Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Trouble at Ave Maria

Ave Maria School of Law is in the news again. An article in today's Inside Higher Education questions whether a purge is taking place at the Catholic law school. The dean of the school, Bernard Dobranski, is pushing to dismiss a tenured law professor, Stephen J. Safranek, one of the founding faculty members of Ave Maria. Safranek "has already been suspended and banned from campus without prior approval, while awaiting a final decision on revocation of tenure," despite charges that the majority of faculty feel are "'painfully thin." In an online statement, the faculty (only a few of whom dared to put their names to the statement) said that the dean, far from giving Professor Safranek due process, was acting as "the sole prosecutor, judge, and jury" in the matter. They conclude that Ave Maria no longer has "the most basic elements of academic freedom and tenure." Professor Safranek believes that the "law school's leadership has abandoned not only academic freedom, but Catholic teachings about the dignity of individuals and the importance of treating one another with basic respect." Richard Myers, another founding faculty member, believes that retribution was meted out after the faculty voted no confidence in the dean and opposed the move to Florida; Professor Myers "was removed from his committee chairmanships and...[h]is salary was frozen." He too believes that if faculty members cannot dissent without fear of reprisals, then academic freedom loses its value. Dean Dobranski will not discuss Professor Safranek's case, but has stated that the criticism of him stems from some faculty members' anger about the move of the school to Florida.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Boy, remember this sad tale when you hear ALDA deans talk about their opposition to tenure!