Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SLU: Father Biondi Says "We Share a Common Goal," Amid Renewed Calls for His Resignation

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM

click to enlarge Past protest of Biondi. - VIA FACEBOOK

In a lengthy response to a string of controversies and negative media coverage over the last two weeks, Father Lawrence Biondi, the embattled president of Saint Louis University, sent out a campus-wide message defending his recent actions and saying, "We cannot forget that we share a common goal."

The number one goal, however, of the faculty and students who are protesting on campus right now is that Biondi step down -- immediately.

In his message, which was sent out yesterday to faculty and students, Biondi says, "As I have stated before, I believe that if we can all work together collaboratively, I am confident we will move forward in the best interest of OUR University." And the university, in a written response to today's demonstration, says that the march is a "counterproductive effort" and an "unwarranted attack" perpetuated by a "small group determined to undermine the leadership of Father Biondi."

Students and faculty staged a protest for this afternoon after a series of events that critics say have only increased pressure on Biondi to step down.

Most recently, the president of the faculty senate criticized Biondi and the chairman of the board of trustees for announcing last-minute that they would not be attending a much anticipated final faculty senate meeting of the year. The university offered a response, which we published in full, arguing that the board of trustees is focused on finding a new chair and continuing to review a "university climate survey" and thus could not attend as originally planned. The trustees' executive committee is looking to reschedule, the university said in its statement, which also characterized the criticisms as a "personal attack against Father Biondi" and "disrespectful."

click to enlarge Father Lawrence Biondi. - VIA SLU.EDU
  • via
  • Father Lawrence Biondi.

Since an overwhelming faculty vote of no-confidence in Biondi last year, the president has fought off a wave of controversies and resignations in protest of him.

Part of the recent complaints -- exacerbated by a dispute at a student government meeting -- is that he is refusing to even acknowledge the dissent.

"His decision not to attend the faculty senate meeting has really riled people up," Paul Lynch, an English professor who is out protesting this afternoon, tells Daily RFT by phone. "How can he lead us if he refuses to talk to us?"

He adds, "We would like to see the board of trustees announce after their meeting on Saturday that Father Biondi is retiring. We are really hoping...that they see the writing on the wall."

Of the president's latest message, Lynch adds, "He just doubles down."

A university statement sent to Daily RFT this afternoon, says, in part:

As demonstrated by today's gathering, these individuals were not hindered in their right to voice their opinions; just as the University has the right to say that this is all being done for show and to further this small group's narrow agenda.

The fact is, the University is moving forward in many positive ways, and there are collaborative efforts taking place all across campus to ensure that SLU continues to provide its students with the best educational experience possible....

It should be noted that the vast majority of the Saint Louis University community did not participate in this staged event. SLU is a community of 20,000 students, faculty and staff, and the overwhelming majority of these individuals are attending classes and doing their jobs today.

Continue for more on the protest and the full message from the president and university response.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation