Paul L. Caron

Friday, April 6, 2018

Pace Law Dean David Yassky Steps Down Amid Faculty Discontent

Pace Logo (2018)New York Law Journal, Pace Law Dean David Yassky Steps Down Amid Faculty Discontent:

David Yassky, dean of Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, is relinquishing the position at the end of the semester after clashing repeatedly with the faculty.

Horace Anderson Jr., associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of law at the school, will take over as interim dean while the law school seeks to fill the vacancy.

In an exclusive interview with the New York Law Journal, Yassky said he has been discussing the transition back to teaching with university president Marvin Krislov for the past several months. But he evaded questions on whether the move was voluntary. He did say that a new dean is good for the law school “because for the next phase it would be good to have someone who doesn’t have all the baggage.”

“Dean Yassky came to Pace in 2014 to see the Law School through the post-recession period of transition and challenges in legal education, and he has done so admirably,” Krislov said. “Pace’s Law School is stronger, it is serving our students better and it is positioned for further initiatives to enhance our program and build upon its strong relationship with the legal community.”

Two faculty members at Pace, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Yassky was pushed out of the deanship after losing the confidence of campus constituencies.

The faculty did not take a formal vote of no confidence in Yassky, according to one professor, but Pace University leaders were made aware that he would not have the faculty’s support should a vote occur.

“There was a lack of trust and a lack of confidence in Dean Yassky,” the professor said. “There was a lot of dishonesty and a lot of hiding the ball.”

Yassky began clashing with the faculty almost immediately after assuming the deanship, they said. He ruffled feathers by cutting faculty salaries and removing several staff members early in his tenure. Yassky acknowledged cutting faculty but said it was done by attrition.

The law school’s community was not pleased with Yassky’s short-lived bid last fall for a seat in the New York Senate, fearing it would divert attention from the law school.

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