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Faculty and alumni groups at Ave Maria School of Law in Michigan have issued votes of no confidence in the school’s dean over the newly accredited school’s possible relocation to a Catholic-oriented community in Florida. In two separate resolutions sent to the law school’s board of governors, the Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association board of directors and a group of 11 faculty members called for the resignation of Dean Bernard Dobranski, who helped lead the six-year-old school to full accreditation last year. The resolutions reflect strong opposition on the part of many alumni and faculty members to the Ann Arbor school’s possible move to the Naples, Fla., area. ‘Ave Maria Town’ The Florida location is where Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, chairman of the law school’s board of governors and the school’s main benefactor, proposes to create a Catholic-oriented community called Ave Maria Town. If the relocation takes place, Ave Maria School of Law would become part of Ave Maria University, which is under construction at the 5,000-acre site in Florida. Dobranski was unavailable for comment last week. But Bowie Kuhn, a member of the board of governors, said that the board will not ask for his resignation. “We’ve got something first class, and we’re proud of the role of the dean,” Kuhn said. The alumni association cited an “escalating leadership crisis” as the reason for its no-confidence resolution. Specifically, it stated that the dean had been “evasive, elusive and less than forthcoming” about the school’s decision to reopen a feasibility study regarding a possible move to Florida. The alumni association also cited the school’s debut ranking by U.S. News & World Report in the report’s fourth tier as a reason for its vote. In addition, it said that Dobranski failed to explain adequately why a professor who opposed the relocation was removed from the board. The alumni association’s resolution passed, 7-3. Jason Negri, president of the law school’s alumni association, said that he fears the school will lose accreditation if it moves. “If there is sufficient justification for uprooting an eminently successful institution and bringing it to Florida-other than Mr. Monaghan will continue his financial support if we move and he won’t if we don’t-I haven’t heard it,” he said. The faculty resolution, which passed, 11-3, with two abstaining, pointed to “an ongoing crisis in the law school” as the reason for its vote. In a statement called “An Open Letter to the Ave Maria Law School Community,” faculty members stated that they had requested a meeting with the board of governors about their no-confidence vote, but that the board issued its own resolution instead, stating that it had full confidence in Dobranski. Kuhn attributed much of the opposition among the faculty to “thinking that they themselves would be more comfortable with the law school operating in Michigan.” He also said that the alumni association resolution “was not a complete view of the entire alumni body.”

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