Law school dean blasts St. Louis University in resignation letter

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by KMOV.com Staff / AP

KMOV.com

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 4:59 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com)  -- The dean of St. Louis University’s law school is resigning amid disputes with the school’s president.

The resignation comes after only one year on the job. Annette Clark sent the letter Wednesday to Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the university’s president.

Her resignation letter accuses SLU’s president of transferring money from law school funds without telling her, and putting that money into to his discretionary fund.

She also specifically expresses frustration over how the school handled a decision to move the law school to a vacant building downtown.

The former law school dean says SLU’s president decided to move to the downtown building without talking to the law school leadership, and "wthout adequate investigation of its suitability."

Earlier this year, SLU announced the law school would relocate downtown this fall. Later, SLU delayed the move saying more renovations were needed.

Clark wrote in her resignation letter that key decisions were made without her input.

She says Biondi broke a promise to faculty by taking $260,000 from research stipends and moving it to his discretionary fund; And taking another $800,000 out of the law school building fund.

Clark wrote she doesn’t have confidence in Father Biondi’s committment to the law school.

The incident has current students concerned. Cadance Ruocco, current president of the Student Bar Association, says she will be paying attention to make sure the law school is protected.

“In lightof the new circumstances and information we’re learning, we do want to make sure things do continue to be taken care of and the law school does gt the attention that we deserve," she said.

And recent degree holders are also worried.

"It could potentially hurt the value of the degree we’ve invested a lot of time and money to go to schol at SLU," said recent graduate Chris Jones. "We hope the school continues to honor thier committment to the students graduates and the faculty."

Father Biondi wrote a letter addressing the incident, saying that he planned to remove Clark as dean anyway.

He wrote that he’s already appointed a new dean for this school year, and says he’s committed to the downtown project.

In the letter, Clark writes that she plans to remain a tenured professor at SLU in the immediate future, noting it is her “contractual right.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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