After only one year as Dean at St. Louis University School of Law, Annette Clark resigned today and released two remarkable letters.
Here is the letter to the university president and vice-president:
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. 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. ...
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. 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. 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.
It is the ultimate irony that a Jesuit university would operate so far outside the bounds of common decency, collegiality, professionalism and integrity. I simply cannot be part of, and I assure you I will not be complicit with, an administration that can’t be trusted to act honestly and in the best interests of its faculty, staff and students. I therefore resign my deanship in the School of Law.
Here is the letter to the faculty and staff:
I am resigning because I fundamentally disagree with the president and vice president for academic affairs (vice president) as to the responsibilities of the law school dean and the importance of honesty, integrity, and honoring one’s commitments. As a result of a number of their actions, I no longer have confidence in their ability to lead this institution or in their commitment to the well-being of the School of Law and so I cannot continue to serve as a member of this administration.
I am appalled and shocked by the president’s and vice president’s actions surrounding the summer research stipends generally, but especially by this most recent withdrawal from the annual fund. I am telling you what has occurred, even though doing so is in clear contravention of the orders I received from the vice president, because I believe I have an ethical obligation to disclose this conduct, which I view to be immoral, in violation of an express commitment made by the president, and harmful to the law school. I do not wish to be complicit in, or provide cover for, these actions....
I have performed my duties as your dean with every ounce of integrity, dignity, and grace I possess and I leave this position with a clear conscience and the knowledge that I did everything within my power to move the law school and the university forward. In terms of my future, I will remain on the tenured faculty for the present, but I anticipate that I will be seeking another deanship in the near term.