The former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law has offered to repay $60,000 in compensation questioned by a state audit and is “deeply sorry over any negative impact” the audit’s findings have caused, according to a letter released Monday by her attorney.
The letter says that former dean Karen Rothenberg offered to return the $60,000 to David Ramsay, outgoing president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, upon learning on Feb. 16 that the audit had raised concerns about payments she received for summer research between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2009.
But what about the $350,000 in “sabbatical” money for a sabbatical that was never taken?
It looks like Dean Rothenberg plans to hold on to that cash:
The letter, the first public response to the audit from Rothenberg, also says she regarded a $350,000 payment that nearly doubled her compensation in fiscal 2007 as a “retention package to keep her as Dean.”
The evidence on that count goes both ways:
University officials said it’s less clear whether Rothenberg acted inappropriately in accepting the $350,000. [Outgoing UM president David] Ramsay approved those payments, referring to them in internal memos as compensation for sabbatical that Rothenberg never took. But [university system chancellor William] Kirwan said an interview with Ramsay revealed that the money was intended to keep Rothenberg, whose contract was nearing an end, in her job.
Meanwhile, while the compensation of the former law school dean makes headlines, UM litigates with alumni over allegedly excessive tuition charges:
I am a 2006 Maryland Law grad. You may be interested to know that the University of Maryland is currently involved in a lawsuit sued for wrongfully denying a large number of its students in-state tuition status. This case includes students from the law school.
The class was certified. The case is Karyn Bergman, et al. v. University System of Maryland, et al.; Case No 24-C-02-0005740, in Baltimore, MD. (There is a 2006 Maryland Appeals Court case on Westlaw). Conti Fenn & Lawrence are representing the class.
For me that was the difference between paying $18k or $33k for a year of tuition. Not an insignificant amount of money, especially when you have to borrow that money.
So far Maryland has refunded the difference in tuition to a number of grads. I’m hoping to get a refund as well. Of course any refund will not make up for the interest I have paid and continue to pay on the money.
I think this is disgraceful and another reason to throw the annual alumni begging letter in the garbage.
What you are seeing is the blogosphere is helping to lift the lid on the rip offs and shenanigans that have been going on in higher education. One wonders who long this has been going on.
While law schools pump out grads saddled with debt, [people] like Rothenberg live in luxury mansions. It just makes me sick. I will never give a dime to Maryland Law (not that I have a dime to give them now), and I know a number of UMD grads who feel the same way.
In fairness to Dean Rothenberg, she has her defenders, as noted in the Sun:
In a letter released last week, the school’s Board of Visitors lauded Rothenberg’s many achievements as dean and defended Ramsay’s efforts to keep her. Other students and faculty members have also spoken out on her behalf.
Given the public uproar and inquiry by the attorney general, Dean Rothenberg needs all the help she can get.
Ex-UMB law dean apologizes for audit’s findings [Baltimore Sun]
Earlier: Former Maryland Law Dean Asked to Return ‘Questionable’ Compensation — But Will She?
Is a Maryland Law School Dean Worth $800,000?