DePaul planned for more than a month to remove law dean

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • June 22, 2009 @ 3:00 PM

DePaul officials had been plotting for more than a month to remove Glen Weissenberger, the dean of the College of Law, a spokeswoman said today.

Weissenerger was unseated as dean late Thursday. But DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider and Provost Helmut Epp approached his replacement, state appellate court Judge Warren Wolfson, a month ago.

DePaul announced Wolfson as the new dean in a news release today.

“The relationship between the dean and the top administrators had been deteriorating for some time,” university spokeswoman Denise Mattson says. But she declined to provide specifics about the problems, citing personnel matters. “During the spring, the president and the provost made plans for a replacement.”

Glen Weissenberger. Credit: DePaul University

That contrasts sharply with what Weissenberger said in an e-mail to faculty after his removal. Weissenberger said he was removed from the dean’s post for sending a letter to the American Bar Association last Tuesday related to how DePaul and the law school split tuition money.

Mattson says that had nothing to do with it, and that the decision had already been made. Weissenberger, who did not return a call seeking comment today, will retain his tenured faculty post at the law school.

While Weissenberger’s dean profile page on DePaul’s Web site has been taken down, an archived version remains in Google’s system. That version lauds Weissenberger for improving the caliber of the law school’s applicants since taking over as dean in 2002. And it points out that since 2006, thanks to Weissenberger, the law school now places in the “top 100” tier in national rankings.

In response to Wolfson’s appointment, one of the associate deans at the College of Law resigned today. Stephen Siegel says he did it in protest of a process that excluded faculty from being involved in picking an interim replacement, he says.

“It is damaging enough to lose Glen as our dean, and the problems are multiplied by the process by which the interim appointment is made,” Siegel says. He will remain as a member of the law college’s faculty.

“I’ve heard from many, many faculty members and they all are very upset, both about Dean Weissenberger’s removal and the process,” Siegel says.

With the College of Law out of session for the summer, other professors and students could not be reached.

Mattson would not say why faculty weren’t involved in picking Wolfson, who will serve a two-year interim term.

“What we’ll do is we have a prescribed process for a search for a dean and the faculty will be fully involved in that,” Mattson says.

Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.