Law Schools

DePaul Dean Is Removed, Cites Letter to ABA as Reason

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Updated: DePaul University College of Law has removed its law school dean, after seven years on the job, because he and the law school’s administration were no longer working in synch, a DePaul law school spokeswoman says.

Glen Weissenberger, who is now in his mid-60s, remains a tenured faculty member at the Chicago law school. His removal comes in the middle of a five-year reappointment to the position, which took effect on July 1, 2007, according to his faculty profile on the law school’s website. No replacement has yet been named.

Weissenberger’s removal as dean, which occurred yesterday, “was a decision that was made after long and careful thought and consideration,” spokeswoman Valerie Phillips tells the ABA Journal.

“Provost Helmut Epp has praised all the college of law has accomplished under Glen’s leadership,” Phillips says, “but he noted that the working relationship between the dean and the administration had deteriorated to the point where it had become difficult to accomplish the college’s work.”

Weissenberger didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But in a letter he sent to faculty, quoted in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, he said “I want to assure you that I was not terminated for any wrongdoing of any kind. My termination was based specifically on a letter I sent to the ABA supplementing information which the ABA already received.”

In the letter, posted on the Legal Writing Prof Blog, he says financial information about the relationship of the law school to the university that he provided to the ABA Accreditation Committee is no longer accurate. ABA Consultant on Legal Education Hulett H. Askew declined to comment to the ABA Journal, citing the confidentiality of the Accreditation Committee’s work.

But Denise Mattson, a spokeswoman for the university, told Law Blog that the decision about Weissenberger’s status was made before the letter was sent. “The relationship between the administration and [Weissenberger] had deteriorated to a point that had become unworkable,” she said.

Patrick Tran, who is president of the law school’s student bar association, has posted a letter and petition on the Internet, calling for Weissenberger’s reinstatement as dean. Within three hours, 200 faculty, alumni and students signed, crashing the server, he tells the Chicago Tribune.

A 2007 profile in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin notes that significant changes for the better have occurred during Weissenberger’s time at DePaul. They include a stronger applicant pool, increased charitable donations and a 15-percentage-point gain in the bar pass rate for law school graduates.

Before joining DePaul, Weissenberger was a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati Law School for 27 years.

Additional coverage: “Faculty Protest DePaul Dean’s Ouster; Ill. Appeals Judge Named as Replacement”

Above the Law: “DePaul College of Law Dean Ousted”

Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports: “DePaul Provost Ousts Law Dean Without Consulting Faculty, Plans to Appoint an Outsider as Interim Dean”

Legal Writing Prof Blog: UNBELIEVABLE!!! DePaul University FIRES Its Law School Dean for Reporting Truthful Information to the ABA!!!

Last updated on June 22 to include additional information about Weissenberger’s letter and link to subsequent post.

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