Father Joseph Fessio is apparently now staying at Ave Maria University, but not in the same capacity. Here is the text of an email sent out to the AMU community this afternoon.
From: Nick Healy
Sent: Thu 3/22/2007 6:22 PM
To: Fla-Faculty; Fla-Staff; FLA-Students
Subject: Father Fessio – update
We expressed yesterday that the separation of Father Fessio from the University’s administration had nothing to do with our shared commitment to our mission as a Catholic university ex corde ecclesiae. As a sign of our esteem for his great gifts and abilities, we have asked Father Fessio and he has agreed to continue a relationship with us. This will include the following:
(i) He will be designated a theologian in residence and maintain a room on campus.
(ii) He will join us for the Commencement exercises.
(iii) He will teach the planned summer program for high school students.
(iv) He will explore a semester abroad program in Rome and how our Austrian semester abroad program might be continued. It is expected that in developing plans for study abroad programs Father Fessio will be spending a significant amount of time in Europe.
(v) It is anticipated that beginning in the spring semester, Father Fessio will assume teaching responsibilities at AMU, although the precise schedule for the teaching hours will need to be worked out.
We are pleased that we can confirm the continuing association with Father Fessio and his commitment to the ongoing development of Ave Maria University in a non-administrative capacity.
So he will be staying on in a reduced capacity and will be “spending a significant amount of time in Europe.” Sorry, but it smacks of crisis control. The administration evidently did not anticipate the amount of emotion and angst that dismissing Fr. Fessio would have on students, parents, and benefactors of the university and now they’re scrambling.
I can understand the pleasure some are feeling, but I can’t help but think that Father will remain marginalized at the school, stripped of the influence he had. It doesn’t seem to solve anything.