Duquesne law school dean ousted
Share with others:
Without saying why, Duquesne University today announced its law school dean since 2005, Don Guter, is out, and the dean said he was given no explanation.
A statement issued by the university said Ken Gormley would serve as interim dean. The statement said only that Mr. Guter, a former Navy judge advocate general, would remain on the faculty.
During Mr. Guter's tenure, the law school has seen gains in a number of indicators including its bar-passage rate, which rose to 97 percent from 68 percent. But there have also been tensions between the law school and university President Charles Dougherty, including the president's initial refusal to grant tenure to professor John Rago despite a favorable faculty vote and backing of the dean.
The president's refusal sparked a student protest before Dr. Dougherty reversed couse and granted Mr. Rago tenure.
Reached today, Mr. Guter said he was given without explanation the option to resign in 24 hours or be removed.
"My reaction to this is shock. The school -- really by a lot of people's accounts, not just mine -- has never been in better shape," he said.
Bruce Ledewitz, a law school faculty member since 1980, called the move by the university unimaginable.
"This is an appalling decision. It shows that performance means nothing at Duquesne," Mr. Ledewitz said. "All that matters is if President Dougherty personally likes you."
A retired rear admiral, Mr. Guter, 60, became dean of the law school on Aug. 1 2005.
A Latrobe native, he is known largely for a career in the Navy that began in 1970. Between 1977 and 2000, he served as deputy judge advocate general and commander of the Naval Legal Service Command. He also headed the Naval Justice School.
In 2000, he became the Navy's 37th judge advocate general, a position in which he advised the secretary of the Navy, chief of naval operations and other top government leaders on legal issues. He oversaw 1,800 active duty, reserve and civilian lawyers as well as 1,000 paralegals.
First Published December 10, 2008 2:46 pm