Only eight days after the school announced she would be taking the helm, the Charleston School of Law’s incoming president has said she wants no part in the “vitriol” at the struggling school.
Maryann Jones had been announced as the private law school’s new leader just last week.
Several area media outlets reported that Jones sent an email to CSOL’s co-owners Robert Carr and George Kosko saying that she would not sign a contract with the school.
CSOL’s leaders have spent more than a year attempting to sell the school to InfiLaw System, which owns three other for-profit law schools around the country. The sale has been strongly criticized by alumni and faculty, who claim InfiLaw is a diploma mill with lower academic standards. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has pushed to delay the acquisition, while the American Bar Association has allowed it.
In her email, which was also sent to Dean Andy Abrams, Jones said she did not want to enter an environment that she considered toxic.
“I truly only wanted to help,” the email stated. “The level of vitriol, with all sides making me a lightning rod for an unfortunate situation that was not of my making, makes this truly a situation that I am unwilling at this stage of my life to undertake.”
Carr and Kosko are pushing the sale, while a third co-owner Ed Westbrook is hoping to create a nonprofit that would instead take over the school and all three initially supported her hiring. But the Charleston Post & Courier reported Westbrook had sent Jones a heated letter accusing her her of supporting the InfiLaw purchase when she had promised to be objective.
Jones had previously served as dean emerita of Western State University College of Law in California.