Trouble At SLU: Law School Dean Leaves With Middle Fingers in the Air

Trouble At SLU: Law School Dean Leaves With Middle Fingers in the Air

There’s trouble in midtown these days as in-fighting between the St. Louis University president, Fr. Lawrence Biondi, and the now former dean of the SLU Law School, Annette Clark, became very public yesterday.

Credit to NextSTL for digging up the dirt and posting all the letters online. Great scoop!

Here’s how this is going to work. We usually don’t cover stuff as fancy as Dean vs Catholic University President fights, but it’s newsworthy all the same, so what we’re going to do is run her resignation letter through the ole Punching Kitty Translatamatron 232273247290300. We’re still working on the name, but the translations work just fine, and are crucial to cut through the fancy lawyer/high education talk and strip it down to the bare essentials to make it easier to understand.

What follows is the resignation letter from The University of St. Louis School of Law Dean, Annette Clark (original on Scribd):

President Biondi and Vice President Patankar:

I resign my deanship at Saint Louis University School of Law, effective immediately. For the present, I will remain a tenured full professor on the law school faculty as is my contractual right.

Translation: Guess what dicks?! I quit because you suck, but I’m going to stick around anyway because blow me, that’s why. We are prepared for a few very awkward elevator rides in our future. Just prepare yourself as well, because I will definitely be the one that farted in there.

I no longer have confidence in either of your abilities to lead this institution or in your commitment to the well-being of the School of Law.

Translation: f*ck you.

Some of the more egregious actions that you, President Biondi, have taken are that:

  • You transferred over $800,000 from the law school building fund to the President’s Opportunity Fund on the final day of Sandy Johnson’s interim deanship without her knowledge and counter to her understanding of your agreement regarding how her compensation and that summer’s research stipends would be funded, and without notice to me as I took over the deanship;
  • You acquired the building downtown and deemed it to be the new law school building without adequate investigation of its suitability and without any notice or consultation with the law school leadership;
  • You refused to meet with the ABA/AALS reaccreditation site team;
  • You forbade the law school to fund summer research stipends out of the operating budget after the faculty and I followed the process the vice president assured me you had approved; and
  • You unilaterally transferred $260,000 from the law school annual fund for summer research stipends to your own discretionary fund in contravention of your express

Um…hold on…ok, translation: Dude. I mean seriously?! I thought we were supposed to be bros, but you’re a douche and you know you’re a douche. Tons of reasons why, but mainly all the douchey stuff you do.

Through these and many other acts I could list, you have failed to make good on your assurances to me when I accepted the deanship that you would fully support the law school and our efforts to enhance its program of legal education, national reputation and rankings.

Translation: Cool job at being a liar though!

From the beginning of my deanship, you have evinced hostility toward the law school and its faculty and have treated me dismissively and with disrespect, issuing orders and edicts that allowed me virtually no opportunity to exercise the very discretion, judgment and experience for which you and the faculty enthusiastically hired me.

Translation: You’ve been a total butthole from day one and I don’t nee this crap.

You have not consulted me on important matters involving the law school’s interests, you have failed to honor commitments that I had assured the faculty you would keep, and you have accused me of being uncooperative and not being a team player when I have objected to these actions.

Translation: I want to kick you in the balls so hard right now.

It is the ultimate irony that a Jesuit university would operate so far outside the bounds of common decency, collegiality, professionalism and integrity.

Translation: I thought you religious types are supposed to be nice, but you’re a total jackoff.

I therefore resign my deanship in the School of Law.

Annette E. Clark

Translation: Suck it.

[End Translation]

Bondi did respond by later pushing out a press release of his own, claiming that he was moments from firing Clark only to have her resign instead, and announced that Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. will be taking over as dean of the law school. Thomas Q. Keefe, is notable of course, because if you say his name quickly in your head it sounds like you’re saying “Thomas Queef” which is pretty awesome for us, but not so great for him. Good luck on the new job Dean Queef!

You can read all the letters in full, along with a more serious evaluation of the news over at NextSTL who did some great work in tracking this all down and posting the letters to Scribd.