History of the recent crisis with VP Academic Affairs Manoj Patankar and President Fr. Lawrence Biondi Responses to SLU-AAUP Supplemental Survey Faculty Senate document repository is here (most of the same documents are here, but the Faculty Senate site is thematically organized, instead of being chronological). Another source of news: SLU Students for No Confidence.
Aug. 22: release of VPAA Proposals from Faculty Senate Executive Committee to Faculty Senators
Here are relevant sections--III.I.1, III.I.5--of the Faculty Manual regarding tenured faculty
Aug. 30 subscribers-only article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Statement by AAUP on Post-Tenure Review
Aug. 31 article in Post-Dispatch:
Sept. 1: Faculty Senate Executive Committee polls Senators on statement condemning the Proposals
Sept. 4: VPAA issues letter to faculty, taking note of controversy and requesting feedback
Sept. 13: Arts & Sciences Faculty Council meets; Motion of No Confidence in VPAA is introduced but tabled
Sept. 14: meeting of President, VPs, Deans, members of Faculty Senate Executive Committee; vote taken to rescind VPAA Proposals passes, 17 for and 9 against
Sept. 17 minor article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Sept. 17 article in Post-Dispatch:
Sept. 18: Arts & Sciences Faculty Council meets in extraordinary session; Motion is introduced to invite Board of Trustees to provide for a "succession of the senior leadership" at the University; that fails, 17 for and 20 against; Motion of No Confidence in VPAA is taken off the table; that passes, 35 for and 2 against
(unapproved minutes available here)
Sept. 18 article in Post-Dispatch:
Sept. 20 article in Post-Dispatch:
Sept. 22: Board of Trustees meets, discusses these issues
Sept. 24: Board of Trustees President releases letter reaffirming support
of Board for SLU leadership and a "Blue Ribbon Committee" for advancing University's Strategic Plan
Sept. 25: Faculty Senate meeting; Motion of No Confidence in VPAA is made and passed, 50 for and 3 against
(click here for S. Harris' speech in support of this motion) Sept. 26: Faculty Senate Executive Committee sends letter to University President expressing Faculty Senate's No Confidence in VPAA Patankar and requesting a response by Oct. 2; letter details numerous concerns of Faculty Senate with the leadership of the VPAA
Sept. 26: Student Government Association meets, hearing presentations from VPAA Patankar and Faculty Senate President Mark Knuepfer
- reiterates need for post-tenure review including an "exit strategy" for faculty
- says proposals followed prescribed arc of shared governance in their germination and release
- complains of faculty "hysteria" in reacting to the proposals
- Senate President
- observes current system is adequate for removing faculty and is practiced universally
- says Senate has no objection to non-punitive post-tenure review
- expresses distrust in allowing VPAA to make determination on firing faculty
Sept. 26 minor article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Sept. 26 article in Post-Dispatch:
Sept. 27 article in University News:
Sept. 28: University President requests Faculty Senate to nominate faculty to Blue Ribbon Committee, now charged with
- reviewing shared governance as mandated in the Faculty Manual (specifically, III.H.4) to develop recommendations regarding
- clarity and sufficiency of Manual's statement
- meaning of "adequate communication" in Manual's statement
- recommending student involvement in development of policies directly affecting students' academic experience
- developing initiatives for implementing the University's Strategic Plan
Oct. 2: University President responds
to Faculty Senate Executive Committee letter, reaffirming his support for VPAA Patankar and dismissing Faculty Senate concerns
Oct. 3 article in Post-Dispatch:
Oct. 4 article in Post-Disptach:
Oct. 4 articles in University News:
Oct. 5: Arts & Sciences Faculty Council meets in extraordinary session; establishes committees to aid the Council in deliberations for forthcoming meeting of Oct. 11 and beyond
Oct. 9: interim president of SLU chapter of AAUP (S. Harris) sends letter to VPAA (with copies to University President, Faculty Senate President, and A&S Faculty Council President) Oct. 10: Fr. Biondi summarizes these incidents to date, as part of his October State of the University address
Oct. 11 opinion columns in the University News:
Oct. 11: Business School Faculty Assembly meets; those present unanimously support a motion in support of the Faculty Senate's actions
Oct. 12 minor article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Oct. 12 minor article in Inside Higher Education:
Oct. 12 article in Post-Disptacth:
Oct. 12 article in KMOX-online:
Oct. 12 report on KTVI television:
Oct. 12 article in Riverfront Times:
Oct. 12: S. Harris received private communication from VPAA Patankar in response to Oct. 9 letter; tone was cordial; replied to in kind
Oct. 16: VPAA Patankar issues letter to all faculty calling for "collaborative communication"
Oct. 24 article in Post-Dispatch:
Oct. 24: Teach-in (3:00 - 5:00, BSC 253 A & D), sponsored by College of Arts & Sciences; about 250 in attendance
Oct. 25 article in University News:
Oct. 25: Special meeting of A&S Faculty Council; three motions passed unanimously:
- instructing the A&S Senators to move that the Senate not recognize the authority of the so-called Blue Ribbon Committee nor cooperate in staffing it
- instructing the A&S Senators to ensure the Senate does not recognize any agreement between the Senate Executive Committee and the administration unless and until such agreement is approved by the full Senate
- repudiating the Strategic Plan of the Office of Academic Affairs
Oct. 26 article in KMOX-online interviews S. Harris (I had no input on this headline):
Oct. 29: KMOX radio hourly news played reports of SLU troubles, including call for Biondi's resignation by S. Harris
Oct. 29: Teach-in on no confidence votes and related matters, Learning Resource Center (south campus), 3:00 - 5:00 pm; about 75 in attendance
Oct. 30: sit-in, 12:15 - 12:45, Grand Blvd. by Du Bourg; pictures from a student here Oct. 30: Fr. Biondi releases letter reaffirming his support for VP Patankar and challenging the portrait of the university painted by the faculty.
Oct. 30: Faculty Senate regular meeting:
- passes motion of No Confidence in Fr. Lawrence Biondi as president of SLU, 51-4 (2 abstaining)
- agrees to meet in a special session in two weeks (Nov. 13)
- instructs Executive Board to invite the Board of Trustees to the next Senate meeting
- decides to augment A&S planning committees to make them representative of the entire university, including students
In addition, Faculty Senate President expounds on evolving nature of "Blue Ribbon Committee":
The only body still bearing that name is a six-member committee (including Faculty Senate President), answering to the President's Coordinating Council, which met and recommended:
- the Faculty Senate Committee on the Faculty Manual should, in cooperation with two administrators, present recommendations on the Faculty Manual with respect to shared governance
- a committee should be formed to recommend student input in faculty governance
- at this time no committee is needed for implementation of a university strategic plan, as most VP offices not having prepared such (though Academic Affairs has)
No action taken on this by the Senate.
Oct. 30 article in Post-Disptatch:
Oct. 30 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Oct. 30 article in KMOX-online:
Oct. 30 article in Fox2Now-online:
Oct. 30 article in University News online:
Oct. 31 letter from Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate
to the Board of Trustees
Oct. 31 article in Post-Dispatch:
Oct. 31 article in the St. Louis Beacon:
Oct. 31 short article in San Francisco Chronicle:
Oct. 31 article in the Columbia Missourian:
Oct. 31 article in Above the Law:
Oct. 31: Student Government Association votes No Confidence in Fr. Biondi, 38-0
Oct. 31 article in University News online:
Nov. 1: Student Government Association sends letter
to Board of Trustees
Nov. 1 articles in University News online:
Nov. 1: Email sent by Fr. Biondi to the university community:
"The Saint Louis University Board of Trustees is aware of the actions taken by the University Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association. The Board of Trustees Executive Committee, acting upon the recommendation from Fr. Biondi, has decided to engage an external, independent consulting firm to conduct an extensive survey of Saint Louis University students, faculty, staff and other constituencies concerning the issues that have led to the recent faculty and student resolutions. It is hoped that this survey can be initiated and concluded in the immediate future.
"Additional information about this process will be provided in the very near future."
Nov. 3: Executive Committee of Faculty Senate sends letter to Chair of the Board of Trustees, inviting the Board to attend the next Senate meeting (Nov. 23) and calling for open discussion in place of surveys.
Nov. 2 editorial in Post-Dispatch:
Nov. 5: Jay Hammond, Chair of Theological Studies, releases open letter to the Board of Trustees, reflecting on a theological perspective of these matters. (There are several Jesuits on the Board.)
Nov. 6 article in stlpublicradio and NPR radio broadcast:
Nov. 6 op-ed by Prof. Mike Aldeson (Chair, Dept. of Finance) in Post-Dispatch:
Nov. 6 Letter to the Editor by Prof. Matt Mancini (Chair, Dept. of American Studies) in Post-Dispatch:
Nov. 8 blog in Academe by S. Harris:
Nov. 8 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Nov. 8: A&S Faculty Council meets, passes four motions:
- With the goal of establishing effective communication between the faculty and the full Board of Trustees, the Faculty Council calls on the Arts and Sciences senators to move that the Senate address an open letter to the Board of Trustees asking for an invitation for faculty representatives to speak at the December Board of Trustees meeting. The letter should be sent to Board members and released to the press.
The Faculty Council requests the Arts and Sciences department chairs and directors develop guidelines that could suggest how chairs, directors, and faculty in present circumstances can distinguish between essential operations that need to be conducted with upper administration and nonessential operations that should not be conducted because they suggest confidence in upper administrators.
The Faculty Council affirms the sense of the Faculty Senate November 3, 2012 communication to the Board of Trustees. Specifically, the Faculty Council rejects the proposal for a survey of students, faculty and other constituents to be conducted by an external firm at the President’s recommendation. After no-confidence votes in the President and the Vice President of Academic Affairs by the Faculty Council, Faculty Senate, and Student Government Association, conditions of trust necessary for such a survey do not exist. What is needed now is direct communication between the Board and the faculty. We call on the Board of Trustees to engage the faculty directly, through our duly constituted representative bodies. We hope the Board will accept the invitation of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to attend the Faculty Senate meeting on November 13th at 3:30 pm at the School of Medicine, Doisy Learning Resource Center, Pitlyk Auditorium A.
- The Faculty Council calls on the Board of Trustees to commission an independent management and financial audit of the University.
Nov. 9: Senate President reports that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees met the previous evening with the Senate Executive Committee for a lengthy private conversation.
Nov. 13 special meeting of the Faculty Senate:
- One or two members of the Board of Trustees were present (but not identified).
- report of Faculty Senate president (M. Knuepfer):
- The Board of Trustees having received the vote of No Confidence in Biondi by the Faculty Senate, the Senate must now wait for the Board to act (or fail to act), before further Senate actions are appropriate.
- Members of the Executive Committee of Board of Trustees met with Executive Committee of the Senate on Nov. 8 under conditions of confidentiality about who said what; but certain general ideas can be reported:
- The Board will not act on VPAA--that is province of the university president.
- The Board members were apprised of Senate positions, including:
- The Senate refuses to accept a Board survey to "get around" the issues facing us/
- The Senate president believes the survey idea is now dead.
- The Senate wishes to have a presence
- at the December Board meeting and
- at Board meetings in general.
- The Senate Committee on the Faculty Manual is meeting weekly to work on recommending changes in shared governance portion of the Faculty Manual in order to strengthen it; it will give a report at the regular November Senate meeting.
- many concerns of faculty were expressed, regarding, among other things
- concern that the Board was fully apprised of all that the Senate has felt about the VPAA and president
- Senate EC members confirmed this was done, also telling Board members how tenure works, what annual faculty review means, and similar basic notions of faculty life.
- concern that faculty without tenure feel vulnerable and unable to express their opinions publicly, for fear of retribution
- same for staff and for students
- concern that the current stand-off will continue indefinitely, with the VPAA and president not holding the faculty's trust, but chairs and deans needing to work with them for the everyday business of the university to continue
- report of the AAUP chapter president (S. Harris):
- On Nov. 10, the AAUP held a regional Workshop on "The Faculty Voice in Missouri" at Washington University.
- Some 40 people were in attendance, including about a dozen from SLU (largest contingent).
- Central messages relating to the Faculty Senate:
- The AAUP "Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities" (1966) is endorsed by
- American Council of Education (professional organization for university presidents)
- Association of Governing Boards (professional organization for university boards)
- (SLU's Board of Trustees is not part of this association.)
- scores of professional academic organizations
- Therefore, these AAUP policies constitute the gold standard of professionalism on how to run American universities.
- The 1966 Governance Statement includes this:
- "It is also incumbent on the president to ensure that faculty views, including dissenting views, are presented to the board in those areas and on those issues where responsibilities are shared."
- AAUP guidelines on faculty senate include these subcommittees of the senate:
- a Budget Committee:
- has access to detailed financial data
- advises the university president
- an Educational Planning Committee:
- ensures faculty participation in decisions to close programs
- considers strengths and weaknesses of curricula, not just finances
Nov. 13 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Nov. 19: Open Forum for students, with faculty representatives on panel; about 45 in attendance; panelists (two students, three faculty) make points:
- Board of Trustees has next action
- Board needs to be educated on the depths of the issues facing faculty and students
- primary among those issues:
- shared governance is what we need
- top-down governance, institutionalizing a climate of fear, is what we have
Nov. 20 op-ed piece in the Post-Disptach:
Nov. 27: Faculty Senate meets:
- The Executive Committee has appointed a task force charged with collecting and evaluating evidence on the conduct of activities by the University higher administration, particularly
- experiences relating to policies, actions, or inactions of the President and the VPA
- management of University fiscal resources
- any other issues of management
- The Executive Committee will be hosting a forum for department chairs and program directors to discuss among themselves issues relating to the votes of no confidence in the President and the VPAA and the chairs' and directors' contractual obligations.
- The Executive Committee will be meeting again with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, some time prior to the Board's meeting Dec. 15.
- The Senate Task Force on the Faculty Manual has begun consideration of principles for ways of amending the Faculty Manual to strengthen shared governance.
- A motion was passed (with one dissenting vote):
- Resolved: The Senate endorses the Executive Committee's request to the Board of Trustees to allow faculty to address the full Board at its December, 2012, meeting. Furthermore, the Senate requests of the Board that future meetings of the full Board include faculty members chosen by the Faculty Senate.
Nov. 27 article in St. Louis Beacon:
SLU faculty leaders push for audience with trustees
Nov. 29 article in St. Louis Business Journal:
S&P affirms rating on SLU bonds, notes Biondi controversy
Nov. 30: Board of Trustees Executive Committee releases joint statement with Senate Executive Committee:
The Executive Committees of Saint Louis University’s Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees today affirmed their mutual commitment to the University and its academic and spiritual values. The Committees also affirmed their commitment to a process leading to more frequent and effective communications throughout the University Community.
As a result of private and candid discussions conducted during past weeks, the Committees endorsed the following initial actions:
The President of the Faculty Senate will appear before the Board of Trustees annually to share the faculty’s perspectives, insights and concerns with the Board.
Representatives of the Board and the Administration will meet annually with the Faculty Senate to report on the state of the University.
The Board will review the current roles of faculty, student and staff representatives on Board Committees to assure effective participation.
The Faculty Senate will support and participate in development of an annual assessment of the University Community, conducted by an external and independent organization. The purpose of this process is to provide the Board with a holistic understanding of the interests and concerns of the faculty, staff and student communities within the University.
The Board and Faculty Senate will support the ongoing work of the Faculty Manual Revision Task Force.
The Faculty Senate and the Board will explore opportunities to develop a process to affirm support for effective shared governance and address long-term trends affecting the academic life of the University.
The Executive Committees also agreed to update the SLU Community about the progress of their discussions only through joint statements, so as to preserve the spirit of cooperation and candor that has characterized these talks and is critical to their ultimate success.
Nov. 30 article in St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Dec. 1: SLU Students for No Confidence
publishes letter from Board of Trustees President
to rest of the Board of Trustees, indicating
- the Board President anticipates the Nov. 30 joint statement of the Board and Senate Executive Committees "could resolve the current issues involving the faculty and the administration".
- the Board, on Oct. 31, hired internationally known public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard to advise them on managing this crisis
- there should be no response from Trustees to students or faculty: "In addition to the media, faculty and students are writing directly to the Trustees. Fleishman-Hillard continues to recommend that individual Trustees and the Board should not respond to these letters, emails and telephone calls."
- the Board Executive Committee was already committed to complete support of the SLU president, even while agreeing to discuss matters with the Senate Executive Committee.
Dec. 3 article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Dec. 4 op-ed piece in St. Louis Beacon:
Dec. 4 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Dec. 5 article in West End Word:
Dec. 10 article in Inside Higher Education:
Dec. 10: Faculty Evidence Committee and Communication Committee release report to the Trustees and the wider SLU community, detailing the problems with SLU leadership
Dec. 11: A&S Faculty Council passes two motions:
1) As the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Thomas Brouster, has, in his letter of November 30 to the Board, directed the other Trustees not to communicate with either faculty or students regarding the crisis facing the University;
we, the Arts & Sciences Faculty Council, request that the Board of Trustees respond formally and directly to the No Confidence votes in Vice President Patankar and President Biondi, as passed by the A&S Faculty Council, the Faculty Senate, and the Student Government Association.
2) Resolved: It is the sense of the Council that the action items of the Nov 30 joint statement of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees are woefully insufficient to address the votes of No Confidence in the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the University President.
Furthermore, the Faculty Council believes that the Faculty Senate Executive Committee must be able to report without constraint to the Faculty Senate on the discussions with the Board of Trustees.
Dec. 12 article in Riverfront times:
Dec. 13 blog in Business 2 Community:
Dec. 14 article in Post-Dispatch:
Dec. 14 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Dec. 15 article in Post-Dispatch:
Dec. 15 article in St. Louis Beacon:
Dec. 15 article in St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU):
Dec. 17 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Dec. 17 short article in Inside Higher Education:
Dec. 18: Faculty Senate meets in special session and approves the six broad points on communication annunciated in the Dec. 15 letter of the Chair of the Board of Trustees (duplicating the same points from the Nov. 30 joint communiqué from the Senate and Board Executive Committees), with the following proviso:
Dec. 21: Board of Trustees Chair releases joint communiqué from Executive Committees of Boar and of Faculty Senate, clarifying and expanding the six points outlined in the Dec. 15 letter and approved in principle by the Faculty Senate.
The faculty members appointed to the committee to develop an annual assessment of the University Committee, conducted by an external and independent organization, will report monthly to the Senate on the work of that committee.
Dec. 21: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Jan. 29: Faculty Senate meeting
Jan. 13: opinion piece in Post-Distpatch:
Jan. 15: opinion piece in St. Louis Beacon:
Jan. 18: editorial in University News:
Jan. 18 opinion piece in University News:
presentation of the University Budget:
Among a number of questions put to CFO and VP David Heimburger (Q and A as noted by S. Harris):
Q: What plan is there to restore recent cuts to the libraries and other academic infrastructure?
Q: What is the five-year plan for academic spending?
Q: What plans are afoot for a capital campaign to celebrate SLU's 200th birthday in 2018?
announcement of Feb. 9 Board of Trustees meeting:
President-elect of the Senate Jane Turner will make a presentation to the Board on the perspectives of the Senate and faculty.
The topics and points made will be released shortly thereafter.
announcement of the Climate and Assessment Committees:
charged with engaging an outside firm to sample the climate of opinion and feeling in all sectors of the university
just begun to meet
charged with making an assessment of university practices under the recent administration
started meeting recently
Feb. 6: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Who's on first at SLU?
Feb. 7: Strategy Committee issues Press Release: "Faculty of Saint Louis University calls for action, but urges calm"
Feb. 7: opinion piece in University News:
Feb. 7: opinion piece in University News:
Feb. 7: letter to the editor in Post-Disptatch:
Feb. 8: opinion piece in Post-Distpatch:
Feb. 8: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Feb. 11: Board of Trustees and Pres. Biondi release letter to the University,
in respect of Feb. 9 Board meeting
Feb. 14: A&S Faculty Council, by near unanimity, passes a series of motions:
- welcoming Ellen Harshman as Interim VP for Academic Affairs
- thanking Faculty Senate President-Elect Jane Turner for "her strong and focused presentation to the Board of Trustees" and
- commending her "courage in affirming and reinforcing, in difficult conditions, the Faculty Senate's continued commitment to votes of no confidence in President Lawrence Biondi"
- deploring "the reported hostile environment encountered" by Dr. Turner at the Board of Trustees meeting and
- saying the behavior toward her "showed disrespect to the faculty as a whole"
- deploring "the Board's failure to address the votes of no confidence in Fr. Biondi by the Faculty Council, and Student Government Association, or even to provide reasons for not addressing these votes, in the letter of February 11th signed by Mr. Brouster and Fr. Biondi.
- In its silence on these matters, the letter demonstrates total disregard for the faculty and student voices and for principles of shared governance."
- requesting "a list of reasons why the Board of Trustees has not responded directly to the votes of No Confidence in Fr. Biondi"
- decrying participation in the Faculty Senate Climate Committee (charged with finding an external body to investigate the climate of opinion at the University) and calling for the resignation from the Climate Committee of the designated faculty representative of the North Campus, citing
- the disrespectful treatment of Dr. Turner at the Board of Trustees meeting
- the letter from the Board of Trustees of that meeting, in which
- "the subject of her report was not even mentioned,
- and the Trustees gave no reasons for failing to describe or address the content of her report, except they were surprised at it.
- Nor did they explain how, in their view, their treatment of her report conduced to the well-being of the University"
- the seeming unlikelihood "that the Trustees are interested in discovering the views of the faculty, students, and staff, which is the Climate Committee's stated purpose"
- the membership of the Climate Committee, which "has faculty and students outnumbered by administrators and trustees"
Feb. 20: Jay Hammond, having resigned as Chair of the Dept. of Theological Studies, releases a statement
explaining his reasons in protest of the Board; the department responds supportively:
In support of Jay Hammond’s resignation as Chair of the Department of Theological Studies, and his reasons for resigning, the tenured faculty unanimously voted on 19 February 2013 to decline to fill the office of departmental chair. In his statement to the faculty, Professor Hammond explained that he resigned, "in protest to Fr. Biondi's leadership and the letter released by Mr. Brouster on behalf of the Board of Trustees on Monday [11 February 2013], which is an absolutely inadequate response to the faculty senate vote of no confidence."
Essential paperwork will be handled by the existing associate chair, James Ginther, and faculty who will assist him. This will ensure that student and faculty needs can be addressed.
Feb. 21: article in Post-Disptach:
Feb. 21: article in Riverfront Times:
Feb. 23: Chair of the Board of Trustees responds to AAUP Chapter president's letter, expressing the views that any affront to academic freedom at the Feb. 9 Board meeting was inadvertent and that shared governance is indeed his objective, particularly including appropriate response to the ongoing situation with the University president
Feb. 23: opinion column in Post-Dispatch:
Feb. 25: opinion piece in KPLR online:
Feb. 25: article in Riverfront Times:
Feb. 26: Faculty Senate meets; no new motions passed, but several reports given:
- Senate President-Elect reports on her Feb. 9 appearance at Board of Trustees.
- She emphasized need to respond to No Confidence vote in University president.
- She received questions and commentary from Board members, both pro and con No Confidence.
- Student Government Association reported renewal of vote in No Confidence.
- Business School reported continuing support for No Confidence
- Arts & Sciences reported on several motions passed in recent months:
- Oct. 25:
- repudiating the Strategic Plan of the Office of Academic Affairs
- Nov. 8:
- calls on the Board of Trustees to commission an independent management and financial audit of the University.
- Dec. 11:
- request that the Board of Trustees respond formally and directly to the No Confidence votes in Vice President Patankar and President Biondi, as passed by the A&S Faculty Council, the Faculty Senate, and the Student Government Association.
- It is the sense of the Council that the action items of the Nov 30 joint statement of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees are woefully insufficient to address the votes of No Confidence in the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the University President.
- Feb. 14:
- deploring "the Board's failure to address the votes of no confidence" in Fr. Biondi by the Faculty Council, and Student Government Association, or even to provide reasons for not addressing these votes, in the letter of February 11 signed by Mr. Brouster and Fr. Biondi.
- decrying participation in the Faculty Senate Climate Committee and calling for the resignation from the Climate Committee of the designated faculty representative of the North Campus
- AAUP report:
- AAUP chapter instructed chapter president to write a letter to Board Chair Tom Brouster, complaining that the Feb. 11 letter of the Board failed to live up to its promise of shared governance and investment in the Faculty Senate of the legitimate representative voice of the faculty, by totally ignoring the central message of the Senate President-elect presented to the Board on Feb. 9, to wit, No Confidence votes in the University president.
- This letter engendered a lengthy phone conversation between chapter president and Board Chair, resulting in this mutually approved summary:
- The Board Chair's chief position is that it is unfair for him to be labeled a hypocrite, since he is, indeed, working on the concerns of the faculty with full seriousness.
- With respect to University president: The Board Chair denies taking the position of just letting things cool down, hoping they'll go away over the summer, and he is aware that the current situation is untenable in the long run.
- With respect to the Feb. 11 letter not even mentioning the University president: The Board Chair says he did not have the intent to play that down as not being considered by the Board; he might just as easily have put something in about that, but an excess of caution about his words being scrutinized led to his not saying anything on the subject.
- The chapter president took the opportunity to try to impress on the Board Chair the current of feelings on the campus generated by his letter and the worry many of us have about our concerns being ignored or down-played.
- AAUP chapter instructed chapter president to write a more moderate letter to each of the VPs who signed a Feb. 7 letter in the Post-Dispatch, deeply critical of two faculty who wrote a Feb. 6 piece in the Post-Dispatch. No reply has been forthcoming.
Feb. 26: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Feb 27: article in Riverfront Times:
Feb. 27: small article and video report in online KSDK:
Feb. 27: opinion column in Post-Dipstach (of tangential interest):
Feb. 27: University president releases February letter
Feb 27: article in Riverfront TImes:
Feb. 27: article in Post-Dispatch:
Mar. 4: A&S Faculty Council releases second report on state of the University
, for the perusal of the Board of Trustees (and anyone else).
Mar. 5: A&S Department Chairs pass two motions, to be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for consideration:
“The Department Chairs of the College of Arts & Sciences ask the Faculty Senate to refuse to participate in the search for a Vice President of Academic Affairs and to recommend that no faculty participate as long as Fr. Biondi remains in office.”
“The Department Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences move to reinstate the Office of the Provost at Saint Louis University.”
Mar. 6: dueling opinion pieces in Post-Distpatch:
St. Louis University: '1984' in 2013
Mar. 7: A&S Faculty Council meets; Council President reports on the current state of affairs, from varying sources:
- on the presentation of the Senate President-Elect to the Board of Trustees, Feb. 9:
- multiple sources report the reception was of a hostile atmosphere, with Board Chair Tom Brouster noticeably upset
- other sources dispute this
- on the Feb. 27 letter from the University president being "conciliatory":
- other evidence suggests a strongly non-conciliatory attitude:
- Dec. 21 interview of the president in the Post-Dispatch expressed continued support for anti-tenure provisions.
- In December, the Board had to intervene to prevent the president firing the A&S dean.
- In January the Board intervened to prevent the president from re-instating former VPAA Patankar as another VP, this time for international relations.
- At the January meeting of the President's Coordinating Council, the president engaged in a lengthy tirade against the Senate president and the A&S dean.
- The president opposed new VPAA Helen Harshman's proposal to restore the library funding, and has, in some reports (disputed by other sources), generally been in strong opposition to her
- The president has instituted a now-abandoned practice or responding in kind to hostile newspaper letters.
- on the proposed survey from the Senate Climate Committee:
- The firm selected is not independent from SLU:
- The firm is local.
- It has SLU alums on the its board.
- It has done work for the corporations owned by several members of SLU's Board of Trustees.
- To help insure a properly instituted survey, the Council plans on forming a committee of faculty whose expertise includes survey implements, to help vet the Climate Committees survey before it is released.
- To help monitor the survey process, the Council may support its own survey instrument.
Mar. 10: interview of theology professor on Fox News (Channel 2):
Mar. 21: commentary piece in University News:
Mar. 25: Faculty Senate sends out to campus--faculty, students, and staff--a survey designed by the Senate Climate Committee, designed to give information on the state of attitudes within the university community; Madrid campus is excepted.
Mar. 26: Faculty Senate meets:
- report on Arts & Sciences:
- The A&S Faculty Council discussed ways in which the University president's request for a conciliatory attitude is belied by his recent behavior.
- The A&S Chairs passed motions recommending
- there be no search for a permanent VPAA until a new University president is selected
- the office of the Provost be reinstituted
- discussion about the Senate Task Force on University Assessment:
- The Task Force's reeport is not yet ready; when it is ready it will go to the Senate Executive Committee.
- The EC will share it with the Board of Trustees.
- The EC will then determine where else it will be distributed.
- There was strong sentiment expressed that the report be made public.
- As the Task Force requested certain documents from the Board and VPs, and this request was never replied to, the following motion was introduced and passed unanimously:
- The Senate requests Board Chairman Thomas Brouster, VP and CFO David Heimburger, and VP and General Counsel William Kaufman to send to the Senate Task Force on University Assessment, the documents requested of them by the Task Force, to wit:
- the University Charter
- current bylaws and policy manual of the Board of Trustees
- Conflict of Interest policy of the Board of Trustees
- the University Strategic Plan that was submitted to the Higher Learning Council
- the past ten years of financial audits of the University
- the past ten years of account statements of the President's Opportunity Fund
- the past ten years' information on the capital budget
- discussion of the Senate Task Force on Revision of the Faculty Manual (with an eye on shared governance):
- Opposition was raised with current draft on basic principles as being inconsistent with the AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (failing to give faculty primary responsibility for areas involving academic matters).
- The Task Force will take that into account in further revision. Further advice is requested on such matters.
- AAUP report:
- The AAUP chapter has been in electronic discussion of the Senate Climate Committee's survey of faculty, students, and staff.
- As the survey, released yesterday, appears lacking in specificity of many of the questions (attributing to "the University", rather than the University president, responsibility for responsiveness, communication, general atmosphere, and other issues), there is a strong feeling within the chapter to issue a Supplemental Survey with more particular questions.
- The chapter president plans to send forth such a survey, just for faculty, in the near future.
- The results will be reported on this web site.
- The Senate President observed that the Climate Committee survey is intended for the Board's information.
- Accordingly, the Board may or may not be interested in the results of a supplemental survey.
- The results of the Climate Committee survey will be held by the Board;
- what will then be done with the results is up to the Board.
Mar. 27: article in Post-Dispatch:
Mart. 27: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Mart. 27: minor article in St. Louis Business Journal:
Mar. 28: University General Counsel issues a letter to AAUP chapter President
, cautioning against issuing a survey in any way "derivative" of the Senate Climate Committee survey, as that would be infringement of the University's copyright, possibly resulting in legal action.
Apr. 1: brief article in Post-Dispatch:
Apr. 1: article in the St. Louis Beacon:
Apr. 2: brief article in St. Louis Business Journal:
Apr. 2: article in online Riverfront Times:
Apr. 2: article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Apr. 2: Chapter President issues SLU-AAUP Supplemental Survey (in abbreviated form) to all full-time faculty, including Madrid campus
Apr. 4: articles in University News Online:
Apr. 4: audio article in St. Louis Beacon (about 6:00 - 10:30):
Apr. 4: article in Techdirt:
Apr. 9: Senate Executive Committee sends letter
to President Biondi, General Counsel Bill Kauffman, and Board Chairman Tom Brouster
Apr. 10: preliminary results of the SLU-AAUP Supplemental Survey:
Apr. 5: brief article in Corporate Counsel:
Apr. 10 blog by S. Harris in Academe:
- 1487 surveys sent out (to full-time faculty on all campuses; also to some who are full-time SLU staff but only part-time as faculty, as could be identified)
- replies from: 834, 56.1% response rate
- Is it time for Saint Louis University to choose a new president?
- Yes: 607, 73.3% of respondents to this question
- No: 63, 7.6% of respondents to this question
- Don't know/no opinion: 158, 19.1% of respondents to this question
- (no answer: 6, .7% of respondents to other questions)
- At which campus do you work?
- Frost/North Campus: 443, 53.8% of respondents to this question
- of those, this was response on first question:
- Yes: 389, 87.8% of those responding Frost/North Campus
- No: 9, 2.0% of those responding Frost/North Campus
- Don't know/no opinion: 44, 9.9% of those responding Frost/North Campus
- no answer: 1, .2% of those responding Frost/North Campus
- Medical/South Campus: 326, 39.6% of respondents to this question
- of those, this was response on first question:
- Yes: 193, 59.2% of those responding Medical/South Campus
- No: 49, 15.0% of those responding Medical/South Campus
- Don't know/no opinion: 83, 25.5% of those responding Medical/South Campus
- no answer: 1, .3% of those responding Medical/South Campus
- Madrid: 55, 6.7% of respondents to this question
- of those, this was response on first question:
- Yes: 25, 45.5% of those responding Madrid
- No: 4, 7.3% of those responding Madrid
- Don't know/no opinion: 26, 47.3% of those responding Madrid
- no answer: 0, 0% of those responding Madrid
- (no answer: 10, 1.2% of respondents to other questions)
- Would you like to make further comments?
- comments made by: 362, 43.4% of respondents to any questions
- It will take some time to analyze and categorize the comments.
- preliminary list of comment themes available on survey page
Apr. 11: opinion piece in the Post-Disptach from a Trustee:
Apr. 11: article in online Riverfront Times:
Apr. 11: article in St. Louis Beacon, including University statement:
Apr. 11: article in Post-Dispatach:
Arp. 11: opinion pieces in University News Online:
Apr 11: meeting of the A&S Faculty Senate:
- much discussion over the purported resignation of Tom Brouster from the Chairmanship of the SLU Board of Trustees
- If this is true, does it spell a change of motion in the Board of Trustees? If so, into what direction?
- motions passed:
- (1), passed overwhelmingly:
- Whereas the practice of presidential review of every salary recommendation at SLU is inappropriate because it:
- represents extreme micro-management;
- violates the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that decisions should be made at the lowest, least-centralized level by people who are suitably informed;
- substitutes arbitrary and capricious criteria for the considered judgment of disciplinary experts;
- serves as the structural nexus of a culture of fear, since this salary review can be used to punish individuals for disagreements with the President;
- The Faculty Council calls on Trustees of the University to end this practice in an effort to construct a normal, professional environment at SLU and to bring SLU closer to standard practices at other universities.
- The Faculty Council further resolves that, whereas systemic intimidation can only flourish in conditions of secrecy, Deans should share information with any individuals whose salaries are changed by the President and, if those people consent, to publicize in an appropriate way the results of this practice.
- (2), passed overwhelmingly:
- Whereas the most recent strategic plan for the Office of Academic Affairs was developed in secret and without effective faculty input and has been soundly repudiated by the Faculty Council;
- And whereas many people across the University have excellent ideas about how to renew the University and move it toward a brighter future;
- Resolved that the Faculty Council supports the “Not-So-Secret Strategic Plan” session scheduled for April 17, 4-6, in Beracha Hall, and encourages all faculty and students and the entire University community to attend.
Apr. 12: article in St. Louis Business Journal:
Apr. 12: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Apr. 12: article in Post-Dispatch:
Apr. 12: article in KWMU online (News of St. Louis Public Radio):
Apr. 17: Not-So-Secret Strategic Planning Session meets
- 23 people in attendance, most staying two hours
- largish number of proposals made; details here
Apr. 18: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Apr. 18: opinion piece in University News:
Apr 22: letter to the editor (from Dean of A&S) in Post-Disptach:
Apr. 22: article in UNews online:
Apr. 24: SGA Senate meets with Biondi in attendance:
- Biondi instructs the Senate to ask two faculty members to leave (but not administrators)
- SGA Senate president complies
- Reporter from the St. Louis Beacon is prevented from entering the room.
- Afterwards, students report that Biondi's statements included
- denigration of students opposed to Biondi for being influenced by small number of faculty
- allegation that the Department of Education is not competitive with Washington University and USML, so it should be closed down
Apr. 25: Arts & Sciences Faculty Council, working electronically, unanimously passes motion:
- "Whereas the constitution of the Student Government Association stipulates that SGA meetings are open to the public, and whereas openness and transparency are hallmarks of shared governance, the Faculty Council censures President Biondi for directing the SGA president to violate the SGA constitution by ejecting two faculty members from the SGA's April 24 meeting and for barring a member of the press from the meeting."
Apr. 25: article in Post-Dispatch:
Apr. 26: Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate approves and transmits a message to the Board of Trustees:
Apr. 25: opinion pieces in University News online:
The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate respectfully demands that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees take such action as may be necessary publicly to censure the President of Saint Louis University, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, for abuse of power. The basis for this demand concerns the President’s conduct at a meeting of the Student Government Association on April 24, 2013. At this meeting, the President demanded that faculty members be ejected from the meeting, commenting that the faculty’s presence was inappropriate.
Fr. Biondi's action is in violation of the SGA Constitution - Article V.C.1:
"Regular Weekly Meetings. The Senate shall meet every Wednesday at 5:00 PM during the academic year when classes are in session, unless otherwise ordered by the Association. These meetings shall be open to the public."
His action is also a violation of free speech and academic freedom at the University. It refutes his recent claim that he wishes to be conciliatory to the faculty. This abuse of power and show of intimidation is intolerable at an institution which professes a commitment to shared governance and whose mission is to be men and women for others.
Apr. 26: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Apr. 26: short article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Apr. 27: University President and Chairman of Board of Trustees announce
they will not, as previously planned, be attending the April 30 Faculty Senate meeting
- reasons given for absence of Chairman of the Board of Trustees:
- focussing on need for choosing a new Chairman
- focussing on the Board's Climate Survey
- preparing for the May 4 Board meeting
- no reasons given for absence of the President
Apr. 27: article in St. Louis Beacon (updated Apr. 29):
Apr. 29: article in Daily Riverfront TImes:
Apr. 29: article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Apr. 29: article in Post-Dispatch:
Apr. 29: article in St. Louis Business Journal:
Apr. 29: article in U News online:
Apri. 30: opinion piece (S. Harris) in Daily Riverfront Times:
Apr. 30: Faculty Senate Task Force on Assessment of the University releases its final report
Apr. 30: Faculty Senate meets (without either President Biondi or Chairman of the Board of Trustees):
- VP for Medical Affairs Phil Alderson reports
- Major tensions exist between University and Tenet (owner of SLU Hospital for the last ten years or so).
- Negotiations with Tenet are being proposed to the Board of Trustees
- These negotiations will not be short, but will likely go into next academic year.
- VP for Academic Affairs Ellen Harshman reports
- Strategic planning is needed.
- VPAA will speak with deans over the summer.
- All input is desirable, including from grass-roots planning sessions held by faculty.
- Education Department:
- College of Education and Professional Studies is strong
- New leader of CEPS needs to be chosen.
- Roger Lewis, co-chair of Task Force on Assessment of the University, reports on findings of the Task Force
- presentation slides are viewable here
- Central finding is that SLU is governed by Management by Intimidation.
- This is manifested by
- personal verbal abuse by the University President of individual faculty and administrators
- repeated instances of retaliation for speaking out against the President, administered to
- department chairs
- high turn-over in administration
- Parks College has lost almost all its women faculty
- numerous complaints registered with Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action
- VPs are regimented into insulating silos
- VPs' are accumulated only at the top (the President)
- There is no opportunity for faculty input before decisions are reached.
- As a consequence, many poor poor policy decisions are made, wasting money.
- Faculty retention is suffering.
- Law School is losing 15% of its faculty.
- A fifth of the endowed chairs are empty.
- SLU Hospital is among the bottom 10 teaching hospitals nationally, in terms of patient safety.
- There is little academic spending.
- Hence, our national ratings are plummeting.
- Presidential control of spending:
- no academic advice
- no justification required
- no long-range planning
- no Bicentennial Campaign
- AAUP report:
- The analysis of the comments from the SLU-AAUP Supplemental Survey have begun to appear on the AAUP website.
- Currently about a dozen categories of comments are summarized, all negative to the President.
- Numerical data will follow shortly.
- The AAUP Chapter supports the Alternative Gala Saturday, May 4, 5:30 pm, between Chaifetz Arena and the Olive-Compton Garage.
- The Chapter received the 2012 Beatrice Konheim award for its activism in support of academic freedom.
- comments by Senate President
- The Six Points of increased communication between the Board of Trustees and the faculty (principally the Senate) are due to innovative leadership of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
- Documents requested by the Senate to be supplied to the Task Force on Assessment of the University:
- The Bylaws of the Board of Trustee (as recently updated) are now posted on the Senate website.
- Other requested documents:
- some are not held by the Board
- Senate Executive Committee sent a letter, April 26, to the Board of Trustees, demanding censure of the University President for his behavior at the SGA Senate meeting of April 24, in having two faculty members removed.
- Senate proposes a motion:
- The Senate supports the Executive Committee's letter to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, requesting censure of the University President for his behavior at the April 24 meeting of the SGA Senate.
- The SGA President-Elect, who has been at the SGA Senate meeting, testifies that the faculty who were asked to leave had been sitting quietly, saying nothing.
- Motion passes unanimously.
- Climate Committee survey:
- Results will be shared with the University shortly.
- In future years, a much lengthier process will be employed, using focus groups to develop questions.
- resignation of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees:
- Ostensible reasons (burdensomeness of the position) are plausible.
- Resignation seems insufficient reason to fail to meet with the Senate today.
- But it does mean such a meeting would be less useful than a meeting with a Chairman who has not resigned.
- However, this in no way excuses the University President from failing to meet with the Senate.
- Senate proposes a motion:
- The Senate shall meet in extraordinary session on May 14. An invitation is extended to the Chairman-elect of the Board of Trustees and the University President to meet with the Senate at that time.
- Motion passes unanimously.
- comments by SGA President-Elect:
- Will meet with the Board at their May 4 meeting.
- Will tell them the mood of the campus is becoming more tense.
Apr. 30: University President responds
to accusation of his misuse of powers at April 24 SGA Senate meeting
Apr. 30: article in St. Louis Beacon:
May 1: rally on campus at 1:00
- ove 200 faculty, staff, and students
- challenging the President to answer questions he evaded by not attending the Senate meeting
- pictures of the rally here
- University issues statement concerning rally
May 1: article in Daily Riverfront Times:
May 1: article on St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU):
May 1:video and still shots, with article, on Fox2News:
May 1: SGA outgoing president sends letter to students
, outlining his intended presentation to the Board of Trustees.
May 2: opinion piece (D. Stump) in Post Dispatch:
May 2: article in University News:
May 2: opinion piece (S. Harris) in University News:
May 2: letter to the editor in University News:
May 2: letter to the editor in Post-Dispatch:
May 2: reference to local story in AAUP Academe Magazine:
May 2: Analysis
of the change in University Bylaws since 1985, as presented by S. Harris.
May 3: opinion piece (R. Cropf and W. Moskop) in St. Louis Beacon:
May 4: short article in Catholic Higher Education Advocate:
May 4: AAUP and others sponsor Alternate Gala outside official Gala
- Over 100 faculty and students in attendance.
- Various speeches, including one by S. Harris
- Marches to official Gala site and back.
May 4: Jubilee Gala of President Biondi
- About $1.5 million dollars raised for scholarships.
- Fr. Biondi announces his retirement.
May 4: article in University News Online:
May 4: article in St. Louis Beacon:
May 4: article in Daily Riverfront Times:
May 4: article in Post-Dispatch Online:
May 4: article in Fox 2 News:
May 4: article in St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU):
May 5: video and article in KDSK online:
May 6: opinion piece in Post-Disptatch:
May 6: article in Post-Dispatch:
May 6: article in Post-Dispatch:
May 7: University releases video
of Fr. Biondi's Gala speech
May 7: opinion piece in Urban Review StL:
May 8: interview of new Board Chairman in St. Louis Beacon:
May 8: interview of new Board Chairman in Post-Dispatch:
May 8: article in St. Louis Beacon:
May 9: opinion piece in St. Louis American:
May 9: Arts and Sciences Faculty Council meets
- report made on the Alternate Gala
- discussion of issues of the future:
- concern about possible retaliation from the president against
- individual faculty
- need for inclusion of faculty representation and faculty concerns in the process of searching for a new University president
- Whereas the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences appreciate the enormity of the task is now before all campus constituencies in selecting a new president,
- And whereas, in the collaborative spirit of shared governance, the faculty look forward to working with the trustees and others in conducting a rigorous and forward-looking search,
- The Faculty Council supports the work of the Heithaus Haven, the AAUP, and other groups to organize open meetings at which all members of the SLU community are invited to discuss the qualities they hope to see in a new president, their expectations of a search process, and their understandings of needed changes in institutional structures. It is our hope that these public conversations will assist the SLU community -- staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, and others -- in preparing for the project of discernment and cooperation that lies far ahead for all of us. Working together, we will build a stronger SLU.
- Whereas meaningful faculty participation is essential in the search for a new president,
- And whereas previous search committees for a University president have has representatives from each school and college,
- And whereas the Faculty Senate Executive Committee is likely to play a role in approving the composition of the search committee,
- The Faculty Council directs Senators from the College of Arts and Sciences to stress to the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee that the search committee must include at least one elected faculty member from each school and college, so as to better represent the diverse academic perspectives of faculty in the University and to better solicit opinions of the faculty.
May 10: town hall-style meeting called by Heithaus Haven
- over 40 people attend:
- mostly faculty
- Jesuit visitors
- some of the thoughts expressed:
- among qualities needed by a new president:
- able to promote excellence in academics
- able to promote excellence in health care
- able to solicit substantial contributions to the endowment
- have a large number of moral qualities:
- committed to the Jesuit mission
- is in service to various communities:
- St. Louis
- the academy
- committed to justice
- understands ecumenicism in the broadest way
- collaborates with others
- has an inspirational style of leadership
- should, ideally, be
- still very much open to question:
- How important is it that the next president be a Jesuit?
- Two models for next president:
- transitional, here for a few years
- understood to be here for a long time, one or two decades
May 10: article in St. Louis Beacon:
May 15: Chapter meets
- Committee A instituted and Chair elected
- Committee A is AAUP designation for Academic Freedom
- Chair is empowered to
- hear complaints about possible retribution from administration against
- investigate any reports
- compile records of reports
- note any patterns
- bring anything warranting notice to the attention of the officers
May 20: article in St. Louis Beacon:
May 21: Faculty Senate meets in extra session:
- special guests:
- Board Chairman Joe Adorjan
- Board Vice Chairman Pat Sly
- President Biondi
- VPAA Ellen Harshman
- comments by Chairman Adorjan:
- communications--interior and exterior--need to be improved
- all stakeholders need to be involved
- perhaps a committee can address the problem, formed from
- improving issues revealed in the Climate Survey:
- working with upper administration to fix problems with the clinical side of the University
- instituting a presidential search
- take time to do it right
- no specific schedule at this time
- first investigate what national best practices are
- also maybe look at failed presidential searches
- faculty reports on such should go to VPAA Ellen Harshman
- asked where we go from here:
- long-term project to correct issues
- asked about AAUP recommendation of joint liaison committee of trustees and faculty:
- asked about trustees who encouraged putting pressure on the Board:
- they were failing in their fiduciary responsibility to the university
- asked about bicentennial campaign:
- being talked about in Board
- presentation by Vice Chairman Sly on the Climate Survey
- completion rates:
- 1500 faculty:
- 3200 staff:
- 10,000 students:
- On the whole, faculty views were more negative than staff or student views, though not strongly different.
- Out of 23 questions, these topics had markedly negative faculty views (mean below 2.3 on 1-5 scale; * = 1.75 or lower):
- appreciation of faculty contributions
- *atmosphere of trust
- *collaboration of faculty sought by the university in academic matters
- *effectiveness of president
- communication of faculty concerns to the university
- communication to the faculty from the university
- faculty aware of imminent changes
- accessibility of information for faculty to make decisions
- *responsiveness of university to faculty concerns
- communication of university priorities to faculty
- faculty having meaningful input with the university
- *faculty ability to express dissent without fear
- university acting on faculty concerns
- faculty having resources to do their assigned tasks
- *faculty having an influential role
- comments of VPAA Harshman:
- asked about the President's review of salary recommendations:
- The integrity of the salary process--from chair to dean to VPAA--will be maintained rigorously, with application of the standards of each department and school.
May 21: article in St. Louis Beacon:
June 4: article in St. Louis Beacon:
June 6: article in St. Louis Beacon:
July 6-8: Contract offers for the academic year 2013-2014 are received, marked due in the office of the VPAA by July 30. Some have merely token raises, markedly less than the promised pool of about 4% for general "merit" raises (essentially 2-year raises, as salaries were frozen from the previous year); for example, the Chapter president was offered a raise of 1%.
July 8: Chapter president sends email to all faculty
reminding about Committee A Co-chairs and possible retaliation in salaries for political activism
July 17: article in St. Louis Beacon:
July 17: email message to all faculty from Faculty Senate President Jane Turner:
Dear SLU Faculty,
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee has learned that a number of faculty have received contracts with token salary increases that are significantly lower than the increases recommended by their respective deans. We also have reason to believe that the affected individuals are persons who took public positions in support of the faculty's vote of no confidence in the president. We believe that such apparent acts of retaliation warrant serious scrutiny and that the president should be held accountable for this action by informing the affected faculty members of the reasons supporting his decision to overrule the recommendations of the respective deans. From the perspective of the FSEC, the president should overrule decanal recommendations only in extraordinary circumstances and for reasons that can be supported by longstanding, valid principles and clear proof. We also believe that such acts of apparent retaliation raise new questions about the president's suitability to lead our university consistently with its Catholic, Jesuit traditions.
Faculty Senate Executive Committee
July 18: article from St. Louis Public Radio:
July 19: Associate Secretary of AAUP sends letter to Biondi on same concerns as Faculty Senate President, citing 1994 AAUP Statement on the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom
July 19: article in Inside Higher Education:
July 19: article in St. Louis Beacon:
referencing July 19 Beacon article and July 19 letter from AAUP Associate Secretary
July 22: short article in St. Louis Business Journal:
July 24: article in St. Louis Beacon:
July 24: article in Chronicle of Higher Education:
Aug. 2: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 4: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 7: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 8: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch from the president:
Aug. 8: Chapter meets regarding current crisis, particularly University president's letter of same day; see here for Chapter resolution Aug. 9: Associate Secretary of AAUP sends second letter to Biondi, concerning statements made in Aug. 8 letter to Post-Dispatch.
Aug. 9: AAUP posts notice of Associate Secretary's letter:
Aug. 9: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 11: article in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 14: letter to the editor in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 16: Chairman of the Board of Trustees announces Father Biondi's "retirement as president of SLU effective September 1, 2013."
Aug. 15: letters to the editor in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 16: article in Post-Dispatch:
Aug. 16: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Aug. 22: article in Catholic Education Daily
Sep. 12: A&S Faculty Council passes two motions:
MOTION 1 – Salary retaliation
Whereas Fr. Biondi admitted reducing the raises of a number of faculty members he characterized as “dissidents” and “dissenters;”
whereas among this group are a number of Jesuit faculty and many office holders in University governance institutions, including at least three departmental chairs; the President of the Faculty Senate; the President of the Arts and Sciences Faculty Council and two members of the Council's Executive Committee; the President of the SLU Chapter of AAUP; Chairs and/or co-Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council ad hoc committees on Strategy, Communications, and Evidence; a member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate; the co-chair of the Faculty Senate Assessment Task Force; representatives to the Faculty Senate;
whereas, under the University's commitment to the concept of shared grievance, it is the task of these officers to represent the views of faculty under the University’s commitment to the concept of shared governance, no matter how much the expression of those views may be at variance with the opinions of the President, so that to penalize faculty members for speaking out is an attack on shared governance and academic freedom;
whereas it is also known that the previous president reduced the raises of other individuals without providing any account of the rationale;
whereas faculty confidence in the integrity of the faculty evaluation and salary process cannot be restored without providing any account of the rationale;
therefore be it resolved that the Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences therefore affirms our support for these colleagues and calls upon the interim president of SLU to empower the Vice President for Academic Affairs to correct to the Dean’s recommendation all salaries that were reduced in the former president’s final salary review.
MOTION 2 – Faculty representation on the presidential search committee
Whereas the Faculty Council passed a motion on May 9, 2013 calling for the search committee for a new president to include at least one faculty member from each school or college;
whereas the Faculty Manual (III, H, 7) stipulates that on search committees for individuals with University-wide responsibilities, faculty members will be recommended by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee;
be it resolved that the Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences supports the Faculty Senate Executive Committee in their affirmation of that role.
The Council further asks the Council President to convey this motion and an explanation of the sense of the Council to the Interim President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with copies to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Sep. 19: long article in St. Louis Magazine:
Oct. 1: Faculty Senate meets
- Interim President Bill Kauffman report:
- His emphasis is on
- reaching out
- reestablishing connections that have been lost.
- pushing authority down
- i.e., letting VPs, deans, etc., control their own offices
- encouraging everyone to spend their budget (not wait upon higher authorization)
- but to do so intelligently
- and not spending if the right opportunity isn't there
- Office of the Chairman (five VPs):
- Joe Adorjan (Board Chairman) is concerned only with
- broad policy responsibilities
- issues with trustees
- (However, VPAA Ellen Harshman reported that with this structure, Adorjan has more connections with University operations on a smaller scale than is usual for a Board Chair.)
- on governance:
- UMG has been reorganized
- putting physicians at second tier, under VP Alderson
- institutional planning:
- all levels should develop plans to present to next president
- we're several million dollars short of the plan for this year
- planning for next year starts now, goes to Thanksgiving
- US News rankings:
- task force to track items measured
- develop enrollment strategies
- work on marketing
- student outreach:
- emphasis from federal government is students as consumers
- student debt is an important concern
- VPAA should (he hopes) be invited to Senate meetings regularly
- Faculty Manual revision:
- emphasis should be on institutionalizing shared governance
- Presidential Search Committee:
- Trustee Jim Smith
- present at meeting
- answered questions
- Jamie Ferrare, president of AGB Search
- present at meeting,
- gave presentation
- answered questions
- Ferrare asked about transparency of Search Committee practices
- On faculty members of Search Committee (3 of 11):
- Smith asked how faculty members were chosen
- no substantive answer
- said that list of faculty he desired was circulating (and leaking) at same time Senate EC was developing recommendations
- Will faculty members of Search Committee communicate with faculty?
- Only Smith will speak for the Committee
- Search Committee will be glad to hear from faculty
- Communication directly with Ferrare is good, too (email to be provided)
- Can faculty membership be expanded?
- Smith: no, 11 is best size
- On independence of Search Committee:
- Biondi will have no role in search
- Kauffman: Biondi will be gone on some sabbatical trip by Jan. 1
- Smith: Biondi's main anticipated contact with campus will be to introduce new president to funding sources
- Ferrare always advises outgoing presidents to leave
- Board has no role until very end (voting on finalists)
- Adorjan is present at University, but is not answerable to Biondi
- On participation by faculty in search:
- open fora this month to help establish desired profile of new president
- nominations will be elicited
- finalists might--or might not--be given open fora on campus
- On diversity:
- efforts will be made to reach out to under-represented groups
- especially in eliciting nominations, usually the most productive mode of search
- On Madrid:
- already had a video conversation there
- willing to go to Madrid
- report of A&S Faculty Council:
- S. Harris reported on two motions passed by A&S Faculty Council Sept. 12 (see above)
- first motion supported colleagues who had salaries raises reduced and called for their restitution
- second motion supported Faculty Senate Executive Committee in supplying names to Search Committee for faculty members
- AAUP report (S. Harris)
- salary debacle
- In July, some 20-40 faculty received contracts with raises less than that recommended by their respective deans.
- These raises were lowered by then-president Fr. Biondi.
- The president provided no official explanation of why the raises needed to be lowered from dean recommendations.
- But in a commentary to the Post-Dispatch, he proclaimed that it was "dissidents" and "dissentors" who were being held responsible for their behavior.
- Furthermore, when this commentary was copied to the University community via Newslink, it became part of official University policy.
- That amounts to a horrendous violation of principles of academic freedom, as enshrined both in AAUP principles and the Faculty Manual.
- from AAUP:
- “The academic freedom of faculty members includes the freedom to express their views on matters having to do with their institution and its policies,” and that academic freedom is an “essential [condition] for effective governance…The protection of the academic freedom of faculty members in addressing issues of institutional governance is a prerequisite for the practice of governance unhampered by fear of retribution…it is…essential that faculty members have the academic freedom to express their professional opinions without fear of reprisal.”
- The Chapter's Committee A has received
- 26 complaints of one form or another
- 21 of which are of salary raise-reductions
- 18 of which involved "dissidents".
- The Chapter's position is that the only way for the University to purge itself of the posture that opposition to the administration results in retaliation, is that the raise-reductions be reversed in whole and in principle
- and not piece-meal, upon supplication from those who know themselves to have been affected.
- other concerns, briefly mentioned:
- faculty participation in the presidential search
- oversight of the members of the Office of the Chairman
- respect, at all levels of administration (up and down), for
- academic freedom
- due process
- the trustees' understanding of and respect for the Faculty Manual
- One of the co-chairs of the Professional Relations Committee noted that the PRC has received petitions from only a handful of faculty and wondered if Committee A might be supplanting the PRC in an unregulated manner.
- Harris replied:
- Committee A expressly helps faculty negotiate the PRC process when they are ready for that.
- Committee A and PRC have very different functions:
- PRC is a judgement body, acting on formal petitions brought to it.
- Committee A is a broad information-gathering body, seeking to hear from all who have any sort of complaint, prior to any action being taken.
- In Harris' own case, It has taken months to go through the informal process that must precede a PRC petition:
- Only in the past week has the process made it to the President's stage, even moving as expeditiously as possible,
- and still it is not ripe for PRC, as the President has not made a final statement as yet on this case.
- And that is why the PRC doesn't yet have petitions from most of the complainants that Committee A has heard from.
- Ellen Harshman reported that she and the Interim President expect a satisfactory resolution of the salary problem by end of this week.
Oct. 4: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Oct. 5: statement from Faculty Senate President Jane Turner, sent to all Senators:
- "Interim President Bill Kauffman has notified me that faculty whose salaries were adjusted counter to the recommendation of their deans were sent letters yesterday. After considering each faculty member's case on an individual basis, Mr. Kauffman made adjustments to the salaries."
Oct. 14: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Oct. 25: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Oct. 29: Faculty Senate meets
- search for new president:
- Senate President and member of Presidential Search Committee Jane Turner was asked if it is possible that there will be continuing opportunities for faculty to have input into presidential search process
- Turner said that may be possible
- S. Harris made explicit request for two-way dialogue between Search Committee and campus
- Turner promised to bring that request to attention of Committee Chair Jim Smith
- report made of A&S Faculty Council letter sent to Jim Smith regarding transparency of Committee's operation
- Madrid participation:
- Using new software, a faculty member in Madrid was able to participate fully in the Senate meeting
- Governance Committee is appointing a Madrid Task Force, charged with seeing how to regularize Madrid participation in the Senate
Oct. 29: Chair of Presidential Search Committee releases letter
announcing job description (presidential profile
Nov. 3: article in University News:
Nov. 26: article in St. Louis Beacon:
Dec 3: Faculty Senate meets
- shared governance and the Faculty Manual:
- Faculty Manual Committee on Shared Governance has produced a statement of principles
- actual changes recommended for the Faculty Manual will be submitted to the Senate in the usual process
- University email (presentation by Nick Lewis, ITS Director):
- there is a large Appropriate Use Policy for SLU email
- University email is "encouraged" (or required?) to be used for all University business
- surveillance of email is possible with approval of University administration
- same-sex spousal benefits
- two motions discussed for providing spousal benefits (such as health insurance) to same-sex partners:
- for those who are legally married:
- Resolved: In light of the recent Windsor Supreme Court decision on DOMA and consistent with Department of Labor Technical Release No. 2013-04, Saint Louis University should extend employee benefits to same-sex spouses who are legally married to employees in a state or country of celebration, which are equivalent to those benefits offered to opposite-sex spouses of employees.
- passed without dissent
- for those who are not legally married:
- Resolved: Saint Louis University should extend employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees, which are equivalent to those benefits offered to opposite-sex spouses of employees.
- tabled for technical fix of language
- issue was with equity with respect to opposite-sex domestic partners (also unmarried)
Dec. 12: opinion piece in Post-Dispatch:
Dec. 12: Arts and Sciences Faculty Council meets
- The Faculty Council directs the Council President to request a full accounting of the President’s Opportunity Fund from President Bill Kauffman, including its history, its size on September 2, 2013, and its current status. The Faculty Council requests that Bill Kauffman consult with faculty on priority use of these reserves.
- motion was passed
Jan. 21: Faculty Senate meets
- presidential search process (Jim Smith, Search Committee Chair, reporting):
- large number of applicants, good distribution, good candidates:
- men, women, Jesuits
- deans, sitting presidents
- Search Committee working cohesively, very effectively
- soon begin selection of 8-10 semifinalists
- semi-finalists each to be confidentially interviewed by entire Committee (February)
- 2 or 3 finalists then to be presented to Executive Committee of Board (March)
- expectation is that these will be chosen through unanimous decision of Search Committee
- idea is any of finalists would be suitable as president, hence, not to be ranked by Search Committee
- unlikely to be any public process for the finalists
- Executive Committee of Board to form subcommittee to decided among finalists
- important criteria being used by the Search Committee:
- commitment to the Jesuit mission
- proven leadership ability
- judged by what they've done in the past
- important to leverage SLU faculty's evident commitment to the University to transform SLU and its image
- bring academics back to high priority
- this includes reasonable faculty compensation
- currently, SLU ranks about #200 in compensation
- this includes faculty involvement in strategic planning
- be aware of trends in higher education
- this does not mean following all trends, but at least evaluating them
- be able to establish connections with the business community and engage in fund-raising
- expertise in administration of medical campus not required
- Board may be taking a look at reorganization of medical campus administration
- rankings are important, and we need to look at
- fraction of alumni contributing to the University
- currently 14%, abysmally low (typical is 40%)
- peer opinions
- president needs to act with other presidents to raise our reputation
- position of President Emeritus will be wholly dependent on new president
- in any case, Biondi has agreed to make connections between new president and business leaders here
- Arts & Sciences Faculty Council President asked Interim President Kauffman to report on the President's Opportunity Fund
- reports from faculty representatives on Board Committees:
- Academic Affairs:
- research is explicitly included in the charge of this committee
- faculty representatives are now experiencing a much more cooperative atmosphere in the committee
- large-scale strategic planning will have to wait for permanent filling of top positions currently held by interim appointees
- Marketing & Communications
- this reports and analyzes fund-raising, but does not originate fund-raising initiatives
- current loan-service is very low, easily met by our budget
- other institutions have borrowed but found their reduced circumstances
- lower enrollment
- lower federal grants
- are forcing them to eat endowment to pay for loan service
- strategic plan is needed to establish the shape of commitments for borrowing and so on
- possible new project is new dorms
- single biggest drag on our national rankings is faculty compensation
- asked whether investment in academics could be a solution to lower enrollment:
- such a question is not in purview of this committee
- Human Resources
- Diversity and Discrimination is now under Office of the General Counsel
- on extending spousal benefits to same-sex partners (legally married? civil unions?)
- some favorable comments from Trustees
- contraception and abortion coverage:
- as before, contraception is covered, but not abortion
- Mission & Ministry
- concerned about making campus welcoming for members of
- diverse faith traditions
- no faith tradition
- spousal benefits for same-sex domestic partners
- referred to the Senate Committee on Compensation and Fringe Benefits for perfecting language that will take cognizance of the issue of opposite-sex domestic partners