Fr. Fessio again removed from Ave Maria University

From a reader:

This is an email (copied/ pasted) that I received from Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. earlier today.  Could you ask your readers to pray for Fr. Fessio and for the Ave Maria University (Naples, FL)  community?  Thank you very much.

***********************
This morning, (Monday, July 20th) Dr. Jack Sites, Academic Vice President of
Ave Maria University,  flew from Houston, where he was attending a meeting
of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, to San Francisco, to
inform me personally that I was being dismissed from Ave Maria University.
Our meeting was amicable and Dr. Sites, as always, acted as a Christian
gentleman.

He said that the reason for my dismissal stemmed from a conversation I had
in November of 2008 with Jack Donahue, then chairman of the board of AMU. At
that time I felt it an obligation to speak to the board chairman before the
upcoming board meeting, to make sure he was aware of the urgency of the
university’s financial situation. After I had informed him, using
projections based on publicly available documents and statements,  he asked
me what I thought was the solution. I told him that there were policies
being followed that were at the root of the problem, that the present
administration was irrevocably wedded to those policies, and that without a
change of administration the university was at great risk.

Dr. Sites said that Jack Donahue related this conversation to Tom Monaghan,
and it was decided (I don’t know specifically by whom) that the university
could not have a faculty member making these criticisms of the
administration and thus undermining the university.

Dr. Sites told me that there were unspecified others who had similar
substantive concerns that I was undermining the university.

I continue to support the university. I pray for its success. I have great
admiration for the faculty, students, and many of the staff. I do disagree
with some of the policies of the administration. This seems to be the reason
I was fired the first time, in March 2007, since the official explanation
was "irreconcilable administrative differences".

Nevertheless, I think it is an accurate summary to say that I am being
dismissed as a faculty member because of a private conversation with the
chairman of the board in which I made known my criticisms of the university
administration; and because of allegations which have not been made known to
me and to which I have not been given an opportunity to respond.

I will continue to recommend AMU to students and parents. And I will
continue to think my dismissal is another mistake in a long series of unwise
decisions.

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73 Responses to Fr. Fessio again removed from Ave Maria University

  1. interesting…I am surprised that he is publicly speaking out like this

  2. Chironomo says:

    …And this concludes another episode of “As The Pizza Turns”.

  3. P. McGrath says:

    Let’s review:

    1. Father F. sees that at his employer, there is an “urgency of the university’s financial situation.”

    2. He brings his concerns to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, and backs up his contentions “using projections based on publicly available documents and statements.”

    3. When the Chairman asks him for his opinion, Father F. tells him “that there were policies being followed that were at the root of the problem, that the present administration was irrevocably wedded to those policies, and that without a change of administration the university was at great risk.”

    Result? Father F. gets sacked.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  4. Banjo Pickin' Girl says:

    I have been learning to ignore AMU. The people who work there are treated like disposable pizza delivery kids, according to my friend, whose husband was just laid off from there.

    If I had raised concerns like that at my employer and given evidence of my concern I would have been moved up in management.

    As long as such hypocrisy is obvious at AMU nobody will respect it.

  5. Scott W. says:

    I remember reading about the previous episode, but still don’t get it as I don’t know much about AMU or Fr. Fessio. Is there some ideological baggage I’m missing? If someone would be kind enough to sketch or link the basics of this drama to cure my ignorance, I’d appreciate it.

  6. You know, in the world of art institutes the Savannah College of Art and Design had (and for all I know still has) a miserable reputation for the way they treated all faculty who weren’t teaching studio art – including the art historians. The record was so bad the College Art Association came up with a way of flagging their job advertisements in the national listings to warn people that these were NEVER going to be long term jobs (a little asterisk, if I remember correctly).

    AMU seems to be on the same track – a proprietary university with a disposable faculty. That is never going to help them achieve any kind of success – especially academic.

  7. Jordanes says:

    Ave Maria University apparently has a long way to go before it becomes a Catholic institution of higher learning.

  8. Allan says:

    Read between the lines folks. There’s more here. And the other side is not likely allowed to give its side.

  9. Matt Q says:

    I think it’s time Father Fessio finds something else to do. A great priest and scholar such as himself shouldn’t continue to obsess over AVU, especially when it’s a train wreck of its own making. It is evident AVU doesn’t care about his opinions nor his efforts at rehabilitating it, so why bother? There comes a point where one has to walk away from it especially after a second dismissal. Enough is enough.

  10. Mike says:

    This is the release that Fr. Fessio needs and deserves. I understand that he felt he was serving a purpose for the students at AMU despite how the administration treated him, but as another poster said, enough is enough. Words cannot adequately describe how dysfunctional AMU has become over the past few years, and I think anybody who knows and cares about Fr. Fessio and what he has gone through will be happy to learn that he has finally been freed from his tormenters.

  11. wsxyz says:

    AMU seems to be on the same track – a proprietary university with a disposable faculty.

    At this point I have to ask, why should university employees be any less disposable than employees of any other organization. It may be foolish to “fire the messenger” as may have happened in this case, but why should university employees have an employment guarantee that the rest of us don’t have?

    That is never going to help them achieve any kind of success – especially academic.

    In this age, “academic success” is usually preceded by rejecting God, so avoiding “academic success” is probably a good thing.

  12. Banjo Pickin' Girl says:

    I agree with Matt. Go where you are wanted, Father Fessio. I lost a job once and was real mad for a while but where I am now is so much better I am amazed. Go west, or north, Father Fessio. I was going to add east and south but then realized that would put him with sharks and I don’t mean that! He needs to be in a non-shark place.

  13. Francesco B. says:

    I hate to say this, but, why does AMU have a Legionaries of Christ taste to it? I don’t mean to say that the AMU leadership is guilty of any of the sins of Fr. Maciel by any means, but this sort of refusal to tolerate any criticism of the administration is very reminiscent of the creepy cult of personality around Fr. Maciel that prohibited any criticism of him. AMU has such wonderful potential, but sacking a holy priest like Fr. Fessio isn’t a good sign at all! I am very worried.

  14. Jabba says:

    Tom Monaghan is his own worst enemy and obstacle to his stated goals of accomplishing “great” things for the Church. He is obsessed with having total control over everything. He doesn’t understand Catholic education (it’s not a pizza factory) or the proper role of benefactors (the give, they don’t control). He needs to write a check, retire, and TRUST the running of the university to competent people working WITH the diocesan Bishop.
    Alas, it’s not going to happen.

    Fr. Fessio needs to face the facts – he loves the vision of a Catholic university that has never existed except in his dreams. The reality has now bitten him in the rear a second time.

  15. Maynardus says:

    With all due respect to “Jabba” I think it is appropriate at this juncture to re-consider his advice to Tom Monaghan. Frankly, one of the reasons that Catholic (and secular) higher education in this country is in such a sorry state is that too many donors – alums and benefactors alike – have done exactly what he wishes Mr. Monaghan to do: “write a check, retire, and TRUST the running of the university to competent people…” I am no defender of Mr. Monaghan, and I freely concede that his concept of Catholic education may be deficient, but let’s face facts here – if present circumstances were such that one could simply write checks and then sit back contentedly and watch the good fruit flower and ripen, there’d be no need for AMU!

  16. Mr. H. says:

    I am disappointed to hear this news.

    Mr H.
    http://www.allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/

  17. Columcille says:

    Tom Monaghan is using the Catholic faith to line his pockets. He doesn’t care about being Catholic, in fact he is on record as being a conservative version of the cafeteria catholic (he rejects specific aspects of the Church’s social teaching, and Ex Corde).

    He has destroyed more Catholic institutions than he has fingers to count on.

    What he did to Ave Maria School of Law was not only devastating to the Church in America, but it was illegal and immoral.

    see: http://www.avewatch.com

  18. Bruno says:

    I think anybody who knows and cares about Fr. Fessio and what he has gone through will be happy to learn that he has finally been freed from his tormenters.

    I’LL SECOND THAT.

  19. Sarsfield says:

    Given all of this, why does Fr, Fessio continue to recommend the place to students and parents? I don’t get it. If they fired Fessio twice,and his firings were simply two in a “long series of unwise decisions,” why would I send my kid there?

  20. RBrown says:

    Michael Tinkler,

    IMHO, you’ve nailed it. Thomas Aquinas College in Calif was started by a few professors with a common intellectual vision who knew what they wanted. AMU was started by a well meaning Catholic billionaire for whom AMU was merely one part of his plans.

    That notwithstanding, despite Fr Fessio’s considerable accomplishments, he also has a rep for sometimes being a difficult man. In somma, combine the AMU situation with Fr Fessio, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s an explosion.

  21. Dave Pawlak says:

    I’ve known a few institutions like AMU: faithful teaching, committed teachers, good students and parents, but an administration which seems intent on ruining everything…

  22. Prayers for all involved.

  23. K. Beringer says:

    The Bishop of Venice (Florida), who is now on the AMU Board, told AveWatch.com that he was not consulted on the firing: http://avewatch.com/?p=148

  24. LCB says:

    Ave Watch is one of my guilty pleasures.

  25. PTG says:

    Doesn’t anyone find it a little odd that Fr. Fessio won’t say what policies are “at the root of the problem,” only that the university administration is irrevocably wedded to them? If he’s basing his views on “publicly available” information, why not come out and say specifically what he thinks the problems are and what needs to be done?

    Maybe the only way to fix problems is to change the administration, but unless we know what he thinks the problems are, how does anyone know?

    I respect Fr. Fessio, but his statement strikes me as pretty self-serving. I mean, how can he recommend AMU to students and parents if he really believes that its financial situation is so dire and the administration so incompetent that it’s ruining the school?

  26. PTG says:

    Doesn’t anyone fine it a little strange that Fr. Fessio won’t say what those policies that are “at the root” of the problem are? If he’s basing his opinion on “publicly available” information, why can’t he specify the problems instead of saying simply that the only way to fix them is to change the administration?

    I respect Fr. Fessio, but his statement seems somewhat self-serving. I mean, how can he say he’ll continue to recommend AMU to students and parents if he really believes that its financial situation is so dire that the administration needs to be replaced?

  27. PTG says:

    Doesn’t anyone fine it a little strange that Fr. Fessio won\’t say what those policies that are “at the root” of the problem are? If he’s basing his opinion on “publicly available” information, why can’t he specify the problems instead of saying simply that the only way to fix them is to change the administration?

    I respect Fr. Fessio, but his statement seems somewhat self-serving. I mean, how can he say he’ll continue to recommend AMU to students and parents if he really believes that its financial situation is so dire that the administration needs to be replaced?

  28. Joseph Shaw says:

    I’ve no idea what’s been going on at AVU, but I must respond to wsxyz or whatever he called himself:

    “why should university employees be any less disposable than employees of any other organization”

    The answer, my friend, is that institutions in which the academics are ‘disposable’ are ones in which there is no academic freedom, and those institutions are incapable of nurturing really good academic work. Academic freedom is not just about the conclusions you might reach, but the line of research you might take and the courses you might teach. If those matters are decided not by academics on academic grounds but by administrators on administrative grounds then, as an academic institution, you’re finished.

    That is why the gap between Oxford and Cambridge, and other insitutions which are in the last analysis self-governing academic communities, on the one hand, and the vast majority of institutions which are run by administrators, on the other, continues to yawn. Oxford and Cambridge continue to enjoy the form of government which their Catholic founders gave them.

    There’s no reason why there couldn’t be a genuinely Catholic institution with academics in charge of academic matters. Academics aren’t instinsically less trustworthy guardians of the Faith than administators. But it wouldn’t be run by Monaghan.

  29. “Doesn’t anyone find it a little odd…”

    No. Had he gone public with this, they might have been justified in removing him. Second, anyone who has followed the history of AMU even a little bit, already knows of the policies. Even as a tenacious adversary, Father Fessio remains a gentleman, and his statement of continuing to recommend AMU is in character.

    It doesn’t mean his audience won’t read between the lines. That he would know this, is also in character.

    DLA

  30. PTG says:

    DLA, now that he IS removed, however, why not be specific? I like to think I have followed the history of AMU “even a little bit” but I don’t know what policies he means. Since you do, why not enlighten us?

  31. Athelstane says:

    Hello Maynardus,

    Frankly, one of the reasons that Catholic (and secular) higher education in this country is in such a sorry state is that too many donors – alums and benefactors alike – have done exactly what he wishes Mr. Monaghan to do: “write a check, retire, and TRUST the running of the university to competent people…”

    This is one of Monaghan’s meme’s, and it is a valid one.

    However, it’s now plain that simply being actively involved in overseeing how your money is spent is not sufficient – indeed, might be more harmful than beneficial. I disagree with those who say “Monaghan doesn’t care about being Catholic.” If you knew him, you would know he’s sincere, even if he has an inadequate understanding of it at times (or fails to live it in his treatment of employees or students). But it’s also true that the university is just part of a larger plan, a larger community, one of his conception and one in which he brooks little discussion. Likewise it’s true that he knew nothing of academia or its culture but ended up trying to run a great deal of it anyway.

    It wasn’t a question of orthodoxy. Virtually all of the faculty was quite orthodox. This was not BC, with modernists and non-Catholics running amok.

    This illustrates the danger of relying almost solely on the largesse of one major donor to build such a community. If that one donor tries to run everything, despite no experience or aptitude in doing so (beyond, say, the business office)…we then come to realize the OTHER great lesson of what has destroyed the Catholic identity of so many universities: personnel is policy. Hire people who know what they are doing and trust them to do most of the implementation; but also make sure they share the university’s vision. You can be active and stay informed while staying within your limits.

    Hello PTG,

    Fr. Fessio is likely prudent in not revealing financial details publicly. Even as a former employee, he has or may have fiduciary duties to the institution.

    Should he still recommend it to prospective students? I don’t know about that. As a former student and employee I am having a hard time doing so. My sense is that he doesn’t want to say anything to harm those already in the community by appearing to undercut it. He has a loyalty to them, I think, if no longer the administration.

  32. LCB says:

    PTG, the letter was not attempting to make a case, it was attempting to inform what had happened.

    If you’re interested in knowing more specifics about the very bad situation AMU is in, I would advise consulting AveWatch.com

    There are very legitimate concerns about the money situation, about legal questions, and about ethical conduct. The solvency of AMU is very much in question. All of this is public record.

  33. PTG says:

    LCB, I don’t think you understand my point. Fr. Fessio didn’t just say there were problems at AMU — that, as you say, has been well reported. He said that there were specific policies at the root of those problems that can only be fixed with a change in the administration. I think it’s a fair question to ask what the policies are. He won’t say. Why not? If it’s so well known what the policies are, then perhaps someone else could chime in and tell me.

  34. “I think it’s a fair question to ask what the policies are. He won’t say. Why not?”

    Hey, the guy just got fired in the last 24 hours. He’s probably too busy clearing his desk and looking for a new billet, to hold a press conference. That’s assuming he’s in a position to be more forthcoming.

    “I like to think I have followed the history of AMU ‘even a little bit’ but I don’t know what policies he means. Since you do, why not enlighten us?”

    Click here…

    http://avewatch.com/

    …and be enlightened.

    DLA

  35. MargaretMN says:

    I would imagine that his employment contract had a clause about “going public” with too much privileged information. If he went all out and revealed private and confidential info, he might have opened himself to a lawsuit and further embarrassment.

    It’s not exactly a shocker that a large non-profit is having money troubles. It’s happening all over the place, since donations are down. Without knowing the specfics it’s hard to know whether the problem is in the middle rank, where a board is trying to manage Mr. Monaghan’s expectations when Fr. Fessio upset the applecart, or whether Monaghan himself is unhappy with the management. If the latter were true you’d think he would have fired everybody.

  36. Ken says:

    Anyone know what the liturgical differences of opinion are/were?

    “In an interview with the Daily News a year after his demotion, Fessio said his relationship with AMU President Nick Healy wasn’t tense but he acknowledged liturgical differences of opinion.”
    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/jul/20/ave-maria-university-fires-rev-joseph-fessio-secon/

  37. Corey says:

    I have a son attending AMU. His professor’s have all been awesome and authentic. Any large organization is going to have challenges along the way. Especially a Catholic school. The secular world would love nothing better than to be able to ridicule a Catholic school. Sometimes we are to quick to judge. Father F. has stated himself that AMU is a college he would still recommend. An administration can have problems and the org. still be one of exemplary performance. Why not give our support to both AMU and Father F. Why not call for an investigation to what Father F. claims? Why not pray for resolution and reconciliation? WWJD???

  38. PTG says:

    DLA: he wasn’t anywhere near a desk to clean out, and he wasn’t too busy to write up an account of what happened — it’s just that the account he wrote lacks some key info. Not as much key info as is lacking on the blog you pointed me to, though. If you know what “policies” Fr. Fessio is referring to, please let us know.

    MargaretMN: There is no “privileged information” if he says he based everything on publicly available documents.

  39. thetimman says:

    I was a founding donor of AMU, and now I wouldn’t send my dog there for obedience school.

  40. ED says:

    Father Fessio should return to the West Coast and work in the Oakland diocese with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone.

  41. Henry Edwards says:

    Ken: Anyone know what the liturgical differences of opinion are/were?

    I don’t claim any special inside knowledge of AMU. However, it’s well known that Fr. Fessio is an ad orientem Latin Novus Ordo type — and more recently has learned to celebrate the TLM also — whereas the administration there strongly favors a charismatic approach to the liturgy (a la Franciscan University in Steubenville). Perhaps there are other differences as well.

  42. LCB says:

    PTG,

    I’m sorry a man who just lost his job and shot an email to friends/supporters briefly explaining what happened (before the media could put their own spin in it) hasn’t meet your disclosure criteria.

    That is a matter you should take up directly with Fr. F., we’ve done the best we can to point you to the publicly available information that might help you fill in the blanks.

  43. LCB says:

    FWIW,

    If you checked out Ave Watch, you would find this:

    http://avewatch.com/?p=118

    Which very well could be a part of what’s being referenced.

  44. For further commentary on the firing of Father Fessio read The Chronicles of Ave Maria at http://www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com

  45. Timbot says:

    AMU is a poster child for the “higher-education-bubble” schools. If it were a publicly traded business I would recommend shorting it to zero. It will not survive the coming educational shakeup in the US.

  46. Athelstane says:

    Hello Henry,

    That’s a fairly accurate assessment.

    There have been some arguments about the general practice (which obtained from the outset) of receiving kneeling and on the tongue as well.

    The TLM was resisted tooth and nail – admittedly, by Fr. Fessio himself at first. When I was there we had a petition signed by over 100 students – over a third of the student body – for a regular TLM. To no effect. It took Bishop Dewane’s intervention to make it happen on a regular basis, really.

    With up to three daily masses and several on the weekend, I think there is sufficient “liturgical space” for multiple worship forms. I did not begrudge the charismatic liturgies even though I avoided them. But despite the fact that the majority of students were more traditional in their preference, we had the sense that if some in the administration had their way, there would be no traditional liturgy at all.

    But of course the liturgy questions pale next to the financial status. If that January memo is true, it could be a moot point in a few years. Sad to say.

  47. Lori Ann says:

    (A) I don’t trust Ave Watch as a valid source of info on AMU. If you read through enough of it, you get the drift that it was started by some disgruntled, vengeful people who were probably burned when it was decided to make the move the campus to Naples.

    (B) Also, I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but I went down there for a visit, met with the students, faculty AND the infamous Dr. Healy and Tom himself. I was not disappointed. On the contrary, I was so impressed that my daughter will be attending AMU next month.

    So, I understand it when Fr. Fessio said that he would continue to recommend the university to others.

    No, I am not delusional. Just go ahead and read the information that was out there on the web two years ago, and you would have thought then that AMU would have already imploded upon itself. Naysayers, doomsdayers and speculators, why don’t people use their spiritual eyes?

    (C) I have put my money where my mouth is, (and so have a handful of other parents like me). My daughter and five of her male friends, one a returning student, will be attending AMU this school year as a unique contingent: they are all parishioners of a Traditional Latin Mass parish. Yes, that is correct! We are sending down MC’s, Acolytes, Thurifers, Crucifers, and a Woman’s Schola member. They cannot wait to have them. Sort of like hand-picked pioneers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (I hope that isn’t too presumptuous.) Pray for them and may they serve Our Lady well.

    Even though my daughter will not have the advantage of having Fr. Fessio’s presence on campus, from what I have witnessed, he has left his legacy among the students who knew him well. May Our Lord give him fortitude for the days ahead.

  48. LCB says:

    Did AMU ever get accreditation, or recognition as a Catholic University from their Bishop?

  49. little gal says:

    As someone who also works for a university,I can attest to the hardball tactics and ineptitude and lack of interest in addressing issues. It’s all about power and money baby! I would also say that being a professional academic, does not mean that one has common sense, ethics, or administrative or business acumen. Frankly, I don’t even believe that universities are the best places to learn; I think I learned more in high school…Fr. Fessio needs to do some reflecting on what happened and what he can learn. I wish him good luck wherever he goes.

  50. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    Who cares?

  51. Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe says:

    Stuff like this really burns me. An opinion is offered. The “powers that be” can either take it or leave it. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. But it’s imput. If “Ave Maria” wants a bunch of butt kissers, why don’t they just announce straight up “We are SO insecure, that we can’t handle contrary opinion … ergo, we will fire you, because we are like chickens with their heads in the sand, acting as if the bulldozer wasn’t headed straight for them.

    It’s unfortunate that what goes on in some private industries (to their general detriment) also happens in a Catholic University.

    If it goes under THESE SAME PEOPLE will be Minnie the Moaners crowing “if ONLY someone had pointed this out.”

  52. Jon says:

    Francesco asks, “Why does AMU have a Legionaries of Christ taste to it?”

    That’s an interesting angle. I hear Jack Donahue has a son who is a Legionary of Christ priest, also Regnum Christi has at least one member on the AMU board.

  53. PTG:

    I told you what I know, so now you know what I know. Since you also know that “he wasn’t anywhere near a desk to clean out,” you obviously know something I don’t know. So click on the link already. If Father Fessio ever gives me an exclusive detailed report, you can read it on my blog along with everyone else.

    Lori Ann:

    People who get “burned” often have reason to complain. (Is someone of the stature of Dr Charles Rice “delusional”?) You are not the only one to have any experience with AMU, or AMC before them. The writers of AveWatch have more than a friendly visit upon which to base any claims. Former teachers, former students, parents of former students, former board members, former law professors — what the heck more do you want? As long as the money keeps coming in, the status quo will continue indefinitely.

    And yet, for your daughter’s sake, I hope she never gets “burned.”

  54. wsxyz says:

    That is why the gap between Oxford and Cambridge, and other insitutions which are in the last analysis self-governing academic communities, on the one hand, and the vast majority of institutions which are run by administrators, on the other, continues to yawn. Oxford and Cambridge continue to enjoy the form of government which their Catholic founders gave them.

    Are you claiming that Oxford and Cambridge are good universities? If so, on what basis? Worldly acclaim?

  55. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    I didn’t know George Steinbrenner was the president of Ave Maria.

  56. Lori Ann says:

    Dear David,

    Concerning my daughter, neither do I.

    I have read and considered what you have said, but I stand by what I have said. I never claimed that I was the “only one” to have any experience with AMU. But, that is how you took it and, thus, the tone of your response to me reveals this. The firing of Dr. Rice’s was regrettable; however, just as it is important to look at the manner in which people are fired, it is also equally important to look at the manner in which people complain. In my opinion, those at Ave Watch have made it difficult to take them seriously.

    Respectfully,
    Lori Ann

  57. Sal says:

    Actually, Oxford and Cambridge ARE top-notch
    universities and both put out excellent publications
    in Early Christian studies.

  58. Kate says:

    A speculation (based on past events) on why Fessio isn’t making his detailed criticism of the University public: apparently severance packages and conditions from Ave Maria institutions commonly contain a rather unusually detailed non-disclosure – what basically amounts to a promise not to publicly criticize the institution. Thus Fessio’s offer to give his perspective if asked *privately*. I have no way of knowing if this was part of the conditions of his severance, but I do know that it has been a condition of severance for other Ave Maria employees.

  59. Kate says:

    Lori –

    While I don’t know who is behind AveWatch, I know many of the people who have been labeled ‘dissidents’ from AMC and AMSOL. And I will tell you freely, the only reason you can claim that they have gone about complaining in the wrong manner is because we just don’t get to read headlines about the many many times each of them (and many others) attempted to follow the proper channels and were squelched, threatened, silenced and ignored. After a while, public criticism is the only avenue left to an honest man or woman with a legitimate grievance. Public criticism, and in a few cases, the courts.

  60. Lori Ehrman says:

    My daughter is returning to Ave in a couple of weeks. I will surely miss Father Fessio but…the students there are priceless. Ave expects a lot of their students. The NO Mass at noon on Sunday is well-done. I pray the university is a success. Those kids are part of the future of the Church. They are all discerning their vocations. They are PRO LIFE to the MAX. They love being Catholic. They love Our Lady.

  61. RC says:

    In 2007, the official word from the diocese was this:

    “It’s not a Catholic university,” Diocese spokeswoman Adela Gonzales White said. “It’s a private university in the Catholic tradition.”

    http://www.marconews.com/news/2007/aug/25/catholics_not_all_ready_embrace_new_ave_maria/

  62. Former Ave says:

    As someone who was former Ave faculty, who has to post anonymously for continuing concern about retaliation, it saddens me when people like Mrs. Ehrman adopt such an approach. It goes beyond head-in-the-sand to only-if-it-bothers-me. Rice gets his knees chopped out. Fessio knees chopped. Faculty on a revolving door. At least four wrongful termination suits filed. Dept. of Education penalties over $250,000 for illegal financial aid distribution. Levering bolts citing financial and ethical concerns. But, ya’ know, as long as it doesn’t impact “me”, and I get a Rosary Walk, who cares? That is what bold orthodoxy has sunk to – getting my piece of the pie. Respectfully, you will fit into Ave quite nicely. But if they come for you, don’t expect anyone to speak up.

  63. wsxyz says:

    Actually, Oxford and Cambridge ARE top-notch
    universities and both put out excellent publications
    in Early Christian studies.

    Once again a bare assertion. On what basis do you make the claim that Oxford and Cambridge are top-notch universities?

    And what makes their publications in Early Christian studies “excellent”?

  64. Jordanes says:

    Are you serious? On what basis do you suggest that Oxford and Cambridge aren’t top-notch universities?

    What makes their publications in Early Christian studies “excellent” are the very high standards of scholarship that a paper or monograph must be shown to meet before Oxford and Cambridge will even think about publishing it.

  65. Joseph Shaw says:

    wsxyz – I’m sorry, this argument is ridiculous. If you want to see objective criteria for the ranking of universities they exist, and they invariably place Oxford and Cambridge near the top. We’re talking about solid academic acheivements, not just pious aspirations – papers and books, Nobel prizes, whatever. My point is that universities which reflect the Catholic medieval model of self-governing academic communities are better at fostering academic excellence, and all the evidence that exists backs this up.

  66. Meyer says:

    A lot of people at Ave Maria are extremely concerned about the place’s future, mainly due to downturn-affected finances and a low rate of take-up on residences. It’s sad, because if it does go down it’ll mean some great people being out of a job. On the other hand, the town screams Stepford, and I can’t say I’d be too upset to see a thoroughly unCatholic, inorganic conception of community disappear.

  67. Peter says:

    Joseph and Jordanes have beaten me to the punch. Just want nonsense are you spouting wsxyz?

    They may not be Catholic institutions, but Oxford and Cambridge have an excellent reputation for academic excellence and rigour.

  68. Henry Edwards says:

    Meyer: A lot of people at Ave Maria are extremely concerned about the place’s future, mainly due to downturn-affected finances and a low rate of take-up on residences.

    From the viewpoint of one original donor, the financial problems may not be unrelated to the liturgical problems, because of which be quickly became a former donor.

  69. “Comment by Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe — 21 July 2009 @ 7:50 pm”

    “Comment by Former Ave — 21 July 2009 @ 11:31 pm”

    What these two said!

  70. Brian Mershon says:

    Lori, I agree with David Alexander. It is well known that Ave has been “buying” the type of students you cite with lots of scholarship money that the Christendoms and Thomas Aquinas Colleges of the world cannot afford to throw around.

    Ave Maria would certainly have been a much better deal for my oldest daughter, about to start her second year at Christendom. Yes, she is a TLMer, as are many at Christendom. The monthly payments and her work during the Summer are a large sacrifice for our family of 7 children.

    But AMU was NEVER on the radar screen. Way too much public idiocy on Mr. Monaghan and Mr. Healy. I hope the University is around in 4 years. I’m certain the faculty that was left high and dry in Michigan and those students hoped so too when they started.

    Rose-colored glasses sometimes get people burned.

  71. Mickey says:

    It is unfortunate that AMU will lose a very good staff member, but maybe God wills that he found another foundation elsewhere. Hopefully it is Canada :)

    Father Fessio, if you are reading this, come to Canada! Christ needs to be formed here from head to toe.

  72. Jim says:

    The idea of a pizza entrepreneur opening a university is as absurd as a university president going into the pizza business.

    Mr. Monaghan is rich enough that he doesn’t like anyone or anything that gets between him and his getting his way. Luckily for him, AMU is built on a money model……so he gets his way.

  73. wsxyz says:

    Joseph and Jordanes have beaten me to the punch. Just want nonsense are you spouting wsxyz?

    They may not be Catholic institutions, but Oxford and Cambridge have an excellent reputation for academic excellence and rigour.

    In other words – they are “top notch universities” because of their “excellent reputation” in the world, based on “objective criteria” of the world. So, as I supposed, they are considered “top notch” because of worldly acclaim, not because they provide an education grounded in divinely revealed truth.

    Of course I am well aware that Cambridge and Oxford enjoy reputations for excellence around the world, but I prefer not to bow to that golden calf. You gentlemen are acting as if the excellence of these universities is as certain as a dogma of the Church.

    Isn’t it just possible that what constitutes “academic excellence” and “a top notch university” is something quite different as measured by divine standards than the same as measured by “objective criteria” of our apostate and corrupt civilization?