Timeline of Recent University Affairs

8/8/2012: Law School Dean Annette Clark resigns from her position, citing ongoing conflicts with decisions made by Father Lawrence Biondi. Thomas Q. Keefe is then appointed as Interim Dean of the Law School in a statement released by Biondi. 

8/21/2012: Draft policies set forth by Dr. Manoj Patankar, Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), are first shared with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC). These draft policies include a Definition of Terms, Faculty Workload Policy, Faculty Evaluation Policy, and Faculty Recognition Policy

8/22/2012: Under advisement of the FSEC to VPAA Patankar, the draft policies are shared with the department chairs or equivalent personnel through the deans. 

8/28/2012: These draft policies are shared to the entirety of Faculty Senate by the FSEC. Feedback is then collected from faculty from this time through Sept. 10, with the goal of presenting a final version to the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) on Oct. 19. 

8/30/2012: The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes an article presenting the concerns of the AAUP regarding the draft portion of the Faculty Evaluation Policy that discusses post-tenure review. The article mentions the faculty’s general concerns and highlights their reluctance in speaking about the issue. 

9/1/2012-9/4/2012: FSEC asks faculty senators to vote on a statement regarding the “irremediably flawed” policies. By Sept. 4, 47 of 50 senators have agreed and 3 have abstained. 

9/4/2012: VPAA Patankar responds to faculty feedback with a letter explaining that he based these draft policies on a series of meetings and information gathered from committees specifically dedicated to the issues at hand. He also references a University-wide open forum that was held by these committees to gather more pertinent feedback. 

9/5/2012: FSEC sends a letter to VPAA Patankar requesting the withdrawal of all four policies, citing feedback and the poll results collected in the previous 4 days. 

9/11/2012: Responses from nearly 200 faculty members as well as further comments from deans, college assemblies, and others are sent to the administration for a total of 218 pages of comments on these draft proposals. 

9/17/2012: A letter is released to the general public announcing that a meeting was held on Sept. 14 in which several college deans and other stakeholders, including Father Biondi and VPAA Patankar, all agree to withdraw the aforementioned draft policies, as per the FSEC’s request. 

9/18/2012: The Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences convenes a special session to discuss the draft policies. A previously tabled motion for a vote of no confidence in VPAA Patankar is brought off the table and the council passes this vote with a count of 35 in favor and 2 against, without abstentions. They provide an accompanying list of grievances along with this vote. 

9/24/2012: Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Thomas Brouster, issues a letter from the Board explaining the details of a Sept. 22 meeting to the general SLU community. At this meeting, the Board of Trustees convened and exhibited unanimous support for the University’s Strategic Plan. They also reaffirmed their confidence in Father Biondi and the University Vice Presidents, and also expressed confidence that they will be able to successfully implement the Strategic Plan. 

9/25/2012: Faculty Senate meets and passes a vote of no confidence in VPAA Manoj Patankar with a count of 50 in favor, 3 against, and 4 abstentions. 

9/26/2012: A letter from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee is sent to Father Biondi on behalf of Faculty Senate, stating that the Senate has passed a vote of no confidence in the VPAA and they request that the President begin seeking a successor. Additionally, the reasons for such a vote are again outlined within this letter. 

Faculty Senate President Dr. Mark Kneupfer and VPAA Patankar both present their respective perspectives to the student body during the open forum of a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. Students express concern over the value of their degrees and the reputation of the University throughout this process. SGA itself does not take a vote but encourages conversation on the issue and asks that all parties further communication between one another. 

9/28/2012: Father Biondi extends an invitation to the Blue Ribbon Committee to the FSEC and Faculty Senate. The Blue Ribbon Committee will seek to accomplish three major tasks: 1) “review the ‘shared governance’ provision contained in The Faculty Manual”, 2) “recommend processes to assure student involvement in development of policies directly affecting students’ academic experience”, and 3) “develop a prioritized list of initiatives that need to be implemented to achieve the objectives of the University's Strategic Plan.” 

10/2/2012: Father Biondi responds to Faculty Senate’s vote of no confidence and expresses his disappointment in Faculty Senate’s decision and addresses the given grievances against VPAA Patankar. Father Biondi also states, “At the September 27, 2012 meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council, the members unanimously affirmed the Strategic Plan and Dr. Patankar’s leadership of the planning process. Faculty Senate President Mark Knuepfer was present at the meeting and voted affirmatively in support of the strategic planning process.” 

10/4/2012: The University News of Saint Louis University (UNews) publishes an article regarding ongoing communication issues between faculty and administration concerning the proposed Strategic Plan and its implementation. 

10/10/2012: Father Biondi sends his October message to the SLU Community, discussing issues in communicating and collaborating with the faculty. He provides a timeline of events and ends by saying that he hopes the faculty can now move forward and work together as the University seeks to achieve its goals. 

10/11/2012: SGA’s Academic Affairs committee releases a statement encouraging more communication between all stakeholders and expressing hope that the University will not forget about the students and their needs. 

The Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences passes a vote of no confidence in Father Biondi with a count of 35 in favor, 2 against, and 1 abstention. The listed grievances highlight Father Biondi’s failure to act on the recommendation to remove VPAA Patankar. 

10/16/2012: VPAA Patankar releases his Academic Affairs October message and addresses the faculty, acknowledging that some of his actions may have been misconstrued but he is “committed to building a fair and equitable system in which we regularly and consistently provide resources to faculty, recognize and promote academic and professional excellence across the University, and demonstrate to our trustees, donors, alumni, friends, parents, and the public, the increasing value of a SLU education”. 

10/17/2012: Faculty Senate President Kneupfer sends a message to the University faculty outlining the events thus far and laying out the goals and structure of the Blue Ribbon Committee. He ends by saying that the primary goals of Faculty Senate at this point are to “improve communication with administration to avoid further disagreements, to protect the value of education at Saint Louis University, and to appropriately represent the faculty who provide this education”. 

10/19/2012: A portion of SLU’s Jesuit faculty writes to all SLU faculty lauding their efforts in promoting the mission and well-being of the University. They write that they share the faculty’s concerns and appreciate their work, “without which there would be no university.” 

10/24/2012: SLU faculty members hold a Teach-In for students to inform on the issues at hand and to present the data they have gathered supporting their stance against Father Biondi. 

SGA commissions the Administrative Grievances ad-hoc task force to impartially look into student concerns regarding the actions of the faculty and the administration. 

10/26/2012: The Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Science meets and passes three motions, listed as follows with their vote counts: 

  • “Motion to call for the senators to the faculty council to refuse to accept anything from the Blue Ribbon Committee (passed by a vote of 36-0-1)” 
  • “Motion to charge senators to instruct the members of the executive committee to get the approval of the Faculty Senate before entering into any agreements upon issues that affect the entire faculty (passed by a vote of 36-0-1)” 
  • “Motion to repudiate the Strategic Plan in every aspect and under every guise that it might present itself (Passed by a unanimous vote of 37-0-0)” 

10/30/2012: Scheduled sit-in protest by SLU Students for No Confidence, a group self-described as “a group of SLU students who want our degrees to matter when we graduate. And a group of alumni who deserve better from their alma mater.” This is an independent group, unaffiliated with SGA. 

Scheduled meeting of Faculty Senate. 

Subpages (1): Documents for Timeline
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