At some point, the deans of law schools will have to stand up and stand against the way universities use law schools as cash cows. At some point, law deans are going to have to tell their bosses that university programs cannot be funded on the backs of law students who are already paying too much for tuition in a still terrible job market.
And you know what? Standing up for what’s right, and standing up against the blatant price gouging happening at so many law schools, will cost some people their jobs.
Law students who read this resignation letter should ask themselves if their law deans are going to the mattresses for them every day, or if the deans are just rolling over and submitting to university pressures while trying to hang onto their jobs….
UPDATE (7:15 PM): We’ve added a response from the president of the university in question after the jump.
Annette Clark, dean of the St. Louis University School of Law School, got her job just last year. Now, she’s resigning. Her resignation letter makes it pretty clear that she’d rather quit her job that run a law school that’s just an ATM for the university.
We’ve seen this kind of thing before. On his way out of the door, Phillip J. Closius blasted the University of Baltimore for the way it siphoned money away from the law school, forcing the law school to raise tuition on already debt-saddled students.
This kind of stuff happens all the time, at law schools all across the country. Maybe it’s not always this “egregious,” but every law school dean knows that their budget can be busted at any moment by a university president who truly doesn’t care how much law students are charged to go to school.
So why do we only see deans at schools like Baltimore and St. Louis raising a stink about it? Shouldn’t deans at top programs also be willing to put their careers on the line in order to protect their students and the integrity of the law school itself? Or are too many of them in on the game?
There is, or there should be, a moral imperative for deans who do not want to be complicit in this racket. And yeah, Dean Clark called out the values of her Jesuit institution:
“Outside the bounds of common decency,” she wrote. To a priest!
Let me translate this resignation letter into something the faithful will understand: And Clark went into the university hall of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of LAW; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
You can read all of it on the next page (on the page after that, we’ll post her letter to the faculty, which is equally direct). I encourage you to read it. I encourage you to read it and send it to your law school deans and ask them what they are doing to make sure that the money generated by the law school is kept for the benefit of law students.
In the meantime, flip ahead to the next page for Dean Clark’s letters.