The world of academia is obviously too stuffy and square for Tom Keefe, interim dean of the law school at Saint Louis University.
Keefe has resigned, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The highly successful trial lawyer with no prior experience managing in any academic environment had taken the temporary post in August.
He said he wasn’t pressured to step down, but he readily admitted that certain statements he has uttered have made him appear ill-fitted for the job.
What were those statements? Well, at the outset of his brief tenure, Keefe used an unfortunate term to describe the autonomy he would exercise as interim dean.
Specifically, he asked: “Does that sound like somebody who is Father Biondi’s butt boy?” in an interview last year with Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly.
A “butt boy” is “a servile underling” and “literally a sexual boy toy who belongs to an older man,” according to UrbanDictionary.com.
Father Biondi would be Lawrence Biondi, S.J., the Jesuit university’s president.
“In the beginning I gave an interview and I stuck my foot in my mouth, and I’ve been sticking my foot in my mouth ever since,” Keefe said Monday, according to the Post-Dispatch. “I’m 60 years old and I’m going to say what I’m going to say.”
“The problem is I’m just too politically incorrect to be a dean,” he added.
The inestimable law blogger Paul L. Caron, sole proprietor of TaxProf Blog, has helpfully collected Keefe’s most quotable quotes and nuggets of wisdom.
“Life is a bitch. If it was easy, we would call it a slut,” the interim dean apparently said.
“I’ve been drunker than ten big Indians,” is another priceless gem.
Keefe also had a proclivity for making proclamations that seemed to paint the use of marijuana in an especially positive light.
“Pot’s gotten a lot better than when I was in law school,” he supposedly said.
“There is beer and wine available — light snacks — and ganja for our younger faculty and the old hippies,” is another of Keefe’s alleged remarks.
“Deans are not supposed to say they smoked pot,” Keefe said in retrospect, according to KMOV, the local CBS affiliate. “I say all kinds of things like that, that are stupid.”
In still another incident, Keefe reportedly asked a female law student if she was “wearing any panties” at a school meeting. He also inquired whether another female would be “getting stuffed” at the barrister’s ball (more or less the law school prom).
Keefe doesn’t deny making that comment or any other ones.
“Chances are, the size of my mouth, I might as well have said all of them,” Keefe told the Post-Dispatch.
Somewhat ironically, Keefe was appointed to the post of interim dean when the Saint Louis U. law school was itself under a cloud of controversy. He occupied the position on the same day former dean Annette Clark quit over a row with President Biondi.
Michael Wolff, a current professor at the law school, will now become the new dean, reports the Riverfront Times.
Keefe will likely stay on as a member of the board of trustees.