Read the letter from the UB president

August 01, 2011

To UB Law Faculty and Staff,

This e-mail is in response to the major issues raised in relation to the resignation of University of Baltimore School of Law Dean Philip Closius. I welcome the opportunity to clarify the misleading and incomplete characterization of the University's relationship to the School of Law that unfortunately resulted from Mr. Closius' public statements.

The decision to seek new leadership for the UB School of Law involved considerable thought around multiple issues during an extended period of time. The ultimate decision was not about financial matters. Although management of University finances was one area of conflict between Mr. Closius and the University, it was not the only area of conflict. I am unable to discuss confidential personnel matters, and unfortunately I cannot provide full details concerning this matter. I can assure you that, based upon many conversations during the past few months, including conversations the provost and I had with approximately a dozen senior law faculty members, select alumni and UB Foundation officials, the overwhelming conclusion was that a change in leadership was in the best interests of the School of Law and the University of Baltimore..

Mr. Closius raised a number of issues in his e-mail to law faculty, staff and students, which he also chose to release to the local and national press. I will address the major, substantive issues below. Please know that I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with the law faculty and staff to answer any questions that may remain.

University and Law School Finances

Mr. Closius' central complaint is that the University withheld 45 percent of the School of Law's revenue in the past academic year. In fact, in 2010, the year cited in the recent ABA site visit report, the University retained 13.7 percent of law revenue centrally, after allocating costs related to the law school's regular operation.

Using the 2010 data referenced in the ABA report, 42 percent of law school revenue was retained centrally in 2010 prior to the allocation of general operating costs. The law school's operating costs for 2010 – all expenses attributable to the School's operation that are routinely absorbed centrally, including those related to basic functions such as human resources, technology, heat, light, security, etc. – amounted to approximately $9.97 million. After these costs are allocated for 2010, the School of Law had 13.7 percent of its revenues retained centrally. UB's 13.7 percentage is well below the 20–25 percent national law school average cited in the School of Law's 2010 self-study report, is considerably below the 25–30 percent referenced by Mr. Closius from a recent New York Times article, and represents the lowest percentage among UB's schools and colleges.

Mr. Closius asserts that the UB administration did not provide accurate, transparent financial data regarding central University budgets and the law school allocation. All University budgets are matters of public record and are reported in the state's budget book. The University's internal budget process is open and participatory, with allocations published on the community's Web portal.

To address Mr. Closius' continued requests for budget clarification, I held an open meeting for law faculty early in the spring 2011 semester, accompanied by the provost and the senior vice president of Administration and Finance. At this meeting, I specifically stated that Mr. Closius' assertion that the University withheld more than 40 percent of the law school's revenue was incomplete and misleading because it did not take into account the School's indirect costs, expenses necessary to operate a law school.

After this presentation, Mr. Closius continued to assert that there has been no rationale or explanation of internal allocations. Because Closius shared this concern with the ABA site visit team, the recent ABA Accreditation Committee report requests that I and the law dean submit a report by March 2012 outlining our budget rationale and cost allocation. I look forward to submitting that report, as I am confident that it will address this issue definitively and satisfactorily. I will enter into a similar dialogue with the interim law dean, the law school's assistant dean of finance, and a representative of the law faculty to achieve agreement and understanding that was not possible during Mr. Closius' tenure. It should be noted that both the ABA and AALS review team reports state that the School of Law has sufficient funding to fulfill its educational mission.

Funding of the School of Law as a University Priority

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.