Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How can AMU give law degrees already?

NAPLES, FLORIDA. (Torgonewswire) Ave Maria University hosted commencement activities recently bestowing honorary degrees upon several, most notably, Joseph Scheidler,
Founder and National Director of Pro-Life League.

Scheidler was also the keynote speaker. Torgo thinks it's a great idea, and that Universities confer honorary degree as regular practice. Among the people obvious to be short listed for such honors from a devotedly pro-life school, Scheidler is an obvious choice.

But that's where the reason stops and the confusion arrives. According to the AMU page, Scheidler:
Joseph Scheidler is the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremonies and receives the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Doctor of Laws?

According to Harvard,
Honorary degree abbreviations are also based on the Latin name. The Latin abbreviations are used by many universities. The honorary degree names and abbreviations are:
LL.D. legum doctor Doctor of Laws

There is a side discussion as to what these degrees may mean. See, e.g., wikipedia on honorary degrees.

But Torgo wonders of what value it means to the recipient of a degree to have been given a Doctor of Laws degree from an institution that has no law faculty?

Is this a slap in the face to Scheidler? (as in, "here, a beautiful piece of paper for which we have no competence to bestow")

Is it a slap in the face to the law school? (but alas, the law school apparently gives honorary degrees without regard to faculty decisions)

What does it mean? Is the University merely that ignorant as to confer an empty honor? Does it not seem that the University ought to at least be capable of conferring the earned degree in order to be able to confer the honorary?

Or, is Ave Maria University taking notes from online diploma houses like this one?

Maybe the better question to ask is whether Scheidler will have an easier time finding a law job than us AMSOL grads... ouy, but that's a whole other mess.

Meanwhile, please comment on what you think it means -- ranging from they don't need to be able to confer earned degrees in order for the honorary to be valid to it's bonafide even though AMU has no law faculty.

Monday, May 08, 2006

If a Knucklehead were Running the Feasibility Study...

Capital projects require a little thought at times, planning and alternatives and considerations of collateral effects as well as secondary effects of alternatives are usually considered.

If the law school were a pizza parlor for instance, and we wanted to open another pizza parlor, we would consider several alternatives:
1) moving the pizza parlor.
2) opening another pizza parlor.
3) not opening the new pizza parlor but expanding the first parlor.
4) doing something other than pizza parlors (like opening universities and closing them).

It'd be the idiot shopkeep that would insist on option 1 without even considering option 2. In fact, opening two pizza parlors is what makes "synergy" and a host of other adjectives that justify franchising and large corporate ventures. Indeed, a brand is built on ubiquity and access, not on persona.

In fact, in some instances, the shop keep who insists on option 1 (moving the pizza parlor) is probably looking at sustaining considerable losses (operations suspended, one income sustaining two locales, sale delays, etc...) compared to opening another store (total operation+start-up)....

Torgo assumes the reader can consider the options more and see the picture in Torgo's mind rather than give a total breakdown here.

All those things considered, as Torgo has said in the past: the option of not moving/moving the law school is a false dillema -- there are other options. The problem is that the Great Destroyer, Receiver of Elitist Dulia, will not allow little people to enjoy something and it be successful. No, it must be done on the Destroyer's terms, even if those are the least feasible methods and the most destructive.

Consider that Option 1 may be far more expensive than option 2. Moving facilities, the now apparent drop in admissions, and other LARGE, LARGE incidental capital expenses may show that operating in Monaghan-Destroyer's best interests has indeed decapitated the law schoo -- furthermore, it may divert considerable capital through incidental and secondary costs as well as the loss of "synergy" (loss by way of unrealized potential gains) that the University itself may suffer from footing much of the bill.

But, Torgo is a stupid uninformed pleb without a brain unless Ms. O'Beirne informs Torgo of what to think , so please dismiss such musings as those of an idiot and move along to read her ever so infallible and most highly perfect logic and information from on high.

Torgo can find some consolation in the middle of all this mess in that the true colors of many of the so-called heroes of the conservative Catholic circles are being revealed for what they are: some are no different than the liberals of whom they constantly complain.

The point is: a feasibility study that does not compare costs (including potential gains and gains/losses that are unique to each option) is a false dillema and nothing more than tongue wagging for Uncle Thom's cabin.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Kate O'Beirne Unhinged

In her recent book, Women Who Make the World Worse, O'Beirne laments many things,

Time and time again, I would find myself as a minority voice on panels discussing ‘women’s issues,’ and to my right and left would be professional feminists funded by my taxes. These women sit on review panels to give federal grants to each other, to study things only they care about. Every new federal law they design, aimed at addressing some inequality they identify, based on studies they’ve written, comes with hundreds of millions of dollars in feminist pork.

Wonder how much Monaghan pork she gets, or intends to get for not studying the law school move issue. It must not be an issue that interests her, because she is uninformed beyond her own deign-fully delivered opinion from on high.

But what is interesting is her analysis of feminist methods:

“The modern women’s movement is totalitarian in its methods, radical in its aims, and dishonest in its advocacy. Coercion is employed through the courts...

Totalitarian. Dishonest. Coercive. Sounds familiar.

Apparently, she does like to shoot from the hip occasionally, see O'Beirne falsely claimed poll showed 76 percent of people under 50 "like the idea" of private accounts; Feminist Blog complaining that Kate is "too lazy or dishonest" to quote feminist correctly; or google for others. Torgo isn't going on a campaign, but merely showing that she's not always on the mark with facts when she speaks. Yet, she insists that others are the slipshod ones in their advocacy.

Nonetheless, I ought to get to the rub. This past week, The Wanderer's Paul Likodis ran an article titled Ave Maria Law School Faculty, Alums Call For Dean to Step Down. At the end of the article, a rather amusing little tidbit of totalitarian and coercive tactics from our ever so gentle and paternalistic Monaghan admiration society came forth:

On Page seven (7) appears the following:
"Unworthy of Further Comment"

The Wanderer contacted Dean Dobranski's office for a response to the information posted on the three blogs spots [fumare, whoseamsol, and yours truly's] He did not respond, but Robert Falls, the spokesman for Ave Maria did, and obtained the following statement from Kate O'Beirne, a member of the Board of Governors at Ave Maria School of Law.

She said: "Regarding these personal blogs that have been established -- these destructive posting[s] by a few anonymous individuals are irresponsible, frequently uninformed and misleading, cowardly and unworthy of further comment."

Torgo can only say she's a masterpiece. There is considerable irony that she is the whipping boy for the Dean now, especially ironic given the title of her last book and its intentions, but Torgo won't pick on her for that.

Torgo would rather she respond to the numerous newspaper articles, actual documents, and real evidence put forth on this blog. Torgo suspects O'Beirne finds it "unworthy of further comment" because it is she who is uninformed. Poor woman -- looking to maintain her Monaghan pork has caused her to fail to research an issue, but comment on it nonetheless. Guilty by her own words. It's sad, because it tilts Torgo's perceptions of her general assertions in other matters towards the unreliable. If she is willing to sell out here, on little things, you can be pretty sure she does in the big.

It's even funnier to Torgo that she thinks these are destructive postings. She is attempting to co-opt Torgo's own words. Destruction is the method of her master, Monaghan. If she had truth on her side, she would not be throwing so many adjectives our way, but facts. Sadly, she has no other reasoning on her side than fallacy: the appeal to authority and the ad hominem. Sad to see someone who is held out as an intellectual act so unintelligently. More proof that intelligence is rooted in union with God and truth, while intellectualism is mere brain work.

Torgo thinks we should pray for her. If us Lilliputians are causing her to act in such a despicable manner, then she must have some deeper problems for which she needs prayers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Rice Says: Make Falvey Dean, Ryan Chairman

What follows is the text of a letter dated today from Professor Rice to Thomas Monaghan and Bernard Dobranski.

May 5, 2006
Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan
Dean Bernard Dobranski
Ave Maria School of Law
3475 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Dear Tom and Bernie:

You both have played essential roles in the inception and development of Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL). As a founding member of the Board of Governors, I know the difficulty of the task and the effort and personal resources you both put into it. The purpose of this letter is to suggest a course of action that could lead to an equitable and constructive solution of the present crisis at AMSL.

The occasion for this letter is the unprecedented concurrence of formal declarations by the AMSL faculty, the AMSL alumni board and the signers of the AMSL student petition, all expressing what amounts to a terminal lack of confidence in Bernie’s leadership of AMSL. That lack of confidence implicitly applies also to Tom because of the reality, as well as the perception, that, contrary to ABA standards, AMSL is, in effect though not by design, governed as a sole proprietorship with Bernie as the resident agent.

This is not the place for a detailed analysis of the specifications laid out by the faculty, alumni and students. They credibly allege serious abuses, including significant violations of ABA standards. I am not a member of the full-time AMSL faculty, but I can corroborate a number of the grievances they have alleged. The credibility of both of you among those primary constituencies has evaporated.

Please understand. I believe that you both are acting in what you see as the best interests of AMSL. In effect, however, your conception of those interests has resulted in a subordination of the interests of AMSL to those of Tom and his Florida venture. You are doing what you think is right. But it has long been evident that this course you are pursuing is on a collision course with the welfare, and even the survival, of AMSL. Since 2002 I have documented, in the records of the Board of Governors, from which I was ejected last December, my concerns about the prudential and constitutional problems involved in Tom’s transfer of his personal focus from Ann Arbor to Florida and especially in the possible involvement of AMSL in the

Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan
Dean Bernard Dobranski
May 5, 2006
Page -2-

projected Ave Maria Town (AMT) project.

On October 15, 2003, I wrote a private, four-page letter to Tom explaining in detail my reasons for concern. I have not shown that letter to anyone else and have no intention of so doing. I mention it here only to emphasize that the imprudence of the course you are both pursuing has been obvious for years. Yet you have persisted in policies that have destabilized the school by subordinating, in effect, the interests of AMSL to Tom’s agenda. You both surely believe that such policies are in the best interests of AMSL, but all that belief does is validate the concerns expressed by the faculty, alumni and students.

In light of the foregoing points, what can be done to resolve the crisis? You both seem determined to carry out Tom’s purpose to move AMSL to the new Ave Maria Town (AMT) in Florida. Let’s be blunt. If you do so, all you will take to Florida will be the name, Ave Maria School of Law, some movable assets and such students, faculty and staff who see no alternative. It will be a mere shell of the school that is AMSL. I am informed also that the likely expense of uprooting what can be uprooted from Ann Arbor and moving it to Florida, building at AMT a new law school building of sufficient quality to attract students and faculty to such a location, subsidizing several years of students with scholarships and stipends sufficient to lure them to that school, buying a new faculty and promoting the entire venture, along with other major transition costs, would probably exceed the cost of starting from scratch and accrediting a brand-new law school at AMT. In either case, ABA accreditation mechanisms would be involved.

The reality is that if you proceed with that uprooting and transplantation, the school will continue to be involved in turmoil and negative publicity resulting from your repudiation of the serious concerns of your present faculty, students and alumni, and other possible controversies. A further consideration is the unjust hardship that would result to the hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni, and their families, who committed themselves to AMSL in Ann Arbor without any expectation that the school would be subject to uprooting and transplantation under such conditions. AMSL is not Tom Monaghan’s law school. You both, as well as the Board of Governors, have a serious fiduciary duty not only to AMSL but also to the members of its community.

Again to put it bluntly, your well-intentioned but imprudent subordination, in effect, of the interests of AMSL to another agenda has made such a mess of things that another solution must be sought. I hope you will agree that it is time for you both to sit down with representatives of your AMSL constituencies and develop a

Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan
Dean Bernard Dobranski
May 5, 2006
Page -3-

constructive, friendly resolution under which you would take to Florida the name, Ave Maria School of Law, together with willing faculty, students and staff. An equitable financial settlement could be reached with respect to the Ann Arbor school and the Ave Maria Foundation. The Ann Arbor school would retain its accreditation and would adopt a new name. The result would be a two-fer, with two Catholic law schools instead of one, with one in AMT and the other, financially and organizationally independent, in Ann Arbor. This arrangement would seem to be achievable under ABA regulations. With an equitable arrangement for interim financing, there is very good reason to expect that the Ann Arbor school could be self-sustaining in an acceptable time. Bernie, of course, would retain his position as a tenured member of the faculty of the Ann Arbor school.

Under an arrangement such as this, AMSL would be free to establish itself under that name at AMT and the existing school in Ann Arbor would enjoy restored stability and an unimpeded opportunity to grow. My personal view, incidentally, which I have not cleared with anyone else, is that with Joe Falvey as Dean and Judge James Ryan as Chairman of the Board, the Ann Arbor school would take off like a rocket because of the resulting assurance not only of competence and total integrity but also of the certainty that every decision would be made according to the undiluted criterion of the best interests of the school.

I present this proposal to you both rather than also to the Board of Governors. I am confident that the Board will agree with whatever Tom decides. The Board confirmed its compliant role when it voted “[u]nanimously” to express its “total confidence” in Bernie on the same day that virtually unprecedented charges were made against Bernie by the faculty who requested a discussion with the Board. The Board rejected the faculty complaint without deigning even to discuss it with the faculty. That act of the Board was, in my opinion, irresponsible and a violation of its duty to the faculty under ABA standards. It was disgusting. Every Governor who voted for that resolution should resign. Incidentally, the Board resolution of approval was described as “[u]nanimously passed at a special meeting,” which apparently was a telephone meeting. I know at least one Governor who declined to vote to support that resolution because that Governor had not heard both sides of the issue.

This letter contains merely my own personal opinions, for which no one else is responsible. I am not sending this letter to the general AMSL list, but I will make it available to interested members of the AMSL community. I hope you will consider this letter in the spirit in which it is written. That spirit is neither combative nor unfriendly. Rather it is one of accommodation. You both, and I, have been involved

Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan
Dean Bernard Dobranski
May 5, 2006
Page -4-

in AMSL virtually from its inception. The differences here are of judgment and any criticisms are of policies or acts rather than of persons. We are accustomed to speak with candor. And you know that the views I have advanced in this letter do not imply that you have done anything except what you perceive to be in the best interests of AMSL. But the fact is that, unless constructive measures are urgently taken to solve the problems your policies have created, the very existence of AMSL, whether in Ann Arbor or AMT, will be gravely imperilled.

The most important suggestion here is that we join in a union of prayer, especially to the Patroness of Ave Maria School of Law, for a successful resolution that will advance the mission of her Son in his Church.

With appreciation and best regards,


Charles E. Rice
Professor Emeritus of Law