IT'S NOT WHAT YOU SAY, BUT WHAT IS
A Response to Dr. Andrew Messaros

January 2005By Joseph Fessio

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., is Provost of Ave Maria University, Trustee of Ave Maria College, and Editor of Ignatius Press.

It is wearying to have to respond again to Dr. Andrew Messaros’s grapeshot of false charges against the leadership of Ave Maria University (“Nick Healy’s Impending Educational Disaster,” Nov.), interlaced with no small amount of whining and petty criticism. We do so for the sake of those who have invested much hope and even financial resources in a new Catholic university in south Florida.

We begin with the loaded “question” posed by Messaros, “Does AMC Michigan’s biggest financial contributor have the moral and legal right to run all aspects of the College, then use his influence to take away the College’s assets, give them to another institution, and shut down the campus?”

Note how much of the “question” really is a series of conclusions for which no evidence is cited. Expecting a correct answer from false premises is a logical fallacy.

Since Messaros is an educated person, his failure to comprehend the actual facts of the case must be willful. As Nicholas Healy noted in his response (Oct.) to Messaros’s original attack (Sept.), the College in Michigan, through its Board of Trustees, determined to relocate the institution to Florida. As also noted, the legal basis and prudential reasons for this are well established, and Messaros offers no rebuttal. Instead, he simply makes reckless charges that Mr. Monaghan ran “all aspects of the College” as his “personal private investment,” a “tax shelter,” and “business” (Nov.).

Messaros worries that the historical and financial facts will “obfuscate” his charge of impropriety. Yes, how inconvenient for him that the “details of resolutions, dates, contracts and licenses” fully support the Board decisions made over two years and not his accusations. One would think that a scientist would be concerned precisely about detailed facts; but Messaros will brook no fact if it might undermine his private judgment of a wrong done.


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