Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Illinois Appellate Judge Warren Wolfson Named Interim Dean at DePaul

The DePaul press release is here.  His academic experience is, not surprisingly, very minimal (he has been an adjunct at Chicago-Kent and a trial advocacy instructor at the University of Chicago); he is primarily a practitioner and a jurist and, I'm told, a well-regarded one.  But one suspects he doesn't know what he's walked into here.  What he ought to do is, after a month or so of housekeeping, resign and encourage the Administration to reinstate Dean Weissenberger.  If he doesn't, my guess is he will spend most of next year bidding farewell to members of the DePaul faculty.

Meanwhile, the University has succeeded in fooling some reporters into thinking that the firing of Dean Weissenberger was unrelated to the letter he wrote to the ABA.  No doubt the plan to replace Weissenberger was in the works for a couple of months, but so was the ABA review process and no doubt for some time Dean Weissenberger was pressing the university to honor the ABA-mandated agreement on law school tuition revenue, long before he felt he had to disclose the university's breach of that agreement to the ABA.   Where are the legal journalists on this issue?  It is not reporting to simply quote the lies and half-truths of the university spokesperson.

And where is the ABA on all this?   This sets a horrible precedent:   the ABA brokers an agreement as part of the accreditation process, and the university then punishes a law school Dean for trying to enforce it.  ABA accreditation is often preoccupied with trivia and intra-law school interest-group politics.  Protecting revenue streams for member schools is actually important.  How can the ABA remain silent while a Dean is fired in retaliation for trying to enforce ABA-mandated agreements?

UPDATE:  More information here, including the text of a resolution sent to the Administration protesting the selection of an Interim Dean without any consultation.    I've gotten more details on Provost Epp's conduct (not for publication at this stage), which now officially qualifies as even more scandalous than is already clear from the public record:  he will destroy the College of Law if not stopped.  Where is the University President?  Where is the Board of Trustees?  In nearly twenty years in legal academia, I have never seen a law school mistreated like this by a university central administration.

ONE MORE:  I should note that I've never met or spoken with or had any contact with Dean Weissenberger.   Concerned members of the DePaul community, and others, have forwarded information to me.

ANOTHER:  Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent), a longtime friend and colleague of Judge Wolfson, comments on his appointment.

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