Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Embattled St. Louis University President Seeks to Work with Faculty

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that after receiving a faculty council vote of no confidence last October, and a faculty group’s call for his dismissal in December, Father Lawrence Biondi, president of St. Louis University has written a 20-page letter responding to his critics promising to cooperate with them.

Father Biondi said that the Jesuit university is setting aside money for a 5.5 percent salary increase for faculty and staff, and also spoke about efforts to expand the role of faculty in campus governance.

 “To those of you who have been critical of my leadership, I have listened. While I do not agree with everything that has been said, my reflection leads me to see that it can’t be business as usual going forward,” said Father Biondi. “I am committed to being part of the solution; to working more closely with those around our campus who say that their voices are not being heard.”

Father Biondi received a series of no-confidence votes after supporting the former vice president of academic affairs’ proposal to change employee evaluations and tenure rules.

Theology professor, James Ginther, said that while he was pleased to see the conciliatory tone of the president’s letter, the faculty still desires a change in leadership.

“It’s encouraging, but we’re not there yet,” said Ginther. “The ultimate goal is to have a new president.”

The university’s Board of Trustees has continued to support the president.In protest of the Board’s lack of action, the university’s theology department chair, Jay Hammond, resigned. In support of Hammond, the theology department has decided not to fill the vacant post.

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