The Charleston School of Law Alumni Board joins the CSOL community in being shocked and dismayed by the unapologetic decision by George Kosko and Robert Carr, the school’s remaining directors, to fire seven of the school’s most respected tenured faculty members.
While it has been clear throughout this ordeal that faculty dissension and disagreement with the decision to sell the school to Infilaw was tacitly forbidden, the Alumni Board — like current students — did not expect the remaining Founders to so capriciously violate the tenets of tenure. Many of these professors have been with the school since the very beginning, having given up other careers in order to join a school that promised strong core values and a new way of teaching the law.
These faculty firings come on the heels of an announcement that the school will enroll a 2015-16 class. While many current and prospective students are likely heartened by the news there will be a new class, the recent firings of the CSOL7 call into question the wisdom of such a plan.
Throughout this Spring, Infilaw has publicly and repeatedly stated it has no intention of trying to obtain a permit to run CSOL. Certainly, a company that trains attorneys would not spread falsehoods nor misrepresent itself. Friday’s news that the school would enroll a 2015-16 class, therefore, suggests that Mr. Carr and Mr. Kosko have determined the current school structure is viable or that they have found another purchaser or successor entity.
So far, Mr. Carr and Mr. Kosko have refused to sell or give the school to any entity other than Infilaw, a company motivated by profit, not principle. At a meeting of the faculty earlier this month, Carr and Kosko warned faculty and students that unless they pledged fealty to Infilaw, the school would not enroll a new class in fall. Clearly, the faculty have refused to support the Infilaw sale. Thus, the Alumni Board is hopeful that Mr. Carr and Mr. Kosko have changed course and now have agreed to consider selling or donating the school to one of the nonprofit operations that has attempted to provide a safe landing pad.
Of course, the continuing uncertainty over CSOL’s future and Friday’s firing of seven respected and tenured faculty will only further depress enrollment of quality students. Make no mistake: Any complaints of declining enrollments made by the school’s controlling owners is entirely a decline of their own making. They created this unfortunate situation. And they continue to have the power to correct it.
The recent faculty firings are, apparently, based on claims of financial distress. These are claims that must be supported by facts and figures. These facts and figures must be subject to review by the watchdog organizations that license and accredit law schools. The Alumni Association will, in the coming days, be reaching out to the ABA and the CHE to ensure that all appropriate oversight of these actions is being made. We encourage all alumni to reach out to the recently terminated faculty members to share recollections and appreciations of their matchless contributions to our community.