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
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