DePaul Students and Faculty Fight to Keep Fired Dean

WeissenbergerThe dismissal of Dean Glen Weissenberger after only two years into his second term has caused a upheaval at the law school where students and faculty have rallied around the popular dean. Weissenberger was reportedly fired on the recommendation of the provost, Helmut Epp.

Students and faculty have created a website to fight for their dean, here.

Epp informed the faculty that “the working relationship between the dean and the administration had deteriorated to the point where it had become difficult to accomplish the college’s work.”

An email to the faculty indicated that Weissenberger was terminated due to a letter he sent Tuesday to the American Bar Association in advance of a meeting of its accreditation committee next week. In the letter, Weissenberger told the committed that the revenue-sharing agreement between the university and the law school “frequently has been disregarded by the University.” He also forwarded a memo from June 12th where the law school was supposed to have access to 75 percent of net tuition revenues generated by the school, but he revealed that “in short order, the University breached the Margin Agreement.”

Here is a copy of the letter to the ABA, Glen Weissenberger letter to ABA

To make matter worse, Epp has hired a new interim dean from outside DePaul but has not named him or her.

This is a very familiar issue for many academics. At George Washington, we were one of the first law schools to openly agitate over the percentage cut of the university during accreditation. President Trachtenberg was taking a huge percentage of tuition dollars and the committee threatened our accreditation. It was well known that the faculty had leaked information to the committee. The result was an eventual deal to reduce the “cut” of the university.

Deans are in a strange position in such circumstances, not unlike cabinet members in a presidential administration. They are expected to represent the interests of the administration despite the view of most faculty that they are the protectors of academic freedom and the academic mission. Weissenberger is a rare example of a dean openly opposing the Administration on this issue. Usually, as at GW, it came indirectly from the faculty. However, he can claim a duty to respond to this standard inquiry in an honest manner.

The University is clearly wrong in his circumstance in my opinion and Weissenberger was right to fight for his law school. The University is equally wrong in picking an interim dean from outside the law school. Interim deans almost always come from the ranks of the faculty and guarantee a better transition to a new dean. This is truly the nuclear option for an Administration and will only undermine the law school. Even if they pick a new dean, the interim dean should be a current faculty member.

Weissenberger sent the following email to his school:

I want to thank you for your many e-mails and telephone messages offering support in
regard to my termination as dean.
First, Julie and I are doing fine. After surviving cancer, this is nothing!
Second, I want to assure you that I was not terminated for any wrong doing of any kind.
My termination was based specifically on a letter I sent to the ABA supplementing information
which the ABA already received. I was told by the ABA that I had a duty to submit this
information immediately because the Accreditation Committee is meeting next week. I gave
notice to the University that I would be filing the separate letter. I am attaching a copy of the
letter, because it is part of the record in our ABA accreditation process.

Here is the Epp email, provost-email.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “DePaul Students and Faculty Fight to Keep Fired Dean”

  1. WTF!? Did any of you read the links provided before you posted your comments?!
    Read the WHOLE story… then form an opinion!! UGH! I really hate ignorant people! I REALLY DO!

  2. Whatever the cut the university takes from law school tuition, that doesn’t belong in the accreditation criteria. The criteria should only include output measures, not inputs. What does the school offer students? What do the faculty accomplish? This transfer at worst could be thought of as a tax by the university, and this is the implicit assumption by the accreditors, the ABA. The only interest ABA has in using this as a criterion is to protect rents for its law school constituents. It says zero about law school quality. If the university drains resources from the law school and this action affects the law school quality, then that quality reduction will ultimately earn a lower rating from the ABA. This logic would imply a lawyer from New York is of poorer quality than one from Florida because New York income taxes take a chunk of the NY lawyer’s pay while income taxless Florida does not take any of the Florida lawyer’s pay. For a student or potential client, compare the expected benefit from the law school or the lawyer and compare it to the price charged.

  3. The mistake is often made whether dealing with academics or in the sciences, that somehow people are able to rise above their
    petty needs and proceed by valuing either their mission, or their method. Yet we know that in both academics and science, the most vicious battles occur when the protection of turf is involved. The pious hypocrisy prevalent in discussing the doings in academia and science.

    As distressing as the circumstances may be for Dean Weissberger
    we needs these incidents occasionally to draw the curtain and see the wizardry as the sham it is. Why is it that the costs of higher education have far outstripped the cost of living?

  4. A few words from Ibsen come to mind as I read this post. In his seminal work, “An Enemy of The People,” the great Norwegian playwright’s protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, is faced with a similar dilemma involving his duty to his conscience versus expediency. Here’s how Ibsen describes the conundrum of being guided by consensus instead of principle:

    “The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population — the intelligent ones or the fools?”

    And then his famous line from the same work about the nature of the fight for truth:

    “Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.”

    He even has some advice for us here on the blog:

    “To live is to war with trolls.”


    Damn that guy can write.

  5. And didn’t Harvard Business School lose 25% of their endowment fund in the markets recently? Educators seem to have a bad track record in dealing with Big Business. They should concentrate on helping students rather than generating cash cows.

  6. My daughter is going into her third year at Loyola Law School in Chicago and she almost went to DePaul. I was actually surprised that she didn’t choose DePaul after our visit there, but now I am glad that she is not in the middle of this nonsense. I smell a rat in this one. It sounds like someone has a burr in their saddle and logic and the good of the school don’t matter to the administration. This story even hit the Chicago papers and it has harmed the reputation of DePaul.

  7. Take the school charter and place inside a ring of brandy from the president’s private stash. Form student drum circle around same and bring in Hawaiian Fire dancers near same. Call Tom Hanks and offer him the role as ousted Dean in the new movie–Stupid in DePaul.

  8. It was also Helmut Epp (and DePaul’s president Dennis Holtschneider) who was instrumental in denying tenure to vocal Israel critic Paul Finkelstein. Finkelstein had the unanimous of his department, which had already voted for tenure, and was very popular among students.

    But noted anti-Arab racist Alan Dershowitz went to war against Finkelstein (who exposed Dershowitz’s rampant plagiarism). Dershowitz was particularly aggressive in lobbying academics in the DePaul’s law school.

  9. Well with Big Business and Corporate governance committees what do you really expect?

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