Law School Deans, Law Schools, Plaintiffs Firms

Maybe If He Were More Of A ‘Butt Boy,’ He’d Still Have A Job

Tom Q. Keefe

From the files of “things that are entirely predictable to everybody except for the guy in charge,” Interim Law Dean Tom Q. Keefe has been pushed out at St. Louis University School of Law. Well, “fired” according to some reports.

You mean bringing in a straight-talking law dean who was a personal injury attorney with no ties to the law faculty and was hand picked by the increasingly unpopular university president didn’t work out? SHOCKING! Tell me more….

For those who haven’t been following this story (and if you missed these prior posts, you really missed out), Keefe took over at Saint Louis Law after Law Dean Annette Clark resigned in protest. She objected to the university president, Father Lawrence Biondi, using the law school like an ATM.

Enter Keefe, hand picked by Biondi to run the law school. Keefe wasn’t a legal academic, he’s a personal injury lawyer who claims to be “nuttier than a fruitcake.” Despite criticism from the SLU faculty (and students), Keefe claimed he was not “Father Biondi’s butt boy.”

At the time, I wrote: “This guy is going to be a riot — before he (almost inevitably) flames out.”

It looks like that flame out day is today. St. Louis Public Radio is reporting that Keefe has been fired for “inappropriate comments” to students and staff.

SLU, on top of things as ever, spent most of the day denying the report to St. Louis radio (and to Above the Law) until this evening when Keefe released a statement. I’m not sure why the University was comfortable misleading people about the reports, but I can’t wait till SLU appoints a new, new dean.

While the university was busy telling me that reports saying that Keefe resigned after making inappropriate comments were “untrue,” they were busy telling the students… nothing at all. As I understand it, the students were learning about the dean’s departure in real time along with the rest of the world.

Oh, and about that Keefe statement. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

St. Louis University’s interim law school dean is stepping down, saying he made politically incorrect statements to faculty and was not a good fit for the position.

Tom Keefe, who took over the temporary post in August, said his inappropriate comments — which included a remark about Indians and another comment perceived as sexual harassment — were misinterpreted.

But he said he was not pressured to resign.

“I have chosen to step down because obviously there have been statements made about things I have done, and in all likelihood I’ve done them all,” Keefe said in an interview Monday. “The problem is I’m just too politically incorrect to be a dean.”

Given the behavior of the school today, I’m not inclined to believe a single word coming out of any mouth over there. But even if I was, I don’t even know how to reconcile “not pressured to resign” and “too politically incorrect to be a dean.”

If SLU Law tipsters have any details on what Keefe said (we only know it was about “Indians”) to not get himself fired, yet still decided to step down anyway, we’re all ears.

With Keefe out, I’m already starting to wonder about who Father Biondi will tap next to lead the law school. It’ll be hard to top Keefe, but I’m sure Biondi can come up with something. Doesn’t Tony LaRussa have a law degree?

Interim SLU Law School Dean Out Over Alleged ‘Inappropriate’ Comments [St. Louis Public Radio]
Interim dean of SLU law school says he will step down [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Earlier: Law School Dean Blasts University In Passionate Resignation Letter
University President Claims He Intended to Terminate Ex-Dean’s Appointment, Hires Personal Injury Attorney as Interim Dean
Law Dean Denies That He Is Priest’s ‘Butt Boy’

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