Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

After Failed Search Following Resignation Of Dean Due To Mishandling Of Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Tax Prof Elaine Gagliardi Named Interim Dean At Montana Law School

Following up on my previous post, Montana Law School Dean, Associate Dean Resign Following Student Walkout Over Mishandling Of Sexual Misconduct Allegations; Provost Temporarily Takes Control:  Missoulian, University of Montana Law School Names Interim Dean After Search Comes Up Short:

GagliardiThe search for a new dean for the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law returned to square one after offers to some of the finalists were rejected.

Dave Kuntz, the university’s director of strategic communications, confirmed that the university did make offers to finalists that visited campus, but did not specify how many offers were made or other details. ...

Beginning July 1, the law school will be led by Elaine Gagliardi as interim dean. Gagliardi has served as a faculty member at the university since 2001, including a wide range of administrative capacities such as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs from 2007-2010 and Associate Dean of Students from 2015-2017...

Former law school Dean Paul Kirgis resigned from the position in early October following a student-led walkout after women from the law school said that he and Associate Dean Sally Weaver discouraged them from reporting allegations of sexual harassment and assault to the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, initially reported by the Daily Montanan.

After resigning from the deanship, Kirgis returned to a faculty position at the law school. Weaver also resigned from her leadership position and her contract with the university concluded at the end of the school year.

Kirgis had served as dean of the law school since July 2015. His annual salary in the position was $201,630.

Following the shake-up in leadership last year, a trio of law professors, Monte Mills, Sara Rinfret and Cathay Y.N. Smithserved as acting deans. According to the email from [Provost] Mahdavi, Mills and Rinfret “are pursuing exciting opportunities beyond UM next year,” and Smith will be on sabbatical next school year.

Throughout the rest of the school year, a committee narrowed a few dozen applicants to four finalists including Emily Hughes of the University of Iowa College of Law, Rosa Brooks of the Georgetown University Law Center, Johanna Bond of Washington and Lee University and Norman Bay, a partner with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher in Washington D.C.

Missoula Current, UM Appoints Another Interim Law Dean; Housing Prices Contribute to Failed Dean Search:

An interim dean will steer the University of Montana law school this fall after a recruitment failed to bring a new leader to the campus and two of three interim co-leaders plan to leave UM.

This spring, UM had touted the credentials and experiences of four finalists for dean, and the provost confirmed Friday the university made offers. However, the position will be re-advertised in the summer, according to a letter from Provost Pardis Mahdavi. ...

UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz told the Missoulian that the cost of living in Missoula has affected nearly all of the university’s recruitments. For example, the median cost of a house in the county has jumped to $530,000 this year so far compared to $452,000 in 2021, according to data from the Missoula Organization of Realtors. ...

The letter noted the provost would be working with the search committee in the coming months to continue the search for the permanent dean: “We have learned important lessons from this search that we will use to revise the position advertisement and re-advertise later in the summer in hopes of finding a permanent dean to begin in this role in January 2023.” ...

The School of Law has earned high rankings nationally, and finalists for the dean position noted its high marks in their public presentations this spring. According to UM, it jumped 31 spots in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Schools list this year [103 this year, up from 134 last year].

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