fb-pixel Skip to main content

Former US senator Scott Brown, who has led New England Law Boston since January, announced his resignation from the law school Wednesday and said he would re-engage in the political arena.

“I am writing to you today to inform you of my decision to resign my positions as President, CEO and Dean of the Faculty of New England Law | Boston, effective immediately,” the Republican said in a letter to the chair of the law school’s board.

Brown, who served as US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from 2017 until December of last year, said in the letter, obtained by the Globe, that “it has become clear that my vision for the future of NELB differs with that of the Board of Directors.”

Advertisement



Brown said that in the months ahead he looks forward “to re-engaging in the political arena in support of candidates and causes who share my vision of re-building the Republican Party and moving our country beyond the partisan gridlock — goals that were incompatible with my role as the leader of a non-partisan academic institution.”

Jennifer Kelly, a spokeswoman for the school, declined to comment.

In a message to the school, the board chair, Diana L. Wheeler, shared the news of Brown’s resignation.

“Dean Brown brought energy and enthusiasm to the job. He became dean and ran the school during an extremely difficult time for institutions of higher education,” she said. “The Board appreciates all that he has done for our school and admires his life-long commitment to public service as a United States Senator and Ambassador.”

Brown, a Rye, N.H., resident, does not plan to run for political office in the 2022 cycle but wants to support candidates who could break through partisanship, according to a source close to Brown.

A former Wrentham resident, Brown won an upset Senate victory over Martha Coakley in 2010 and lost to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. After moving to New Hampshire, he fell short in a 2014 run against Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Advertisement



He remained politically active, hosting backyard barbecues with the GOP candidates running for president before endorsing Donald Trump a week before the 2016 New Hampshire primary.

After Trump’s victory, he pitched himself as the “best person” to be secretary of veterans affairs, but the president picked someone else.

Trump later nominated Brown as US ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa. In June 2017, he was confirmed by the Senate, 94 to 4. (Warren and Shaheen both backed their one-time rival.)

Once in New Zealand, he traveled the country. He glad-handed mayors and their constituents, introduced himself to chambers of commerce, and connected with Kiwis over rock music and rugby, biking and beer. He spent years attempting to parry their concerns about Trump.

His ties to Trump drew scrutiny back in the United States, too. In November 2019, after he and New England Law announced he would take the reins of the school, many students signed a petition demanding the school’s board of trustees reverse its decision to appoint him.

“Ambassador Brown cannot serve as the Dean of New England Law Boston when his political and moral beliefs are so repugnant to those of the student body and the legal institution itself,” the petition said.

The school stood by him and Brown said at the time he hoped when he got there everyone would give him a fair shot.

Advertisement



In May of this year, he wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe calling for Republicans on Capitol Hill to support a bipartisan commission to look into the events of Jan. 6.

“The healing process starts with an independent, bipartisan commission to uncover the facts,” he wrote.

Brown didn’t announce any specific political plans Wednesday.

The source close to him pointed out that a federal political action committee associated with Brown — Strong Country for Today and Tomorrow (SCOTTPAC) — remains active.

The 61-year-old, who took up the guitar after losing to Warren and frequently deployed musical diplomacy in New Zealand, declined a Globe interview request. He said he is getting ready to tour with his band.

The US Embassy's 2020 Independence Day party in New Zealand. Scott Brown says he played several songs at the event.
The US Embassy's 2020 Independence Day party in New Zealand. Scott Brown says he played several songs at the event.

Previous Globe coverage was used in this report.


Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.