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SLU Law School's Dean Annette Clark resigns, according to letter

5:30 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - NewsChannel 5 received several copies of a letter from the dean of St. Louis University's Law School announcing her resignation.

A letter from Dean Annette Clark was addressed to the faculty and staff, and in it she sited many reasons for her immediate resignation.

In this letter, Clark explains that her lack of confidence in the leadership skills of the school's administration attributed a great deal to her decision to resign.

Clark also sent a scathing letter to SLU's president, Father Lawrence Biondi, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Manoj Patankar, in which she specifically addressed actions allegedly made by Father Biondi that she disagreed with.

Those alleged actions were outlined in Clark's letter to Father Biondi, as follows:

  • "You transferred over $800,000 from the law school building fund to the President's Opportunity Fund on the final day of Sandy Johnson's interim deanship without her
    knowledge and counter to her understanding of your agreement regarding how her compensation and that summer's research stipends would be funded, and without notice to me as I took over the deanship;
  • "You acquired the building downtown and deemed it to be the new law school building without adequate investigation of its suitability and without any notice or consultation with the law school leadership;
  • "You refused to meet with the ABA/AALS reaccreditation site team; 
  • "You forbade the law school to fund summer research stipends out of the operating budget after the faculty and I followed the process the vice president assured me you had approved; and
  • "You unilaterally transferred $260,000 from the law school annual fund for summer research stipends to your own discretionary fund in contravention of your express agreement to my colleagues and to me that the 2012 summer research stipends would be funded from the law school operating budget."

Both the resignation letter from Clark to the staff and the letter from Clark to Father Biondi are attached to this article in their entirety.

Father Biondi responded to Clarks letter in a special message to faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon.

In his letter, Father Biondi says that he and Vice President Patankar were scheduled to meet with Clark at 11 a.m., and it was their intention to terminate Clark as dean of the law school. Instead of meeting with them, she sent out a letter of resignation.

Father Biondi says, "I strongly disagree with many of her interpretations of the facts. Moreover, her assertion of a lack of support for the law school could not be further from the truth."

The letter sent from Father Biondi is also attached to this article in its entirety.

The University says they have no further comments beyond Father Biondi's message, except to say that this change in leadership will not affect SLU's plans to move its law school into downtown St. Louis.

Mr. Thomas Q Keefe of Belleville is to assume the responsibilities of the dean and Clark will return to the faculty, effective immediately.

Annette Clark was appointed dean of the law school on July 1, 2011.


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