Image 01 Image 03

Widener Law School loses major donor over Connell case

Widener Law School loses major donor over Connell case

I posted on Saturday about Alumni Resignations at Widener Law School In Wake of Connell Case.

I noted that Widener had confirmed that “[a] member of the Board of Overseers for the School of Law and a member of the School of Law Campaign Subcommittee have stepped down from those roles for reasons that they have personally conveyed to President Harris and Dean Ammons.”  At that time, Widener did not identify the individuals who resigned, and declined to divulge the reasons or whether the resignations were in protest of the sanctions placed on law professor Lawrence Connell.

Now Widener has confirmed in an e-mail to me that one of the people who resigned was Capt. (Ret.) Robert P. Taishoff.  Widener still declines to identify the reasons given by Taishoff for resigning, but I have seen what is represented to be the text of his resignation communication and it is clear that the resignation was in protest of Dean Linda Ammons’ handling of the Connell case and the sanctions imposed on Connell.  Taishoff did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Taishoff is one of Widener Law School’s most prominent and generous alumni.  Taishoff is pictured here at a January 2011 Widener gala for its Campaign for Widener, of which he was Chair, which seeks to raise $12 million for the law school:

CAPT. Robert P. Taishoff told the crowd in Delaware that he is honored to serve as chair of the law school’s campaign committee. Taishoff earned his law degree from the Delaware campus in 1989, passed the bar exam and embarked on a highly successful career with the Navy JAG corps, from which he is now retired.

“I can’t think of a prouder way for me to give back to an institution that in many ways allowed me to be the person I have become,” he said.

While speaking, Taishoff noted the campaign was just $17,000 shy of reaching the $7 million mark in pledges and donations. When Law Dean Linda L. Ammons took the podium after Taishoff, she announced National Advisory Council member Alex Bratic had just stepped forward with a pledge to close that gap.

“We are well on our way and I am convinced more than ever before that $12 million is doable and will be done,” Ammons said

Taishoff, leads the Taishoff Family Foundation, which has been a major donor to both Syracuse University and Widener Law School.  In 2009, the Taishoff Family Foundation donated $1.2 million to Widener Law School, in support of the renamed Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute.  In connection with the Taishoff Institute, there is an endowed Taishoff Professor of Law position.

Taishoff was a member of Widener Law School’s National Advisory Council, and in connection with Widener Law School’s 35th anniversary celebration in 2010, was presented with the 2009 Alumnus of the Year Award:

The Alumnus of the Year Award was given to CAPT. Robert P. Taishoff ’89. The award is presented to an alumna or alumnus who, through service to her or his community or profession, or by honors received, service rendered or other accomplishments, has brought honor, recognition and distinction to the Widener University School of Law. Taishoff graduated from Widener’s Delaware campus. The retired Naval officer oversees the Taishoff Family Foundation, which committed a $1.2 million gift – the largest in the school’s history – to Widener Law in 2009. Taishoff is a member of the Dean’s National Advisory Council and annually speaks to Military Law Society students. He is also a strong supporter of the school’s Veterans Law Clinic.

If either Taishoff or Widener has any comment regarding the reasons for Taishoff’s resignation, I will let you know.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


[…] DEAN LINDA AMMONS’ DEBACLE CONTINUES: Widener Law School loses major donor over Connell case. […]

Organizational theory: Any organization of people must have a mechanism for removing individuals who do not contribute to the function of the organization, or actively attempt to disrupt or destroy the organization. Without such mechanism, when an individual or group within the organization threatens the underlying purpose of the organization, and they cannot be defeated, suborned, or otherwise deterred from their purpose, the organization will be destroyed, either by dissolution as the members go their separate ways, or by transformation as the members of the organization leave and reform into another organization that maintains the same or similar purpose.

In other words, Widener needs to have a Calvin or a Luther to trigger a Reformation before all their good teachers and donors leave, and all that is left is a diploma mill shell. (Not quite “Widener Delenda Est!”, but close)

Actions have consequences. Even for vicious, left-wing idiots.

I expect this brief foray into the real world will be unpleasant for Dean Ammons.

Subotai Bahadur | August 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Long ago, while working for the State, I propounded the theory that Gresham’s Law applied to Personnel as well as to money. For those who do not know it, Gresham’s Law is an economic axiom, “Bad money drives out good”; i.e., if you have say pre-1964 quarters made of silver in the marketplace, and the post-1964 clad quarters made of whatever, those who value the old ones with intrinsic value will take them out of circulation and all that will remain available will be the quarters with no intrinsic value.

There always will be a certain percentage of personnel who are wastes of protoplasm and an active menace to the goals of an organization. In 25 years as a first line supervisor, I fortunately had only two I had to take the lead in trying to get rid of. The first was blatantly abusive to his female officer colleagues. Fortunately, he was narcissistic enough that when we got to the first formal level he abandoned his post in a huff, assuming that we would beg him to come back. In our Department, that was one of the few acts sufficient to automatically process a termination. If he had not done so, and it had dragged on, I would have lost a number of excellent female officers from my shift to transfer.

The second case involved an officer who was transferred in and who was lazy, dangerous, and arguably deserved the attention of Internal Affairs. I spent a year and a half trying to get rid of him, and trying to placate my crew who flat wanted nothing to do with him. Every time it got up to the level of my Captain, it was shot down because the Captain did not want to take the political hit of admitting that he had someone like that in his unit.

By the end of the first year, I started losing good officers to transfer. They were replaced with the lop-eared duds being dumped from other units. And my unit started going downhill. After the year and a half was up, I transferred, myself, to a position with the same substantive rank, but more authority and responsibility at the request of the Captain of that unit.

Eventually, the same dynamic will play out at Widener. No, they will not run out of staff. The job market in law and academe has too many desperate unemployed candidates for that. But the good people will leave and be replaced with … lesser lights. And as their reputation spreads, eventually they will not get any more good applicants.

Subotai Bahadur

    WarEagle82 in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | August 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Stupid people make make stupid decisions. Ideologues make ideological decisions. Stupid ideologues make stupid, ideological decisions.

    “Bad people drive out good.” And I have a box full of old quarters and dimes with silver content. I save them every time I find one…

Dean Dopey has to be told to reinstate the professor and not to pull any of this nonsense in the future. She already has proven she is not qualified to be a Dean. It will be interesting how this will continue to play out and how long Widener Law School will keep this affirmative action individual in this position.

[…] WIlliam Jacobson has the story here, although right now the details remain vague. As I read Jacobson’s post, we know three things: […]

It doesn’t really pay to have thin skin, no matter what color it is.

[…] at Legal Insurrection, Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson has been providing updates on the outcry against Widener University School of Law (Delaware) and its dean, Linda Ammons. The […]

[…] at Legal Insurrection, Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson has been providing updates on the outcry against Widener University School of Law (Delaware) and its dean, Linda Ammons. The […]

[…] dean’s treatment of law professor Lawrence Connell, after legal blogger William A. Jacobson reported that Capt. (Ret.) Robert P. Taishoff had resigned as chair of the law school’s National […]