Letters to the Editor

Karen Lucy

To the Editor:
I graduated from St. Louis University in May with a degree in theology. It is about time someone told the entire Biondi story! This man does not care one bit about the students for whom this university exists. I say that with firsthand knowledge. Walking to campus from parking one morning (on a crosswalk during a red light, mind you) I looked up to see a black Lexus coming toward me. It stopped about 2 feet short of hitting me! When I looked to the driver of the car for an apology, I immediately recognized Father Biondi. Needless to say, I received no apology, only a sour look as if to say that I had gotten in his way!

The students are not asking for much. All they want is respect, a chance to be involved in the decisions which affect them. The university, contrary to popular belief, is not a business. It is an institution which functions or should function in service to education and the Catholic Church.

Rebecca Bowie

To the Editor:
I can't quite figure out what this article is about. Is it an expose about a priest who drives a Lexus? Boy, that's some real dirt! Look at the registration of that Lexus; I'll bet it belongs to St. Louis University.

Could there be some salacious innuendo about a priest who sleeps in a house by himself? Wow, big news! Better call the archbishop to have him warn all his parish priests sleeping in those parish houses by themselves to be on guard, because the RFT is watching.

Then there is the golf cart. This is scandalous stuff about a guy who is too lazy to walk but not too lazy to work 18-hour days to help put St. Louis on the map again.

The final blow to Father Biondi's reputation is giving his dog an Italian name. Certainly a condemning point because, after all, it is un-American to give anything a foreign name. When all else fails, fall back on xenophobia.

This is all cat food. Stick to the issues that matter. This picky bit of journalistic trash writing does not meet the standards to which I have known Ray Hartmann and the RFT to aspire.

Anna Forder

To the Editor:
Your article on Father Lawrence Biondi captures the essence of St. Louis: Let's attack anyone who challenges us to be world-class and causes us to change how we've always done things. Perhaps this very attribute is the reason that most of the corporate headquarters have moved (or been moved) out of St. Louis and why there have been 17 "plans" for downtown and no tangible progress.

It is interesting that the unnamed critics quoted in the article are attacking the style and personality of Father Biondi. There is obviously no quarrel with the magnitude of achievement that has occurred under his leadership. His ability to understand the "business" side of higher education is precisely what has led to increased salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, a significantly improved physical environment, and resources to pour into scholarships and student facilities. These critics might be more comfortable in a university that strives to be mediocre, where they are not challenged to be the best and deliver the best programs for the students.

I am very proud to be the parent of a student at St. Louis University who is receiving an excellent education both in and outside the classroom. And, yes, I am also one of the "unqualified administrators" (with only 25 years of experience in my field and an advanced degree). Believe me, I have told Larry Biondi many things that he has not wanted to hear. I do not fear for my job as long as I do it well and always keep the interests of St. Louis University higher than self-interest.

It has been a privilege to be part of the magnificent renaissance occurring at St. Louis University under Father Biondi's leadership, which builds upon the legacy of the other great Jesuit presidents.

Kathy Hagedorn

FEEDING FRENZY

To the Editor:
I thoroughly enjoyed Jill Posey-Smith's lusty decapitation of Romo's in the June 2 issue ("Civilization and Its Discontents"). It's refreshing to read a restaurant review that is not merely a congratulatory slap on the back with the usual perfunctory, placid admonitions for improvement. I'm surprised by the petty indignation expressed by some readers. Contrary to what they seem to think, a restaurant review need not be a humdrum, one-dimensional treatment of whether the ice cubes were cold enough. Cooking can be a highly detailed, creative process requiring imagination and intelligence. It's unfair to take after a food writer who invests her work with those same qualities. I'm looking forward to more of her informative and engaging views.

Christian S. Saller

To the Editor:
Many St. Louisans frequent Soulard not only for Mardi Gras but also for the nice taverns and restaurants that add to Soulard's flavor. I was shocked to see an article bashing one of the latest additions to Soulard, Romo's, by the RFT, a paper known for its advocacy of the city and especially Soulard. My shock dissipated while my horror increased once I realized that the food critic had no business in that position, due to her admitted lack of taste, love of the irrelevant, obvious agenda and strident bad attitude.

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