Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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question of academic freedom at Ave Maria Law School

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]egretplume)

The article "Purge at Ave Maria Law?" at Inside Higher Ed reviews internal conflicts at Ave Maria Law School, the Roman Catholic law school that is relocating from Michigan to Ave Maria, Florida as part of Thomas Monaghan's Roman Catholic education empire/gated community.

The law school dean, Bernard Dobranski, is trying to oust tenured professor Stephen J. Safranek.


Safranek and other professors who disagree with the dean acknowledge that they did not favor the move to Florida, but many said that they were responsible in asking questions (to which they never received good answers) about how such a move would improve the academic program. Regardless of their views on moving to Florida, they said that the crisis facing the law school has to do with squelching of dissent and a very narrow view of authority and Catholic thinking. “Tom Monaghan and Dobranski view Catholicism as co-existing with the right wing of the Republican party, which means a 1920s-era, free market capitalism, exploitation of workers and employees, abuse of employees and their families — all is OK in the name of God, because God approves you if you are rich and powerful,” he [Safranek] said.

Safranek said 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. “They are the ones who don’t believe what the faith has to teach,” he said. “We are really the ones trying to maintain the Catholic identity of the institution. They want it to be an offshoot of the Republican Party.”

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