/Law's administration.

Monaghan is grossly miscalculating the effect that popular orthodoxy will have on his Ave enterprises. The only selling-point to AMU is Catholic orthodoxy. Why go to rinky-dink AMU, who is not fully accredited, with their total disregard for students/parents/employees, when I can go to Princeton and be part of a strong orthodox Catholic student group? We must reject the notion that AMU is doing the work of "the Church" any more than those who work/attend state schools.

Monaghan has taken advantage of the paucity of options available to orthodox Catholic students/parents and faculty. He thumbs his nose at us - go ahead and complain, where else are you going to go? He has effectively used the virtue of good people to promote his ownership over their investment in the AVe Catholic communities, and turned that virtue back against the person to benefit himself.

The businessman who wants to bring an entrepenurial mentality to "the Church", and make "his" schools "saint factories", will be undone by, of all things, *competition* - that is, if his work doesn't implode on its own dysfunction.

I want to encourage the AMSoL faculty & students to continue to stand for what is right. Truth endures.

At 7:21 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Wadd said...

To think all these problems were the result of pizza and it wasn't even good pizza.

I vote in the confidence of Chris Dobranski to run it all. Nepotism can truly pay off. Doober Jr. for President and Dean in 06'

At 9:16 AM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torgo change blog title to "Is the Law School Part of the UNIVERSITY", no?

The College is closing in 2 weeks.

At 9:19 AM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but they did deliver in 30 minutes or it was free

free pizza is good pizza

At 9:49 AM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Torgo said...

Anonymous said...

Torgo change blog title to "Is the Law School Part of the UNIVERSITY", no?

The College is closing in 2 weeks.

At first blush, Torgo rubbed Torgo's chin and thought, "oh my! that's right! excellent suggestion!"

Then Torgo began to think of what it means to say the college yet after the college is closed... and Torgo thought it could be taken to mean: "Is the Law School part of an institution killed by its maker?" and Torgo was pleased.

Thus, a proclamation from Torgo: The title of the blog is to be interpreted thusly. So let it be written, so let it be done unless Torgo decides to re-write the title as it is written above at a later date.

Torgo would like to explain the latin for the readers here, too, just in case they know not what it means:

et nunc Dominator caelorum mitte angelum tuum bonum ante nos et aliquem cui poterit respondire Monaghanam.

This first phrase is a rendition of the prayer of the Macchabees and Israel. It is what Israel prayed regarding the giant Phillistine (Lord send us someone who can answer the giant) and Macchabes was similar. Thus, it reads, "and now Lord send your good angel of Heaven before us and someone who is able to respond (contend with) Monaghan."

Torgo giggles to see Monaghanam in other comments elsewhere because it makes Torgo think of this little latin prayer.

Team Torgo muses whether the prayer ought to be expanded, but Torgo finds it sufficient so it stays.

At 9:52 AM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Torgo said...

ooops... Torgo goofed.

"and now Lord of Heaven send your good angel before us and someone who can respond to (contend with) Monaghan."

At 10:16 AM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote Sethi - "Let the name Ave Maria College be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Washtenaw County. Let the name of Ave Maria College be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.

At 1:35 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger The Directors said...

in saecula saeculorum.


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