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CSOL President Steps Down Due To Bullying By Director




By FITSNEWS  ||  Eight days after she took the job, new Charleston School of Law (CSOL) president Maryann Jones has resigned – citing the bullying tactics of the school’s minority director Ed Westbrook.

In an email obtained by FITSNews sent late Thursday to school leaders, Jones claimed she could no longer deal with the “level of vitriol” being directed at her by Westbrook, who has been working for months to sabotage the proposed sale of the school.

“It is with true regret that I inform you that I will not sign a contract to assume the presidency of CSOL,” Jones wrote in the email.  “I truly only wanted to help.”

Jones’ decision came in the wake of her receipt of a threatening letter from Westbrook – one in which he announced his intentions to publicly oppose her presidency unless she came out against the school’s proposed sale to InfiLaw.

Ironically, Westbrook voted last week to hire Jones.

“You are here on a short leash,” Westbrook snaps at Jones in the letter – likening her to a female dog.

Later in the letter Westbrook tells Jones “since you have seen fit to meet with faculty and students and give them your views without talking to me, I feel it incumbent upon me to let faculty and students know my position on your initial actions.”

One female CSOL student told FITS Westbrook’s comments had crossed the line.

“He basically called her a bitch,” the student said.

The student added Westbrook “is a bully” – one who “needs to be exposed.”

“Most people think he’s a saint,” the student said.  “I wish you could expose him and show the world he’s no white knight.”

Westbrook – as FITS readers will recall – has been working for months to sabotage the sale of CSOL to InfiLaw, a company which operates three other private law schools across the country.  His rumored goal?  To force the school into a position where one state lawmaker’s plan to subsidize the school with tax dollars can be revived.

Westbrook’s ongoing meddling – which includes the formation of a “non-profit” he says could run the school – is reportedly all about bringing CSOL to its knees financially so that a state takeover is the only option.

In fact, multiple state lawmakers with knowledge of the situation tell FITS they have been approached by Westbrook regarding the bailout plan.

In addition to his efforts in Charleston, Westbrook has also been stoking opposition to the CSOL-InfiLaw sale before the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE) – which has been blocking the school from receiving a license (in effect standing in the way of a private business transaction).

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: State government has no business blocking this sale, period.  A majority of CSOL’s owners have decided to sell the school to InfiLaw – and they should be allowed to do so.  Especially now that a key accreditation panel of the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved a request from the law school to transfer its licenses to InfiLaw, as FITS exclusively reported earlier this month.

“The ABA decision was a major defeat for Westbrook,” a source familiar with the ongoing drama tells FITS.  “That’s why he’s stepping up his efforts now –  more aggressively targeting anyone who doesn’t oppose the sale.”

In fact, some observers questioned whether Westbrook’s meddling to create a toxic environment at the school had breached his “care and loyalty” obligation as a director of the law school.

“He’s moving from permissible objections to actionable meddling,” the source said.

We agree …

For the good of taxpayers (to say nothing of the school and its students), Westbrook needs to stand down.