The Sad Tale of Ave Maria Law

The Washington Monthly tells it here.

h/t: Mirror of Justice.

10 Responses to The Sad Tale of Ave Maria Law

  1. Samuel Jennings says:

    Yikes! My wife, while looking for a Law School, briefly considered Ave Maria. Glad to know we correctly steered clear. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Reader 1 says:

    The Cliff Notes version of this saga:

    1. Several law professors were at odds with the administration at Detroit Mercy and therefore felt a lack of job security due to pending department cuts.

    2. They asked a fast-food magnate widely known to be a wealthy domineering micro-manager to fund a common dream, Ave Maria School of Law, to the tune of $50 million.

    3. Despite the magnate spending even more than the promised $50 million on the school, the dissident law professors now snobbishly decry that this benefactor is a wealthy domineering micro-managing fast-food magnate, and resent the fact that this benefactor did not stand on the sidelines and act as if he were a disinterested party.

    4. These dissident professors – once again – found themselves at odds with the school administration, and so they did all they could to raise a ruckus and thwart its goals.

    5. These dissident professors failed to thwart anything.

    6. These dissidents continue to whine to the media and anyone else who will lsiten.


    This year’s entering class is the first to enter since the ABA approved the school’s move to Florida, putting to bed the scare-mongering about the school’s “uncertain future” that dissident faculty shamefully promoted at the expense of their virtue.

    The law school enrolled 205 new 1L students this year and had to turn away many who were offered conditional admission on a space-available basis. This while at the same time achieving its lowest-ever discount rate (the percentage of tuition assistance provided), and inproving the objective student quality.

    Two of the founding faculty – both outspoken dissidents – apparently did not obtain work elsewhere and have relocated to Florida to teach at the school, despite the dissident talking points that the school is now pathetic. One has to ask if these two faculty are of such low quality that they cannot obtain new positions, and if they simply “sold out” to the billionaire and moved to Florida for the money, despite what the dissidents have consistently painted as an evil geographical re-location forced on all by the evil acts of a reckless administration.

    The dissidents decided that they did not have enough control over the school, so they did all they could to thwart its progress while begging any media outlet available to hawk their “poor little me” propaganda. They have failed to halt the move to Florida and now they have thrown a bone to Miss Blake to re-tell – yet again – their stale story.

  3. Phillip says:

    Two sides to a coin?

  4. Dale Price says:

    I was taught by two of those “dissidents” (Murphy and Falvey) back when they were at the University of Detroit, and am familiar with the others who went from U of D to Monaghan’s endeavor.

    To a man and woman they were–and are–impressive Catholics and solid professors.

    To blame only the faculty and to ignore the wreckage that has consistently trailed in Monaghan’s wake (including St. Mary’s, Fr. Fessio) throughout this process deserves some kind of award. I’m just not sure for what.

  5. I was considering law school around the time Ave Maria opened. Several pious senior citizens encouraged me to consider AM Law, but I was skeptical.

    The professors associated with effort made me hopeful, but I wasn’t sure it was sustainable.

    How much free advertising did AM Law get on the “orthodox Catholic Republican” mailing lists?

    These kinds of boondoggles are enabled by the skimpy Catholic identity of existing institutions. Organizers of questionable ability can turn professed orthodoxy into a selling point.

    Reform of existing institutions may be very difficult, but in the long run that may be more fruitful than founding new schools and entrusting them to the whims of wealthy men.

  6. Truth Teller says:

    The Ave PR machine, aka Reader 1, is out in force.

    Ave destroys institutions: Ave Maria College, St. Mary’s Orchard Lake, Ave Maria University.

    Ave trys to destroy people: Fr. Fessio, Professor Rice (Notre Dame), Janet Smith (Sacred Heart Seminary).

    Ave trys to destroy students: promise first tier, deliver fourth tier.

    But their story line remains the same: it is all the dissidents.

    By the way, check out Fumare and AveWatch and see what those sites say about […] Ave Maria […].

    This is the tip of the iceberg.

    [Note: This comment was edited, as it contained an inflammatory accusation that was not directly related to the post. – JH]

  7. CMinor says:

    I coulda sworn I saw Reader 1’s comment just about verbatim (under the monniker Reader 2) at the linked news story. Dunno if Truth Teller was over there as I didn’t read that far down, but I’m beginning to suspect some of these guys are more closely linked to the incident than they let on and are making the combox rounds to promote their side of the story!

  8. Ave Realist says:

    Ave people lie and distort all the time. There is a lot more out there.

    The “Voice of Ave Maria” is a priest named Orsi who works to defend and support Pedophile priests.

    You know who is employing him.

    Ave is the last refuge it seems for that.

    List to his radio show from the Ave Law website.

  9. John Henry says:

    I’m going to close comments on this post. As CMinor suggested above, there seems to be a high level of personal involvement from some of the new commenters. I don’t see the benefit of having this post serve as another bulletin board for those involved.

  10. AMSL 3L says:


    As a current 3L AMSL student, I can tell you that – just like everywhere else – we aren’t all the same. Then again, it’s really kind of impossible to defend against statements like “Ave people lie and distort all the time,” since by default my denial is just one of my endless lies and distortions, right?

    Anyway. Look, the board/administration have made terrible decisions, it’s gone after all the wrong incentives, and now here we are, sitting in a weird set of buildings in Naples, FL, wondering why you have to walk past a bathroom with a shower in it when you traverse the 2nd floor of the Administration building.

    I wish the ABA had refused to grant accreditation if we moved so we could have stayed in Ann Arbor like a sensible law school.

    But that doesn’t mean every student in the school is worthless or destroyed, or that we’ve replaced foundational law courses with liturgical reading circles.

    Our faculty is nothing like it once was, but it’s not *nothing.*

    Not every student is a scholastic failure at AMSL, nor are we a single horde of slobbering, mindless quasi-Catholic extremists. It would be decent of you to not reverse the stereotypes of crazies you rail against for your own personal use, at our expense.

    We have enough to face already from within our own institution, as well as from our now-uncertain futures; don’t characterize us as failures before we even finish.

    The comments I’m referring to indicate a belief that the burden the school is placing on AMSL students is wrong. I agree; it’s wrong, so stop adding to the weight with such dire generalizations. Even if you’re certain you’re right–at least give me the chance to personally flunk a state bar before informing me that I’ll forever be too incompetent to practice.

    That, or we could rassle it out. Best two out of three?

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